Megalomyrmex reina

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Megalomyrmex reina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Megalomyrmex
Species group: silvestrii
Species: M. reina
Binomial name
Megalomyrmex reina
Longino, 2010

Megalomyrmex reina jtlc000005356 p 1 high.jpg

Megalomyrmex reina jtlc000005356 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Both type queens were collected in the same locality, in mature montane wet forest. The holotype queen was in a Winkler sample of sifted leaf litter. The paratype queen was collected as a forager on the ground. The foraging queen had rapid wasp-like behavior, with rapidly vibrating antennae. The lack of associated workers, in spite of abundant collecting (including many Winkler samples) at the type locality, raises the possibility that this species is a workerless social parasite. M reina has a single large apical tooth, which is long and sharp, followed by a relatively uniform series of smaller teeth. The size difference between the apical and subapical tooth is much greater than in other species in the genus. Many socially parasitic ant species have falcate mandibles associated with their ability to attack and subdue hosts. Perhaps the long apical tooth of reina is such an adaptation, strengthening the conjecture that it may be a social parasite. Alternatively, workers may be subterranean associates of attines and thus not acccessible to standard collection techniques. (Longino 2010)

Identification

Queen with unique petiolar and postpetiolar morphology: petiolar sternum robustly flanged; postpetiolar sternum with a strong, long median thorn-like process; alate.

Longino (2010) - Mandible with large apical tooth and 5–6 smaller basal teeth; dorsal surface of mandible striate; ventral margin of petiole with large translucent longitudinal flange, ventral margin of flange erose, with irregular jagged posteriorly-directed teeth; ventral margin of postpetiole with large, acute anteroventral tooth.

The mandibular dentition of reina is highly distinctive and unlike any other Megalomyrmex species. In other species the dentition varies from a condition of few teeth that gradually decrease in size basally to one in which the two apical teeth are much larger than a series of diminished basal denticles. In contrast, reina has a single large apical tooth, which is long and sharp, followed by a relatively uniform series of smaller teeth.

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Known only from the queen caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • reina. Megalomyrmex reina Longino, 2010: 53, figs. 11A–D (q.) COSTA RICA.

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

Description

Queen

(holotype): HW 0.833, HL 0.872, SL 0.926, EL 0.276, ML 1.519, CI 96, SI 106. (paratype): HW 0.853, HL 0.874, SL 0.928, EL 0.294, ML 1.579, CI 98, SI 106.

Palp formula 3,2; mandible with large apical tooth and 5–6 smaller basal teeth that gradually decrease in size (holotype has 5 basal teeth on one mandible, 6 on the other); dorsal surface of mandible faintly striate; anterior clypeal margin smoothly rounded; occipital carina thin, not visible in full-face view, anterior ends extending about 1/3 to 1/2 length of ventral surface of head; face, clypeus, and ventral surface of head smooth and shiny, with a few small rugulae on clypeus beneath frontal lobes and laterally, irregular rugulae on malar space between eye and mandibular insertion, and a few concentric rugae around antennal fossa, piligerous puncta very small, resulting in overall smooth and highly polished appearance; mesosoma smooth and shiny throughout, with longitudinal carinae on metapleuron and a few longitudinal carinae over metapleural gland; notauli fused and barely visible on anterior mesonotum; parapsidal lines distinct, extending about half length of mesonotum; dorsal and posterior faces of propodeum more or less flat, meeting at a low boss; foraminal carina incomplete, curving from metapleural lobes onto posterior face of propodeum but nearly effaced medially; petiole and postpetiole smooth and shining; petiole with short posterior peduncle; ventral margin of petiole with large translucent longitudinal flange, ventral margin of flange erose, with irregular jagged posteriorly-directed teeth (detail of margin varies between holotype and paratype); ventral margin of postpetiole with large, acute anteroventral tooth; gaster smooth and shining; all dorsal body surfaces and appendages with abundant moderately coarse setae; color dark red brown.

Type Material

Holotype queen. COSTA RICA, Alajuela: Rio Peñas Blancas, 10°19'N 84°43'W, 800 m, 2 Mar 2004 (J. Longino#5278-s) Museum of Comparative Zoology, unique specimen identifier JTLC000005356. Paratype queen: same as holotype except 4 Mar 2008 (J. Longino#6182.2) California Academy of Sciences, JTLC000007217.

Etymology

The name of this species refers to the fact that it is known only from queens. It is a noun in apposition and invariant.

References