Euprenolepis thrix

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Euprenolepis thrix
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Euprenolepis
Species: E. thrix
Binomial name
Euprenolepis thrix
LaPolla, 2009

Nothing is known about the biology of this species.

Identification

This species is easily distinguished from other Euprenolepis species by the dense layer of pubescence on the gaster. Only two other species also have pubescence on the gaster: Euprenolepis procera and Euprenolepis zeta. Euprenolepis thrix is easily distinguishable from E. procera by the smooth surface of the cephalic and mesosomal cuticle. Euprenolepis thrix is distinguishable from E. zeta by denser gastral pubescence. Also, E. thrix and E. zeta have the head slightly broader than long (CI typically greater than 100), whereas other Euprenolepis have the head slightly longer than broad (CI typically less than 100). Shared body coloration, head shape, and the presence of pubescence on the gaster probably indicate that E. thrix and E. zeta are close relatives. (Lapolla 2009)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

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

Nomenclature

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

  • thrix. Euprenolepis thrix LaPolla, 2009: 17, figs. 10A-D (w.) BORNEO.

Type Material

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

Description

Worker

Measurements (n=3): TL: 3.35–4.18; HW: 0.97–1.11; HL: 0.91–1.04; SL: 1.18–1.23; WL: 1.3–1.42; GL: 1.14–1.72. Indices: CI: 104–107; SI: 110–122.

Head brown, with lighter yellowish-brown mandibles and funiculi; head about as long as broad. Cuticular surface shiny and smooth, with scattered erect setae and sparse pubescence that is thickest in area under the eyes. Posterior margin complete. Scapes surpass posterior margin by about length of the first four funicular segments. Scapes with erect setae and a layer of pubescence, becoming denser distally. Mesosoma brown, smooth, and shiny, legs becoming lighter distally, especially tarsi, which are yellowish-brown. Mesosomal dorsum with scattered erect setae of varying lengths; cuticular surface without pubescence; legs with short erect setae. Pronotum rises at about 45° toward mesonotum; propodeum dorsum rounded, dome-like; declivity steep. Petiole triangular with posterior face longer than anterior face; gaster brown, with scattered erect setae and a dense layer of pubescence; cuticular surface shiny, and weakly regureticulate.

Type Material

Holotype worker, MALAYSIA: Borneo, Kinabalu Nat. Park, Poring Hot Spring, East Ridge, 800 m, 1995 (C. Brühl) (National Museum of Natural History); 3 paratype workers, same locality as holotype (Australian National Insect Collection; USNM).

Etymology

The species epithet is Greek for hair, in reference to the pubescence that covers the gaster of this species.

References

  • LaPolla, J. S. 2009. Taxonomic revision of the Southeast Asian ant genus Euprenolepis. Zootaxa. 2046:1-25.