Euprenolepis

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Euprenolepis
Euprenolepis negrosensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Euprenolepis
Emery, 1906
Type species
Prenolepis procera, now Euprenolepis procera
Diversity
8 species
(Species Checklist)
Synonyms

Euprenolepis-negrosensis-lateral-am-lg.jpg

Euprenolepis negrosensis

Evolutionary Relationships
Formicinae

Myrmelachistini
  (2 genera)




Lasiini

Cladomyrma
  (13 species)





Lasius
  (120 species)



Myrmecocystus
  (30 species)






Paraparatrechina
  (42 species)




Prenolepis
  (13 species)



Zatania
  (6 species)






Nylanderia
  (135 species)




Pseudolasius
  (65 species)




Euprenolepis
  (8 species)



Paratrechina
  (6 species)











Melophorini
  (9 genera)




Formicini
  (8 genera)





Gesomyrmex, Oecophylla



Plagiolepidini
  (10 genera)





Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella



Camponotini
  (8 genera)








Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Witte and Maschwitz (2008) discovered that Euprenolepis procera are nomadic mushroom harvesters, a previously unknown lifestyle among ants.

Identification

Six diagnostic characters can generally separate Euprenolepis workers from the workers of other formicine genera: 1) basal tooth with a distinct obtuse angle on the inner mandibular margin, 2) apical tooth large and curved toward midline of body, 3) mandalus large and conspicuous, 4) medially clypeus without a prominent keel, 5) anterior clypeal margin medially emarginate, with a medially placed seta, and 6) widely spaced torulae. The reduced segmentation in the palps also helps in diagnosing the genus, except Pseudolasius also exhibits palpal segment reduction. With the exception of Euprenolepis negrosensis, all species appear to have a 3:4 palpal formula. Pseudolasius typically possess 2 or 3 labial palpal segments. Euprenolepis is most likely to be confused with Pseudolasius, however, with the exception of E. negrosensis, Euprenolepis have much larger eyes than Pseudolasius species. Additionally, the six characters listed above provide a means to separate the two genera. (LaPolla 2009)

Keys including this Genus

Distribution

Euprenolepis is endemic to southeastern Asia. Most species are presently known from Borneo only, but whether or not this reflects biological reality or collecting bias remains unclear. It is interesting to note that this distribution pattern is essentially the same as Cladomyrma, another Southeast Asian endemic formincine genus. (LaPolla 2009)

World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Euprenolepis Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Euprenolepis Species Richness.png

Biology

Biological details regarding the small number of species within this genus are sparse. The best characterized species is Euprenolepis procera, with the following known details. It has polymorphic workers. Colonies are nomadic and on average stay in any single location less than a week. Nests contain from 500 – 5,000 workers and are opportunistically situated in suitable preformed cavities. Emigrations appear driven by the need to find their almost exclusive source of nutrients, mushrooms. Foraging takes place nocturnally. While knowledge of the remaining species is sparse, there is some indication that that polymorphism is not the norm. It is also unclear if procera is the only species, within this genus and within ants as a whole, that feed directly and almost exclusively on mushrooms.

Castes

It remains unclear how widespread polymorphism is in the genus. Polymorphism is exhibited in Euprenolepis procera, with a minor and major worker caste clearly expressed. However, in no other known species is polymorphism observed. This may reflect collecting bias, because most species are only known from a few localities. However, at least one species, Euprenolepis wittei, has been collected from long nest series and polymorphism has not been found in the workers (V. Witte, pers. comm.). It is worth pointing out that despite E. procera being by far the most commonly encountered Euprenolepis in collections, majors are still relatively uncommon. (LaPolla 2009)

Morphology

Worker Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club absent • Palp formula 3,4 • Spur formula 1 simple, 1 simple • Eyes present • Scrobes absent • Sting absent (from literature)

Nomenclature

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

  • EUPRENOLEPIS [Formicinae: Plagiolepidini]
    • Euprenolepis Emery, 1906b: 134 [as subgenus of Prenolepis]. Type-species: Prenolepis procera, by original designation.
    • Euprenolepis subgenus of Paratrechina: Emery, 1925b: 223.
    • Euprenolepis raised to genus and senior synonym of Chapmanella: Brown, 1953h: 6.
  • CHAPMANELLA [junior synonym of Euprenolepis]
    • Chapmanella Wheeler, W.M. 1930d: 41. Type-species: Chapmanella negrosensis, by original designation.
    • Chapmanella junior synonym of Euprenolepis: Brown, 1953h: 6.

Description

LaPolla 2009:

Worker

(minors and majors): 1) Medium sized (measured in this study between 2.9–6.25 mm in total length) yellow to dark brown formicine ants.

2) Euprenolepis procera known to be polymorphic with a minor and major worker castes, unclear if other species are also polymorphic.

