Melophorus paramorphomenus

AntWiki - Where Ant Biologists Share Their Knowledge
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Melophorus paramorphomenus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Melophorini
Genus: Melophorus
Species group: biroi
Species complex: fieldi
Species: M. paramorphomenus
Binomial name
Melophorus paramorphomenus
Heterick, Castalanelli & Shattuck, 2017

Melophorus paramorphomenus major side JDM32-004561.jpg

Melophorus paramorphomenus major top JDM32-004561.jpg

Specimen labels

Evolutionary Relationships
Melophorus


Melophorus ludius species group



Melophorus potteri species group





Melophorus aeneovirens species group




Melophorus biroi species group (biroi species complex)




Melophorus biroi species group (wheeleri species complex)




Melophorus biroi species group (brevignathus species complex)



Melophorus biroi species group (fieldi species complex)







Based on Heterick et al., 2017. Only selected species groups/complexes are included.

One inland sample has been collected at Tropicana Minesite, east of Laverton. It has also been found in a nest in red soil 12 km N of Billabong Station in the Midwest. (Heterick et al. 2017)

Identification

Heterick et al. (2017) - Melophorus paramorphomenus can be placed in the Melophoprus biroi species-group on the basis of characters of the clypeus, propodeum, mandible and palps. The species is also placed in the Melophoprus fieldi species-complex because of the appearance of the anteriorly placed clypeal psammophore, the compact propodeum, the presence of more than one preapical spine on the metatibia, at least in the major worker, the long, even spindly legs and the unmodified mandible in the major worker. Melophorus paramorphomenus cannot be confused with any other Melophorus except perhaps Melophorus cuneatus, which, however, has the typical features of the Melophoprus biroi species-complex. The worker thorax possesses an apparent metanotum that is confluent with the mesonotum, and often extends over the propodeum. The metanotal suture is obsolete, its position indicated only by a superficial, transverse furrow (more pronounced in the major worker), the propodeum is reduced in size and wedge-shaped, with the narrow end of the wedge often under a fold of the metanotum and, finally, the metathoracic spiracle is lateral and situated within the metanotal sector.

The peculiarly developed metanotum, under which the propodeum is squeezed, distinguishes this ant from all others. Melophorus cuneatus, bears a superficial resemblance, but here the propodeum projects to the dorsum of the trunk as a wedge: that ant also possesses the diagnostic characters of its species complex (posteriorly placed clypeal psammophore, etc.). Andersen (2007) has noted its resemblance to Notoncus enormis.

Distribution

The ant is known only from WA where it is found from about Kalbarri to Barrow Island.

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.

  • paramorphomenus. Melophorus paramorphomenus Heterick, Castalanelli & Shattuck, 2017: 290, fig. 67 (w.q.) 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 = 4): CI 103–120; EI 20–29; EL 0.17–0.27; HL 0.58–1.12; HW0.60–1.35; ML 0.84–1.45; MTL 0.51–0.87; PpH 0.05–0.04; PpL 0.27–0.47; SI 75–121; SL 0.73–1.01.

Minor. Head. Head square; posterior margin of head weakly convex; frons shining with superficial shagreenation or microreticulation only; frons consisting exclusively or almost exclusively of well-spaced, appressed setae only (small, erect setae, if present, usually confined to ocular triangle or posterior margin of head). Eye moderate (eye length 0.20–0.49 length of side of head capsule); in full-face view, eyes set at about midpoint of head capsule; in profile, set anteriad of head capsule; eyes elliptical or slightly reniform. In full-face view, frontal carinae straight or weakly convex; frontal lobes straight in front of antennal insertion. Anteromedial clypeal margin straight; clypeal psammophore set at or above midpoint of clypeus; palp formula 6,4. Five mandibular teeth in minor worker; mandibles triangular, weakly incurved; third mandibular tooth distinctly shorter than apical tooth and teeth numbers two and four; masticatory margin of mandibles approximately vertical or weakly oblique. Mesosoma. Integument of pronotum, mesonotum and mesopleuron shining and microreticulate, microreticulation reduced on humeri; anterior mesosoma in profile rounded anteriad, thereafter pronotum and whole of mesonotum flattened and on a higher plane than propodeum; appearance of erect pronotal setae short, (i.e., longest erect setae shorter than length of eye) and unmodified, or erect pronotal setae absent; in profile, metanotal groove absent; propodeum shining and finely striolate and microreticulate; propodeum wedge-shaped, tapering dorsad; length ratio of propodeal dorsum to its declivity not applicable, propodeal dorsum reduced to a narrow sliver; erect propodeal setae always absent; appressed propodeal setulae sparse or absent, if present then not regularly spaced; propodeal spiracle situated on or beside declivitous face of propodeum, and shorter (length < 0.50 × height of propodeum). Petiole. In profile, petiolar node squamiform; in full-face view, shape of petiolar node uniformly rounded; node shining and distinctly shagreenate-microreticulate. Gaster. Gaster weakly shining with indistinct shagreenation; pilosity of first gastral tergite consisting of well-spaced short, inconspicuous, appressed setae, erect setae (present in at least some workers) confined to margin of sclerite. General characters. Colour of foreparts dark ochre or orange tan, gaster brown.

Major. Head. Head square, or rectangular; posterior margin of head weakly convex; cuticle of frons shining and smooth except for piliferous pits; pilosity of frons a mixture of a few well-spaced, erect setae interspersed with appressed setae only. Eye moderate (eye length 0.20–0.49 length 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. In full-face view, frontal carinae straight or weakly convex; frontal lobes straight in front of antennal insertion. Anterior clypeal margin straight; clypeal psammophore set at or above midpoint of clypeus; palp formula 6,4. Four mandibular teeth in major worker-5; 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 approximately aligned vertically or weakly 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 a weak furrow; propodeum shining, with multiple hair like striolae; propodeum wedge-shaped, tapering dorsad; length ratio of propodeal dorsum to its declivity not applicable, propodeal dorsum reduced to a narrow sliver; erect propodeal setae absent; appressed propodeal setae sparse or absent, if present then not regularly spaced; 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 uniformly rounded; node shining and smooth with vestigial microreticulation anteriad. Gaster. Gaster shining with superficial microreticulation; pilosity of first gastral tergite consisting of thick, often distally flattened, erect setae over well-spaced, short, appressed setae. General characters. Colour orange tan with brown gaster.

Type Material

Holotype minor worker (bottom ant) from Tropicana Minesite 29°15'40"S, 124°35'50"E, Western Australia, January 2009, J. Summerhayes, pitfall trap: Casuarina C1:4 [JDM32-004561] (Western Australian Museum). Paratypes: 2 major workers on same pin with same details as holotype (WAM); 2 minor workers and queen from 12 km N of Billabong RH 26°44'S, 114°35'E, 11 December 2001, Heterick, B.E., Light scrub, red soil, am [JDM32-001988] (Australian National Insect Collection); minor worker from Barrow Island 20°49'43"S, 115°26'36"E, Western Australia, 17 May 2005, S. Callan, All 5 day pitfalls, R2 105 Pit 09 [JDM32-001989] (WAM).

Etymology

Greek paramorphos (‘change of physical shape’) plus Latinized Greek menus (Greek menos ‘spirit’ or ‘force’) referring to the odd appearance of the mesosoma; adjective in the nominative case.

References