Lasius colei

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Lasius colei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Lasius
Species: L. colei
Binomial name
Lasius colei
(Wing, 1968)

Lasius colei casent0102770 profile 1.jpg

Lasius colei casent0102770 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Cole discovered colonies under stones on moist pine slopes.

Identification

Erect hairs on the dorsum of the gaster are 0.23 mm or more in length and those on the underside of the head are 0.20 mm or greater in length. Most of the hairs on the dorsum of the gaster are found near the posterior edges of each tergum, although there are a few hairs scattered over the surface. The pubescence on the head is sparse, and the mandibles rarely have a denticle on the basal margin. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Southern Arizona and southern New Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

This species belonged to what was long considered a separate genus (Acanthomyops). Wing (1968) published a revision of that taxon, summarizing some of their biology: These ants are exclusively subterranean in their habits, except for short periods of time just before and during nuptials. Nests are built in the soil, usually under the cover of objects such as stones or logs, but sometimes, especially in the Plains States, loosely compacted earthen mounds of varying size are made. Some taxa nest partially in rotted wood; these colonies are typically found in association with stumps and logs. Most taxa in the eastern states show a preference for fairly moist conditions, selecting fields, pastures, and woodlands as nesting sites. In the western states many taxa exhibit a greater tolerance for drier conditions in the selection of their nesting sites. Most myrmecologists believe that all species of Acanthomyops are temporary social parasites of Lasius. We have, however, very little evidence on the mode or modes of colony foundation in the genus - most of it being largely circumstantial. Work done by Tanquary (1911) represents the most determined effort to date to elucidate the nature of colony foundation in the genus. Methods of colony foundation in Acanthomyops are in critical need of solid evidence from field and laboratory studies. Many species of Acanthomyops are known to regularly attend subterranean aphids and coccids, which represent a wide variety of taxa. Probably the species whose biologies are unknown likewise subsist principally on the honeydew of these homopterous insects. At the time of the nuptial flights, which are more or less characteristic as to season for a given species, the workers in mature colonies of Acanthomyops open up the nest entrance widely by excavation. Nests in this condition are found readily even before the actual flights begin to occur. Flights occurring in natural surroundings often involve the participation of an extremely large number of alate individuals. The queens and males congregate on the ground, and, when the conditions are right, fly up into the air in large numbers. Later, many descend from their flight, often giving rise to large aggregations of ants in restricted local areas; this frequently leads to concern on the part of persons residing in the area. Nuptial flights sometimes originate from the basements of homes and stores. Confronted with the evidence of flights of the latter type, which usually take place during the winter months, occupants often fear that their buildings are infested with termites.

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • colei. Acanthomyops colei Wing, 1968: 88, figs. 64-67 (w.m.) U.S.A. Combination in Lasius: Ward, 2005: 13.


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

Description

Worker

Wing 1968 Acanthomyops figs. 64-67

Somewhat similar to small Lasius interjectus; closely related to Lasius californicus, but SI 86-90. Petiolar scale with crest straight to weakly emarginate; sides straight and strongly converging dorsally, sometimes slightly convex. Standing body hairs finely to strongly barbulate, ranging and averaging longer than in californicus. Gula with 4 to 6 standing hairs, clypeus with 6 to 8. Alitrunk with most standing hairs flexed. Standing hairs on gaster fewer than on californicus, with somewhat irregular distribution, but mostly concentrated on or near posterior edges of tergites. Pubescence on scapes loosely appressed to strongly suberect.

Pubescence dilute, body shining. Color yellowish brown to brown.

Male

Similar to californicus. Crest of petiolar scale sharp to very sharp, strongly to weakly emarginate; sides straight and converging dorsally, sometimes convex. Length of longer hairs on crest and sides of scale and on clypeus 0.18 mm or more, many flexed, those on posterior tip of gaster 0.27 mm or more. Standing body hairs weakly to strongly barbulate, a few, especially on alitrunk, with conspicuous bifurcate tips. Cula with 4 standing hairs. Pubescence on head dilute, that on dorsum of gaster very dilute.

Body light brown, head darker.

Type Material

Type locality: Cochise Stronghold, Dragoon Mts., Cochise Co., Arizona.

Location of types: Holotype worker and 3 paratype workers in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 2 paratypes in the National Museum of Natural History, 2 paratypes in the Cornell collection, and 10 paratypes in the collection of A. C. Cole.

Etymology

This species is named for Dr. A. C. Cole, University of Tennessee. He is the only collector other than W. M. Wheeler who has taken this species.

References

  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Ward, P.S. 2005. A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936: 1-68 (page 13, new combination in Lasius (Acanthomyops))
  • Wing, M. W. 1968a. Taxonomic revision of the Nearctic genus Acanthomyops (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mem. Cornell Univ. Agric. Exp. Stn. 405: 1-173 (page 88, figs. 64-67 worker, male described)