3) Antennae 12 segmented; torulae widely separated from each other, not touching posterior clypeal margin.

4) Scapes long, always surpassing posterior margin, and with scattered erect setae.

5) Eyes generally large (one known exception Euprenolepis negrosensis), near midline of head.

6) Mandibles broad with 5 teeth; basal tooth with an obtuse angle on the inner mandibular margin (one known exception E. negrosensis, where basal tooth is usually roughly quadriform relative to inner mandibular margin); apical tooth large and curved toward midline of body.

7) Mandalus large and conspicuous.

8) Maxillary palps 3-segmented; labial palps 4-segmented (except in E. negrosensis which has 4 segmented maxillary palps).

9) Clypeus broad, slightly convex medially, flattening anteriorly; median clypeus without a prominent keel.

10) Anterior clypeal margin medially emarginate, with a medially placed seta.

11) Mesosoma elongate with mesothorax constricted immediately behind pronotum; propodeum high and domed-shaped.

12) Scattered erect setae across entire body.

Euprenolepis procera: A) mandalus indicated by arrow (worker mandible); B) penis valve.

Queen

(queens are only known from three species, Euprenolepis negrosensis, Euprenolepis procera, and Euprenolepis wittei, so this list must be considered provisional):

1) Generally as in worker with modifications expected for caste.

2) Eyes large; ocelli well developed and prominent.

3) Body covered in a dense layer of pubescence.

Male

(males are only known from three species, E. negrosensis, E. procera, and E. wittei, so this list must be considered provisional):

1) Eyes large, occupying more than half the lateral portion of the head; ocelli prominent.

2) Scapes long, surpassing posterior margin by at least first 3 funicular segments; 13-segmented antennae.

3) Anterior clypeal margin emarginate, as in workers; margin curls up slightly.

4) In Euprenolepis procera, and Euprenolepis wittei mandibles broad with only apical tooth well-developed, remainder of inner mandibular margin smooth, with a distinct basal angle. In E. negrosensis, mandibles broad, with 4 teeth; all but apical teeth are weakly developed.

5) Mesosoma modified as expected for flight muscles; propodeum indistinct.

6) In E. procera and E. wittei, penis valve apodemes terminate dorsally; in lateral view, penis valves project dorsally above parameres; digiti anvil-shaped (weakly anvil-shaped in E. negrosensis), ventrally directed.

7) Digiti and cuspi meet dorsolaterally, about halfway along length of digiti.

8) Parameres and terminal gastral segments with abundant, long setae; apices of parameres bend towards the midline of the body.

References

  • Agosti, D. 1991. Revision of the oriental ant genus Cladomyrma, with an outline of the higher classification of the Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 16: 293-310 PDF (page 296, Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Pseudolasius genus group)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 50, Euprenolepis as genus; Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Lasiini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 23, 102, Euprenolepis as genus; in Formicinae, Plagiolepidini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1953h. Characters and synonymies among the genera of ants. Part II. Breviora 18: 1-8 (page 6, Euprenolepis raised to genus, and senior synonym of Chapmaella)
  • Chapman, J. W.; Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327 (page 218, Euprenolepis as subgenus of Paratrechina)
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Fedoseeva, E. B. 1988. Origin and early stages of evolution in ants. Pp. 70-144 in: Ponomarenko, A. G. (ed.) Cretaceous biocenotic crisis and insect evolution. Moskva: Nauka, 232 pp. (page 77, Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Lasiini)
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1943g. A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(10): 617-688 (page 645, Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Acanthomyopsini; Euprenolepis as subgenus of Paratrechina)
  • Emery, C. 1906b. Note sur Prenolepis vividula Nyl. et sur la classification des espèces du genre Prenolepis. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 50: 130-134 (page 134, Euprenolepis as subgenus of Prenolepis)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 223, Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Lasiini; Euprenolepis as subgenus of Paratrechina)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 249, Euprenolepis in Camponotinae, Prenolepidini; Euprenolepis as subgenus of Prenolepis)
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 18, Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Prenolepidini (anachronism))
  • LaPolla, J. S. 2009. Taxonomic revision of the Southeast Asian ant genus Euprenolepis. Zootaxa. 2046:1-25.
  • Von Beeren, C., Mair M. & Witte V. 2014. Discovery of a second mushroom harvesting ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Malayan tropical rainforests. Myrmecological News 20: 37-42 PDF (about Euprenolepis wittei)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1985b. A simplified conspectus of the Formicidae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 111: 255-264 (page 258, Euprenolepis in Formicinae, Brachymyrmecini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 143, Euprenolepis in Camponotinae, Formicini; Euprenolepis as subgenus of Prenolepis)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 697, Euprenolepis as subgenus of Prenolepis)
  • Witte,V. & Maschwitz, U. (2008) Mushroom harvesting ants in the tropical rain forest. Naturwissenschaften, 95(11), 1049–54.