Eurhopalothrix caledonica

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Eurhopalothrix caledonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Eurhopalothrix
Species: E. caledonica
Binomial name
Eurhopalothrix caledonica
Brown & Kempf, 1960

Eurhopalothrix-caledonica-Holotype-MCZ001L.jpg

Eurhopalothrix-caledonica-Holotype-MCZ001D.jpg

Holotype Specimen Label

The types, three workers, were collected separately in berlesate of rain forest leaf litter.

Identification

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: New Caledonia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about the biology of most species in this genus. Nests are rarely found, and queens and males have not been collected for many species. Longino (2013) summarized their biology "Eurhopalothrix specimens are encountered almost exclusively in samples from mass extraction techniques that recover small arthropods in sifted litter, rotten wood, and soil. Densities, at least in the northern Neotropics, are usually low, with workers occurring in < 10% of quantitative samples of 1 m2 litter plots, but occasionally may reach densities as high as 40% of samples. Live colonies of Old World Eurhopalothrix were observed by Wilson (1956) and Wilson and Brown (1984), and a Costa Rican colony of Basiceros manni was observed by Wilson and Hölldobler (1986). All basicerotines, including Eurhopalothrix, are thought to be predators in tropical leaf litter, relying on stealth or sit-and-wait techniques. Sampled specimens are often coated with a thin layer of clay, especially on the face, which is thought to function as camouflage, enhancing crypsis (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1986). Highly specialized spatulate setae may be instrumental in acquisition and adherence of the clay layer (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1986)."

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • caledonica. Eurhopalothrix caledonica Brown & Kempf, 1960: 220, figs. 44, 51 (w.) NEW CALEDONIA.

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

Description

Worker

Holotype: TL 2.9, HL 0.65, HW 0.73 (CI 112), scape L 0.36, greatest diameter of eye ca. 0.05, WL 0.73 mm.

Larger than Eurhopalothrix brevicornis and Eurhopalothrix australis, but with a similarly shaped head and much the same pattern of cephalic erect hairs. Also the following distinguishing characters:

1. Alitrunk with a distinct but broad and rather shallow metanotal groove; dorsal face of propodeum sloping posteriad, with a deep angular impression forming a step-like outline at its midlength as seen in lateral view.

2. Petiolar node as seen from side higher than long, rather narrowly rounded above; as seen from above, node much broader than long, with rounded sides and a nearly straight anterior border. Postpetiole reniform, not quite twice as wide as petiolar node, and nearly 2/3 as wide as widest part of gaster.

3. The small appressed hairs of the ground pilosity are a little less abundant than in australis over head and gaster; those on head are more or less obscured by matter adhering to the surface (a hardened secretion?).

4. The larger specialized hairs are clavate and erect to obliquely erect, much more slender than in australis, longer than in brevicornis. There are 16 of them on the head (the extra hair occurring beside each eye in australis is absent in the holotype and the two paratype workers of Eurhopalothrix caledonica). The alitrunk and both nodes completely lack larger specialized hairs, but the gaster bears about 24 short, caudally-inclined clavate hairs, most of which form 4 rough longitudinal rows, on the first tergite. Other clavate hairs on gastric apex and along a median strip on underside of gaster. Color medium reddish-brown, legs lighter.

Etymology

Holotype Museum of Comparative Zoologya worker, one of three taken separately in rain forest leaf litter berlesates from near Ciu, on the approach to Mt. Canala, 300 M. altitude (E. O. Wilson leg.), December, 1954. The two paratypes are the remaining workers, taken at this locality during January, 1955 MCZ. They are virtually identical with the holotype in size and form, though both have lost some hairs, apparently through rubbing. One has a narrower head (HL 0.65, HW 0.70 mm, CI 108).

References

  • Brown W.L. Jr., Kempf W. W. 1960. A world revision of the ant tribe Basicerotini. Studia Entomologica. 3:161-250. (page 220, figs. 44, 51 worker described)