| Leptomyrmex puberulus|
Wheeler, W.M., 1934
|Based on Barden et al., 2017. Note only selected Leptomyrmex species are included.|
L. puberulus has been recorded in secondary and primary rainforest. Nests occur in soil and in logs.
Leptomyrmex puberulus is distinctive among all the New Guinea species for having short standing hairs on the eyes.This species most closely resembles Leptomyrmex flavitarsus, the other species in New Guinea with dense pubescence on the body. Generally, L. puberulus is uniformly pale yellow, but some forms are darker yellow, approaching brown. L. flavitarsus is very dark brown, approaching black. A stouter head and shorter appendages (HW 1.02–1.20 mm; SI 2.77–3.64; HTL 3.33–3.86) distinguishes L. puberulus from the similarly pale Leptomyrmex fragilis, which is more gracile, with longer appendages (HW 0.94–1.05 mm; SI 3.92–4.73; HTL 4.41–5.02). (Lucky and Ward 2010)
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
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These conspicuous ants are most often encountered individually or as small groups of 2 or 3 foragers on the surface of the ground any time of the day or night. Because of their long legs and thin bodies, they superficially resemble spiders. This is especially true when they are disturbed, as they extend their legs, raise their gasters, and run quickly to escape danger. This has led to their being given the common name "spider ants."
Nests are found in soil or in dead wood, either standing or on the ground, and are often at the base of trees. Colony sizes average a few hundred workers and a single queen. In all but a handful of species, the queen is wingless and worker-like, differing from workers only in being slightly larger and with an enlarged mesosoma. In a few species the queens are fully winged, as they are in most other ants.
When a large source of food is found, workers of Leptomyrmex will return to their nest and recruit additional workers to help utilise the newly found resource. They also use workers as "living storage vessels". These special workers, called repletes, accept liquids from returning foragers who transfer their liquid foods to these selected workers. These special workers continue to accept liquids until their gasters become greatly enlarged and extended. When enlarged, repletes cannot escape the nest and remain inside suspended from the ceiling. They can retain these fluids for extended periods and dispense it on demand when food is in short supply.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- puberulus. Leptomyrmex puberulus Wheeler, W.M. 1934c: 112, fig. 14 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Lucky & Ward, 2010: 46 (m.).
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Lucky and Ward (2010) - measurements (n = 10) HL 1.63–1.83, HW 1.02–1.20, MFC 0.21–0.26, IOD 0.58–0.68, SL 3.08–3.75, EL 0.33–0.42, WL 2.99–3.29, PW 0.84–0.95, DPW 0.30–0.37, HTL 3.33–3.86, HTWmin 0.10–0.16, HTWmax 0.14–0.18, CI 0.61–0.66, SI 2.77–3.64, OI 0.12–0.16, HTC 0.63–0.96.
Smaller species (HW 1.02–1.20 mm; WL 2.99–3.29 mm) with head less than twice as long as broad, excluding mandibles (CI 0.61–0.66). Head widest at eyes, sides of head slightly convex, genae feebly concave anteriorly. Behind the eyes, sides of head gently rounding to flat postocular margin. Masticatory margin of mandible with approximately 15 teeth and denticles. Anterior clypeal margin weakly convex. Eyes positioned at midline of head, small and nearly circular, convex and distinctly hairy, reaching margins of head. Antennal scapes long and slender.
Dorsal face of propodeum with transverse impression at anterior end. Dorsal face slightly longer than convex declivitous face. Dorsal and declivitous faces meeting at rounded angle. Petiole triangular in profile, with rounded dorsum bearing deep longitudinal impression; ventral surface flat. Gaster narrow. Legs long and slender, slightly compressed (HTC 0.63–0.96 mm).
Surface very finely and superficially shagreened, less shining. Pubescence grey, long and abundant on all parts of the body and appendages, especially on the head, pronotum and gaster. Erect hairs present on the clypeus, venter and gaster. Body ranging from pale yellow to dark yellowish-brown. Tarsi nearly white. Some individuals with gaster darker than the rest of the body.
Lucky and Ward (2010) – measurements (n = 2) HL 1.51, HW 0.76–0.77, SL 0.77–0.81, EL 0.46–0.50, HTL 4.48–4.55, CI 0.50–0.51, SI 1.01–1.05, SI2 0.49.
Lucky and Ward (2010) - Type material examined: Syntypes, 5 workers, Papua New Guinea: ‘Morobe District’ (Stevens) Museum of Comparative Zoology
- Lucky, A. 2011. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the spider ants, genus Leptomyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 281-292. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.004
- Lucky, A. & Ward, P.S. 2010. Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Leptomyrmex Mayr. Zootaxa 2688: 1-67. PDF
- Wheeler, W. M. 1934c. A second revision of the ants of the genus Leptomyrmex Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 77: 69-118 (page 112, fig. 14 worker described)