Lasius creightoni

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

Lasius creightoni casent0104879 profile 1.jpg

Lasius creightoni casent0104879 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Known only from the type collection made in the La Sal mountains in Utah.

Identification

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Only known from the La Sal Mountains, Utah.

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

Wing (1968) - Professor Creighton's collection located in the MCZ consisted of 3 specimens of each caste. The date on the specimens was July 1933. Wilson (1955) cites a collection of Lasius fallax made by Creighton at the Warner Ranger Station, Moab, Utah, on July 19, 1933. Because he collected over a wide area during the summer of 1933, it is likely that A. creightoni was taken on or near July 19. Little variation is evident in either metric or conventional characters. The only ecological data is that the Warner Ranger Station is at an altitude of about 4000 feet. Nuptial flights may not have started at the time of collection, since all 3 castes were in the nest; flights may occur sometime in late July or early August.

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

Nomenclature

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

  • creightoni. Acanthomyops creightoni Wing, 1968: 141, figs. 177-185 (w.q.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. 177-185

Pilosity and pubescence similar to that of queen, but somewhat less dense. Antennae slender. Crest of petiolar scale broadly and shallowly emarginate, sides more or less straight. Color pale yellow, body shining.

Queen

Distinct from all other known species of Acanthomyops. Body pilosity fairly dense, simple to finely barbulate, delicate, whitish to silvery in appearance. Pubescence dilute to moderately dense, also whitish to silvery, much of it unusually long, loosely appressed to suberect, conspicuous on antennal scapes, gula, and gaster. Antennae slender. Crest of petiolar scale moderately sharp, shallowly emarginate; sides straight, converging slightly dorsally. Color light brownish yellow, appendages lighter, body shining.

Male

Pilosity and pubescence as in queen, but considerably less dense. Longer hairs at posterior tip of gaster 0.20 mm or more. Crest of petiolar scale moderately sharp to sharp, feebly and broadly emarginate. Antennae slender, SI 70 or greater. HW 0.85 mm or less, CI less than 105. Scutum and scutellum finely sculptured, largely free of pubescence. Color light brown, head darker, appendages lighter, body somewhat shining.

Type Material

Type locality: Warner Ranger Station, La Sal Mts., Moab, Grand Co., Utah. Location of types: Holotype female, 2 paratype females, 3 paratype males, and 3 paratype workers in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Etymology

This species is named for the collector, Dr. W. S. Creighton, Emeritus Professor of Biology, City College of New York.

References

  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 53, catalogue)
  • 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 141, figs. 177-185 worker, queen, male described)