Euprenolepis wittei

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

Nothing is known about the biology of this species.

Identification

Workers of this species are most likely to be confused with Euprenolepis variegata, but can be separated based on the characters listed below. (Lapolla 2009)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Known from Malaysia and Thailand.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Malaysia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Like E. procera, this species harvests a variety of wild-growing mushrooms. Fungi were cut into small pieces which were then transported to the nests. Inside laboratory nests, the pieces were arranged in piles. Workers licked the piles and mashed them continuously with their mandibles. Their gasters swelled noticeably indicating that fungal material was consumed (von Beeren et al. 2014).

All excavated E. wittei colonies (N = 8) had subterranean nest chambers at ca. 15 cm depth. Based on estimates of worker numbers, colony sizes were rather small, containing about 50 to 500 individuals with a single dealate queen (N = 8). One exceptionally large colony observed by Volker Witte in 2008 contained an estimated 3000 - 5000 workers.

Castes

This appears to be a monomorphic species, for V. Witte (pers. comm.) has collected large nest series of this species and major workers have yet to be discovered. (LaPolla 2009)

Nomenclature

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

  • wittei. Euprenolepis wittei LaPolla, 2009: 20, figs. 12A-D, 13A-I (w.q.m.) WEST MALAYSIA.

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: 3.13–3.61; HW: 0.80–0.86; HL: 0.82–0.89; SL: 1.06–1.12; WL: 1.1–1.18; GL: 1.21–1.54. Indices: CI: 96–98; SI: 130–132

Generally matching the description of Euprenolepis variegata with the following differences: 1) Overall darker brown in color, especially the head and gaster which are darker than mesosoma, 2) in profile, pronotal margin more rounded dorsoanteriorly, 3) scapes with a dense layer of pubescence distally, and 4) erect setae on gaster shorter than those of E. variegata.

Queen

Measurements (n=1): TL: 6.74; HW: 1.14; HL: 1.22; SL: 1.4; WL: 2.26; GL: 3.26. Indices: CI: 93; SI: 123.

As in worker, with modifications expected for caste and the following differences: Head, pronotum+mesonotum, and gaster darker brown with lighter yellowish-brown funiculi, legs, and propodeum+petiole. Entire body covered in a dense layer of pubescence; short erect setae cover head, mesosoma notum, legs and gaster.

Male

Measurements (n=2): TL: 3.32–3.37; HW: 0.59–0.6; HL: 0.73; SL: 1.06–1.18; WL: 1.41–1.42; GL: 1.17–1.23. Indices: CI: 82–83; SI: 176–199.

Overall color brown to brownish-yellow, lighter brown to yellow on legs and funiculi; head longer than broad. Cuticular surface shiny, covered in a dense layer of pubescence. Scapes long, surpassing posterior margin by about length of first four funicular segments; scapes with scattered erect setae and a dense layer of pubescence. Clypeus broad, with anterior margin emarginated. Mandible with a basal angle and a distinct apical tooth that curves inward toward midline of body. Mesosoma enlarged to accommodate flight muscles; covered in a layer of pubescence, with erect setae present dorsally and along legs. Pronotum small and collarlike; mesonotum flat dorsally with scattered erect setae; propodeum indistinct from remainder of mesonotum, but declivity steep. Petiole triangular, inclined forward, with posterior face longer than anterior face. Gaster with a dense layer of pubescence and many erect setae; terminalia especially setose. Parameres roughly triangular, turning slightly inward toward midline of body posteriorly; long setae extend off of parameres. Cuspi small and tubular, reaching digiti dorsally; digiti anvil-shaped, ventrally directed; digiti visible in lateral view. Volsellar lobes flat and indistinct. Penis valves with apodeme projecting dorsally; in lateral view the valves extend dorsally.

Type Material

Holotype worker, MALAYSIA: West Malaysia, Ulu Gombak Field Station, 3°19’N, 101° 54’E, nest series, 10.iv.2006 (V. Witte) (National Museum of Natural History); 5 paratype workers, same locality as holotype (Australian National Insect Collection; USNM).

Etymology

The species epithet is given to honor Volker Witte for his insightful contributions to Euprenolepis natural history.

References