Lasius mexicanus

AntWiki - Where Ant Biologists Share Their Knowledge
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lasius mexicanus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Lasius
Species: L. mexicanus
Binomial name
Lasius mexicanus
Wheeler, W.M., 1914

Lasius mexicanus casent0903203 p 1 high.jpg

Lasius mexicanus casent0903203 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

At a Glance • Temporary parasite  

 

Identification

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Known from Hidalgo and Puebla, Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Mexico (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

AntMapLegend.png

Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Wing (1968) – Type collections were made within a radius of a couple of miles of an ore mill, which was situated on the eastern slope of the high mountain range east of Pachuca. This country was covered with woods, mostly oaks and pines. The area around the mill was dry at certain times of the year; the altitude was between 8500 and 9000 feet. The type series includes specimens from more than one nest; all were collected from under large stones, mostly in pine woods. No habitat data other than altitude are available for the other two collections. The single queen was collected at 7900 feet, the nest of workers at 8600 feet.

Alate dates - The type alates were taken sometime during May 1913, while the Carney queen was collected June 16. This species begins its flights relatively early in the season.

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.

  • mexicanus. Lasius (Acanthomyops) interjectus subsp. mexicanus Wheeler, W.M. 1914b: 55 (w.q.m.) MEXICO. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1970: 648 (l.). Combination in Acanthomyops: Wing, 1968: 146; in Lasius: Ward, 2005: 13. Raised to species: Buren, 1950: 185.

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. 195-203

Wing (1968) – Closely similar to Lasius occidentalis, but petiolar scale broader, its width across spiracles clearly greater than height from spiracle to crest. Dorsum of gaster with pubescence dilute to moderate and long, its surface shining. In profile, propodeum usually distinctly convex. Posterior border of head as seen in full-face view straight or nearly so. Crest of petiolar scale usually emarginate, sides often convex.

Color yellow.

Queen

Wing (1968) – Similar to occidentalis, but posterior border of head as seen in full-face view straight or nearly so. Scutellum completely covered with long, dilute pubescence. Width of petiolar scale across spiracles clearly greater than height from spiracle to crest. Crest and sides of scale with fewer standing hairs. Pubescence over dorsum of gaster dilute, thinner on posterior surface than anteriorly. An occasional specimen may have pubescence moderate to moderately dense and more irregularly distributed. In all cases the gaster is at least moderately shiny. CI 100 or more.

Color brown to yellowish brown.

Male

Wing (1968) – Similar to occidentalis, but much larger; AL 1.40 mm or more, SL 0.60 mm or more. Scutellum entirely covered with dilute long pubescence. Pilosity at posterior tip of gaster with longer hairs measuring 0.20 mm or more. Petiolar scale broad, crest emarginate.

Pubescence on gaster dilute, surface shining. Body color brown, head darker, appendages lighter.

Type Material

Wing (1968) – Type locality: Guerrero Mill, State of Hidalgo, Mexico. Location of types: Syntypes in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

References

  • Buren, W. F. 1950. A new Lasius (Acanthomyops) with a key to North American females. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 52: 184-190 (page 185, Raised to species)
  • Ward, P.S. 2005. A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936: 1-68 (page 13, revived combination in Lasius (Acanthomyops))
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1970b. Ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae: second supplement. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 63: 648-656 (page 648, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1914c. Ants collected by W. M. Mann in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 22: 37-61 (page 55, worker, queen, male described)
  • Wing, M. W. 1968a. Taxonomic revision of the Nearctic genus Acanthomyops (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mem. Cornell Univ. Agric. Exp. Stn. 405: 1-173 (page 146, Combination in Acanthomyops)