Epopostruma vitta

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

Epopostruma vitta holotype ANIC32-015698 side 40-AntWiki.jpg

Epopostruma vitta holotype ANIC32-015698 top 40-AntWiki.jpg

Specimen labels

The only biological details are from a collection made under a small rock in a relict patch of poor mallee.

Identification

This species lacks lateral extensions of the postpetiole, has short petiolar teeth which are approximately vertical and have their tips about the same width as the petiole, lacks rugae on the anterior margin of the gaster immediately behind the postpetiole, has sharp angles or short teeth at the posterolateral corners of the postpetiole, has a dark brown band on the yellow gaster and a dark yellow-red body colour.

The ACT specimen differs in having the posterolateral corners of the postpetiole slightly less angular and the banding of the gaster more sharply defined (in the South Australian specimens the edges of the band form a more gradual change). In most other characters these specimens are essentially the same (allowing for normal intraspecific variation in colour and sculpturing as seen in other species of this genus).

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

Nomenclature

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

  • vitta. Epopostruma vitta Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 67, figs. 68, 78, 89 (w.q.) 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

In full face view the lateral margin of the head between the eye and the posterior corner with a weakly defined angle. Pronotal spines distinct, elongate. Posterior section of metanotum in approximately the same plane as the dorsal face of propodeum, the junction of these plates indistinct. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with thin, sometimes incomplete, flanges. Petiolar spines distinct. Anterior face of postpetiole shorter than the dorsal face; sides of postpetiole approximately vertical and rounding gradually from dorsal to posterior surfaces; with angles at the posterior corners; lateral margins of postpetiole weakly concave. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with weakly curved erect hairs. First gastral tergite, including area immediately behind attachment with gaster, smooth. Body colour dark yellow-red; gaster bicoloured yellow and light to dark brown.

Measurements

Holotype worker. TL 3.7mm, HL 0.81mm, HW 0.74mm, CI 91, MandL 0.40mm, MandI 49mm, SL 0.46mm, SI 62, PronW 0.50mm, ML 0.99mm.

References

  • Shattuck, S. O. 2000. Genus Colobostruma. Genus Mesostruma. Genus Epopostruma. Pp. 31-67 in: Bolton, B. The ant tribe Dacetini. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 65: 1-1028 (page 63, worker, queen described)