Manica parasitica

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Manica parasitica
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Manica
Species: M. parasitica
Binomial name
Manica parasitica
(Creighton, 1934)

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Syntype Specimen Label

This species has only been found in the nests of Manica bradleyi and is assumed to be an obligatory social parasite. It is very rare and is known from only three localities.

At a Glance • Social parasite  
 

Identification

This species is a concolorous dark brown to black with a smooth integument.

Identification Keys including this Taxon

Key to Manica of North America

Distribution

This species is known from only three collections in three localities, all in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California: (1) Polly Dome, Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, 8,600 feet, 13 workers, 1932 (Creighton, 1934: type locality); (2) three miles northeast of Clark Fork Campground, Stanislaus National Forest, Alpine County, 6,100 feet, 2 workers, 1967 (Wheeler and Wheeler, 1968); (3) Camp Wolfeboro, Calaveras County (VI-20-1939) (Cook, 1953). All collections were from nests of Manica bradleyi.

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

Since this species has only been collected from nests of Manica bradleyi, a parasitic relationship is inferred, although little is known about parasitica. Creighton (1934) reported that parasitica workers took their share of activities and were treated as ordinary nest mates by the bradleyi host workers. Wheeler & Wheeler (1970) reported that parasitica was able to feed itself. "It was quicker in response to disturbances, had a faster gait and bounced the anterior end as it walked."

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • parasitica. Myrmica (Manica) parasitica Creighton, 1934: 185 (w.) U.S.A. Combination in Manica: Weber, 1947: 440.

Description

Worker: Length; 5 mm.

Head exclusive of the mandibles quadrate, as broad as long, the sides and occipital border feebly convex, the occipital angles broadly rounded. Anterior border of the clypeus entire, angular, the portion in front of the median lobe flat, the lateral portions at either side straight but receding toward the insertions of the mandibles. Median lobe of the clypeus strongly convex in two planes, sharply separated from the large, triangular frontal area. Mandibles large and powerful, the external border rather feebly convex except near the tip where it turns inward sharply. Masticatory margin armed with a long, sharp and rather thin terminal tooth and a much shorter and stouter subterminal tooth; the remainder of the masticatory margin bearing 12-15 small teeth. Frontal carinae short, thick, bluntly pointed in front and rather widely separated. Antennal scapes short and rather thick, strongly and abruptly curved at the base; in repose the tip of the scape surpasses the occipital border by an amount less than its greatest thickness. First funicular joint longer than broad and somewhat broader than the adjacent joint, joints 2-6 gradually increasing in diameter and length, the four apical joints together form a distinct club whose maximum diameter is about three times that of the preceding joints. Eyes oval, moderately convex, set at the middle of the side of the head. Thorax in profile with the promesonotum rather feebly convex, the promesonotal suture not impressed. Mesoepinotal suture prominent but with a shallow impression on the thoracic dorsum which is principally due to the elevated anterior edge of the epinotum since the posterior face of the mesonotum slopes directly to the suture without any impression. Epinotum in profile with a very feebly convex basal face which passes to the shorter declivious face through a poorly marked and very wide angle. In some specimens the angle between the two faces is virtually eliminated so that the profile of the epinotum is a single, convex, descending slope. Seen from above the promesonotum is pyriform and only a little wider than the subpentagonal epinotum. The sides of the thorax are only slightly constricted at the mesoepinotal suture. Petiole seen in profile with a node which is very low, broadly and evenly convex above and without sharp transitions to the anterior or posterior peduncles. The ventral tooth on the anterior peduncle is very variable in character, In some specimens it is reduced to an angle, in others it has the form of a blunt, short tooth, in still others it is a very long and slender recurved spine. Dorsum of the postpetiole in profile with a long, sloping, feebly convex anterior face and a very short vertical posterior face. Ventral surface of the postpetiole in profile evenly convex. Seen from above the petiole is narrow and spindle shaped with the anterior peduncle slightly thinner than the posterior peduncle. The postpetiole has the form of a truncated cone with the sides convex. It is a little less than twice, as wide as the node of the petiole. Gaster bulky, oval. The sculpture of this insect, particularly that of the head, shows considerable variation. In some specimens the entire head is covered with fine, longitudinal striae. The more lateral of these curve downward under the antennal fossee and are carried forward to the insertion of the mandible. In such specimens the head is feebly shining with a semimatte appearance. In other specimens the striae are almost entirely absent being represented by a few on the posterior parts of the frontal carine and others on the side of the head between the eye and the insertion oi the mandible. In such specimens the remainder of the head is highly glabrous with numerous, small piligerous punctures. The same variability is true to a lesser extent of the thoracic sculpture. In some specimens the entire thorax is covered with fine punctures which grade into longitudinal striae on the pleurm. Such specimens, are feebly shining. In other specimens, the whole thorax is highly glabrous, entirely without sculpture except for a few feeble lines or punctures at the base of the pleurae, The sculpture of the petiolar nodes is more constant since even in the heavily sculptured individuals, these are in large part glabrous. Abdomen smooth and shining with fairly numerous small piligerous punctures.

In color and pilosity the insect is more uniform. The head is piceous with the mandibles a somewhat more brownish black and having a wide band of sordid yellow extending along the masticatory margin. Thoracic dorsum blackish brown, the pleurm of the pronotum clear, brownish yellow, the pleurm of the mesonotum and epinotum a clear brown which is somewhat lighter on the declivious face of the epinotum. Petiolar nodes blackish brown. Abdomen a darker brown than the petiolar nodes but not as black as the head. The entire insect covered with rather long, slender, curved hairs which are pointed, erect and yellowish in color. These are most abundant on the head particularly on the ventral surface where they form poorly developed gular ammochetae. Flexor surface of the femora with a row of stiff, erect bristles. Extensor surface of the femora, tibia, tarsi, antennal scapes and the proximal half of the funiculi covered with small, fine reclinate hairs. Clubs of the funiculi pubescent.

References