Key to Azteca aurita group workers
This worker key is based on: Guerrero, R. J., J. H. C. Delabie & A. Dejean. 2010. Taxonomic contribution to the aurita group of the ant genus Azteca (Formicidae: Dolichoderinae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 19(1):51-65. PDF.
The worker of Azteca nanogyna is unknown. Worker polymorphism and similarities of worker characteristics can make workers of Azteca difficult to use for species determinations. Queens of Azteca generally exhibit more pronounced morphological differences and are often much more useful than workers for species identification. Details of the nests collections are made from, e.g., location, structure, etc. can also be useful. There is a Key to Azteca aurita group queens. Nesting details can be found on most of the species pages for species in the aurita group.
Guerreo et al. (2010) stated the following about the aurita group - Longino (2007) proposed four features that distinguish the species in the aurita group from other species of ants of the genus Azteca, but one of those, the proportion HLB/HLA > 1.04, is not a consistent and stable feature within some of the females studied here (e.g., A. linamariae paratype). This trait, therefore, should not continue to be used as diagnostic tool for the aurita group while all the other traits are strongly consistent: the palpal formula is 4,3; the middle and hind tibia lack an apical spur; the anteromedial border of the clypeus is strongly convex and extends well beyond the anterolateral clypeal lobes. These traits can, however, still be of great taxonomic value for separating the aurita group from other groups of species in the genus Azteca.
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- Dorsal surface of mandible flat, opaque, densely striate; scape relatively long (SI > 80) . . . . . 2
- Dorsal surface of mandible convex, shiny; masticatory margin concave, with enlarged apical tooth; scape relatively short (SI < 75) . . . . . 3
- Head relatively broad (CI > 105); posterolateral margins of the vertex rounded and cordate, not bluntly angulate . . . . . Azteca lallemandi
- Head relatively narrow (CI < 106); posterolateral margins of the vertex bluntly angulate . . . . . 3
- Head light orange brown; mesosoma, legs, and gaster darker reddish-brown . . . . . Azteca aurita, . . . . . Azteca pilosula
- Scape, mandibles and a part of the head dark reddish-brown; posterior third of the head is dark brown. Mesosoma, legs, petiole and gaster dark brown . . . . . Azteca snellingi
- Pubescence dilute and tightly appressed; color usually brown with an orange head . . . . . Azteca schimperi
- Pubescence more abundant, giving a somewhat wooly appearance; color all Brown . . . . . Azteca lanuginosa