Epopostruma natalae

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Epopostruma natalae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Epopostruma
Species: E. natalae
Binomial name
Epopostruma natalae
Shattuck, 2000

Epopostruma natalae casent0010815 profile 1.jpg

Epopostruma natalae casent0010815 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Epopostruma natalae, one of the most commonly collected species in the genus, is known from just south of Sydney, New South Wales, south and west through the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and northern Tasmania to the vicinity of Adelaide, South Australia. It has been found in dry sclerophyll, dry sclerophyll on a hillside and near a hill top, medium sclerophyll, a wet sclerophyll flat and in low heath vegetation. Nests or foragers have been encountered under rocks, in a mossy clump at the base of a tree in dry white powder soil, in a damp patch of soil (Permian) at the base of a Box tree, in soil, in soil at base of tree and in leaf litter.

Identification

Epopostruma natalae can be separated from others in the quadrispinosa species group by the following combination of characters.

  • Petiolar teeth diverging slightly laterally so that their tips extend outwards beyond the lateral margins of the petiole.
  • A row of short longitudinal rugae are present on the anterior margin of the gaster immediately behind the postpetiole.
  • The posterolateral corners of the postpetiole form a weak angle and are not drawn outwards into a tooth or spine.
  • The gaster is uniform brown in colour.
  • The body colour is generally brown or sometimes light brown.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

While Epopostruma can be fairly common they are often overlooked. Workers are slow-moving and most lie motionless when disturbed. Their nests are small, with up to about 100 workers, and are found in open soil or in soil under rocks, logs or small sticks. They also nest in cracks in large rocks. When nesting in open soil they are often found near the bases of trees. Tree-trunks are clearly an important substrate for foraging workers.

Almost all species forage at night although one species is known to occasionally forage on mallee stems during the day. They are also regularly found in leaf litter. Workers have been attracted to honey baits on trees in the late evening and at night. Their elongate and specialised mandibles form a type of snap-trap which is used to captured soft-bodied prey such as Collembola.

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • natalae. Epopostruma natalae Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 65, figs. 66, 77, 93 (w.q.m.) AUSTRALIA.

Type Material

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Description

Holotype worker. TL 4.2mm, HL 0.93mm, HW 0.88mm, CI 95, MandL 0.45mm, MandI 48, SL 0.53mm, SI 60, PronW 0.61mm, ML 1.09mm.

In full face view the lateral margin of the head between the eye and the posterior corner angular. Pronotal spines present, elongate. Posterior section of metanotum in approximately the same plane as the dorsal face of propodeum, the junction of these plates a very shallow depression. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with thin flanges. Petiolar spines generally present and thin, sometimes reduced to a protuberance. Anterior face of postpetiole shorter than the dorsal face and separated from it by a broadly rounded angle; sides of postpetiole approximately vertical and rounding gradually from dorsal to posterior surfaces, in dorsal view the lateral margins parallel. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with short, gently curved erect hairs. First gastral tergite smooth or nearly so, at most with only very weak, widely spaced striations; a row of short rugae present on the anterior margin immediately behind the postpetiole. Body colour generally brown, sometimes lighter; appendages generally same colour as body, occasionally lighter; gaster uniformly coloured.

References