Melophorus andersenioides

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Melophorus andersenioides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Melophorini
Genus: Melophorus
Species group: anderseni
Species: M. andersenioides
Binomial name
Melophorus andersenioides
Heterick, Castalanelli & Shattuck, 2017

Melophorus andersenioides major side ANIC32-900082.jpg

Melophorus andersenioides major top ANIC32-900082.jpg

Specimen labels

Label notes on two pins associate it with nests of Iridomyrmex purpureus (as ‘I. detectus’, its junior synonym), and it is possible that M. andersenioides is a social parasite on that species.

Identification

Heterick et al. (2017) - Melophorus andersenioides is a member of the Melophoprus anderseni species-group (maxillary palp segments short [not reaching neck sclerite], narrow and terminating in a subulate [awl-shaped] segment; PF 6,4; metatibial apical spur absent; in full-face view, masticatory margin of mandible strongly oblique with four teeth in known major workers [except chrysus], and four to six teeth in minor worker). This species is distinguished from three other members of the group by having a thick, rectangular or quadrate petiolar node in the minor worker, the anterior margin of clypeus weakly convex, the clypeus folded back and not protrusive, the clypeal psammophore located at the midline of clypeus and in having the antennal scape of minor worker with many short, erect, bristly setae.

This ant has the species-group level characters of Melophorus anderseni, but differs from it in the form of the clypeus (not protrusive in this species) and its greater hairiness.

Distribution

Melophorus andersenioides has been collected in NSW, QLD and WA, and has been collected in red soil.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

AntMapLegend.png

Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • andersenioides. Melophorus andersenioides Heterick, Castalanelli & Shattuck, 2017: 149, fig. 27 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

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

Description

Worker

(n = 5): CI 104–127; EI 18–25; EL 0.25–0.31; HL 0.97–1.36; HW 1.00–1.74; ML 1.60–2.04; MTL 1.56–1.40; PpH 0.19–0.23; PpL 0.64–0.84; SI 72–136; SL 1.25–1.37.

Minor. Head. Head square; posterior margin of head planar or weakly convex; frons shining with indistinct microsculpture that is most pronounced on lower surfaces; frons consisting of appressed pubescence, with many short, unmodified, erect setae. Eye moderate (eye length 0.20–0.49 length of side of head capsule); in full-face view, eyes set above midpoint of head capsule; in profile, eye set anteriad of midline of head capsule; eyes elliptical or slightly reniform. In full-face view, frontal carinae concave; frontal lobes straight in front of antennal insertion. Anteromedial clypeal margin broadly convex with anteromedial dimple; clypeal psammophore set at or above midpoint of clypeus; palp formula 6,4. Mandibular teeth in minor worker four to five; mandibles narrow, strap-like, internal and external margins parallel or nearly so; third mandibular tooth distinctly shorter than apical tooth and teeth numbers two and four, or distinctly shorter than apical tooth and tooth no. two, tooth no. four vestigial, or distinctly shorter than apical tooth, but equivalent in length to remaining teeth, or absent; masticatory margin of mandibles strongly oblique. Mesosoma. Integument of pronotum, mesonotum and mesopleuron moderately shining and shagreenate throughout; anterior mesosoma in profile broadly convex; erect pronotal setae absent; in profile, metanotal groove a weak or vestigial furrow; propodeum shining and shagreenate; propodeum angulate, propodeal angle blunt; length ratio of propodeal dorsum to its declivity about 1:1; erect propodeal setae present and abundant (greater than 12); appressed propodeal setulae long and closely aligned, creating pubescence; propodeal spiracle situated nearer to midpoint of propodeum than to its declivitous face, and shorter (length < than 0.50 × height of propodeum). Petiole. In profile, petiolar node cuboidal, rounded above; in full-face view, shape of petiolar node uniformly rounded; node shining and distinctly shagreenate-microreticulate. Gaster. Gaster shining with superficial microreticulation; pilosity of first gastral tergite consisting of thick, appressed setae that form pubescence, interspersed with numerous short, bristly, erect setae. General characters. Colour brownish-orange to dark russet.

Major. Head. Head horizontally rectangular, broader than wide; posterior margin of head planar or weakly concave; cuticle of frons shining and smooth except for piliferous pits; frons consisting of appressed pubescence, with many short, unmodified, erect setae. Eye moderate (eye length 0.20–0.49 length of head capsule); in full-face view, midpoint of head capsule; in profile, eye set anteriad of midline of head capsule; eyes elliptical. In full-face view, frontal carinae distinctly concave; frontal lobes curved toward antennal insertion. Anterior clypeal margin broadly convex with anteromedial dimple; clypeal psammophore set at or above midpoint of clypeus; palp formula 6,4. Four to five mandibular teeth in major worker; mandibles narrow, strap-like, internal and external borders parallel or nearly so; third mandibular tooth distinctly shorter than apical tooth and teeth numbers two and four; masticatory margin of mandibles strongly oblique. Mesosoma. Integument of pronotum, mesonotum and mesopleuron shining with indistinct microsculpture that is most pronounced on lower surfaces; anterior mesosoma in profile steeply rounded anteriad, thereafter pronotum and whole of mesonotum flattened and on a higher plane than propodeum; erect pronotal setae short, (i.e., shorter than length of eye) and unmodified; in profile, metanotal groove shallow, indicated mainly by an angle and metathoracic spiracles; propodeum shining and generally smooth, with only weak indistinct shagreenation; propodeum angulate, propodeal angle blunt; length ratio of propodeal dorsum to its declivity between 1:1 and 1:2; erect propodeal setae present and abundant (at least a dozen); appressed propodeal setae long and closely aligned, creating pubescence; propodeal spiracle situated on or beside declivitous face of propodeum, and shorter (length less than 0.50 × height of propodeum). Petiole. In profile, petiolar node squamiform; in full-face view, shape of petiolar node tapered with blunt vertex; node shining and smooth with vestigial microreticulation anteriad. Gaster. Gaster weakly shining with indistinct shagreenation; pilosity of first gastral tergite consisting of thick, appressed setae that form pubescence, interspersed with numerous short, bristly, erect setae. General characters. Colour brownish-orange.

Type Material

Holotype minor worker (bottom ant) from 40 miles N of Warren, New South Wales, 23 December 1963, B.B. Lowery, red soil, ANIC ANTS VIAL 68.156 [ANIC32-900082] (Australian National Insect Collection). Paratypes: Major worker and minor worker on same pin as holotype (ANIC); 2 media and a minor worker from Grantham, Queensland, 24 January 1957, B.B. Lowery, dry sclerophyll, ANIC ANTS VIAL 68.209 (The Natural History Museum); 3 major workers, media worker and minor worker from Warwick, Queensland, 4 January 1966, B.B. Lowery, Red soil, hilly, sav. woodland, edge of I. detectus nest, morning, R28 (Museum of Comparative Zoology); minor worker and major worker from Grantham, Queensland, 24 January 1957, B.B. Lowery [ANIC32-900081] (Queensland Museum); major worker from ROC lease, Eneabba, Western Australia, 10-16 April 1997, L. Bisevac/B.E.Heterick, Plot 77AS, pitfall traps [JDM32-002001] (Western Australian Museum); 2 minor workers and major worker from Nerren Nerren Stn 27°00’s, 114°32’e, Western Australia, 26 September-19 October 1994, M.S. Harvey/J.M. Waldock, NE4 wet pits, WAQM/CALM survey, Carnarvon Basin [JDM32-002002] (WAM).

Etymology

anderseni (see species) plus Greek -oides (‘resembling’).

References