Mycetophylax

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Mycetophylax
Mycetophylax conformis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Mycetophylax
Emery, 1913
Type species
Myrmicocrypta brittoni (junior synonym of Mycetophylax conformis)
Diversity
21 species
(Species Checklist)

Mycetophylax conformis casent0905913 p 1 high.jpg

Mycetophylax conformis casent0905913 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Evolutionary Relationships
Neoattina

Cyatta (1 species), Kalathomyrmex (1 species)





Mycetarotes
  (4 species)



Mycetosoritis
  (2 species)





Cyphomyrmex
  (23 species)




Mycetophylax
  (21 species)




Mycetagroicus
  (4 species)





Trachymyrmex
  (49 species)




Sericomyrmex
  (11 species)



Xerolitor
  (1 species)






Trachymyrmex
  (49 species)




Trachymyrmex
  (49 species)




Acromyrmex
  (62 species)



Atta
  (19 species)











Based on Ward et al. (2014), Blaimer et al. (2018) and Li et al. (2018).

A genus of fungus growing ants. Mycetophylax is a rather compact taxon, including three species that nest only in “restingas” (sandy dunes) along the South Atlantic coast, where they may be locally abundant, and in Venezuela and Puerto Rico, along beaches of the Caribbean Sea. Mycetophylax conformis was found inland only once in French Guiana (U. Mueller, pers. comm.), but also nesting in sandy soil. (Klingenberg and Brandao 2009)

Identification

The species of the more narrowly defined Mycetophylax can be easily separated from other Attini by the subtriangular head shape, well developed frontal lobes which completely cover the antennal insertions, absence of deeply impressed antennal scrobes, triangular mandibles, median clypeal seta present, mesonotum without spines or protuberances, and the posterior margin of postpetiole straight without any impression; in alate forms the radial cell of forewing is closed. (Klingenberg and Brandao 2009)

Keys to Species in this Genus

Distribution

World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Mycetophylax Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Mycetophylax Species Richness.png

Biology

At the Isle of Florianópolis (state of Santa Catarina, Brazil), Mycetophylax simplex and Mycetophylax morschi occur at the same beaches, but do not compete for fungus substrate. M. simplex builds nests in the bare sandy area, while M. morschi prefers areas covered with permanent vegetation. Biological data or life history observations are too scant to afford any interpretation. For observations on nest and colony structures of these species see Klingenberg et al. (2007).

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • MYCETOPHYLAX [Myrmicinae: Attini]
    • Mycetophylax Emery, 1913b: 251 [as subgenus of Cyphomyrmex]. Type-species: Myrmicocrypta brittoni (junior synonym of Cyphomyrmex conformis), by original designation.
    • Mycetophylax subgenus of Myrmicocrypta: Gallardo, 1916d: 320.
    • Mycetophylax subgenus of Cyphomyrmex: Emery, 1924d: 343.
    • Mycetophylax raised to genus: Santschi, 1923c: 268.

Klingenberg and Brandao 2009:

Worker

Monomorphic ants belonging to the Attini tribe. Integument areolate, smooth and shiny at the metapleural gland. Sculpture of the mandible discs varies between species. Hairs short, appressed. Head longer than wide, almost triangular, the greatest width of head at posterior third. Compound eyes at the anterior third of head capsule, convex, surpassing the lateral margin in frontal view. Anterior margin of labrum slightly concave in the middle otherwise rounded. Triangular mandibles with seven to ten teeth at masticatory margin, which is smooth, without any trace of sculpture. Apical teeth longer than the others, which are reduced in size basally; the most basal tooth appearing as a denticle. Posterior portion of clypeus extending up to the level of the antennal insertions. Posterior margin of clypeus visible as a distinct suture; frontal area triangular and shallowly impressed. Area between preocular carina and frontal carina free of hairs, distinct (in Mycetophylax morschi this area is particularly impressed, although the lateral expansion covers only the base base of the scapes, and not as in the true antennal scrobes of Cyphomyrmex, where most if not all of the scape can be lodged inside the scrobe). Frontal lobes laterally produced and covering the antennal insertions; frontal carinae reaching the posterior third of the head. Vertexal margin concave; posterolateral lobes rounded. Mesosoma without spines, smooth or bearing only rounded protuberances. Pronotal shoulders rounded. Promesonotum moderately convex in profile. Propodeal spiracle clearly visible, as well as the opening of the metapleural gland. Petiole longer than high; in lateral view, peduncle very short, with an undifferentiated node. Subpetiolar process always distinct, blunt, with rounded apex. In dorsal view, postpetiole always wider and longer than the petiole. Posterior margin of postpetiole straight, without an impression or distinct lobes.

Gaster without tubercles or protuberances; a little smaller than the head.

Queen

Color, pilosity and sculpture as in conspecific workers, but with three equally developed ocelli in the middle of the head. Anteriorly rounded scutum, scutum-scutellar sulcus convex in relation to the scutum. Axilla well developed. Parapsides almost indistinct, set between parapsidial lines and latero-posterior margin of the scutum which is limited by a carina. Anepisternum and katepisternum divided by a suture. Katepisternum anterior border sinuous. Petiole, postpetiole and gaster like those of the workers. Gaster with the same width as the head.

Male

Pilosity similar to that of conspecific workers and gynes. Triangular mandibles with five to seven teeth; the apical always longer than the others. Clypeus bulging until the frontal area. Head without antennal scrobes, at most with a depressed area where the antennae articulate; antennal scapes almost twice as long as the funiculus and always surpassing the posterolateral corners of the head. Small, impressed, hairless frontal area. Compound eyes set at the anterior half of head, occupying almost half to one fourth of its lateral margin, in full face view. Three equally developed ocelli. Antennae with 12 to 13 segments. Anterior part of scutum smooth with a median hairless furrow. Parapsidial lines parallel in relation to the main body axis. In dorsal view, prescutellum slender and scutellum narrower posteriorly. Posterior border of scutellum concave, with two protuberances directed backwards. Katepisternum and anepisternum divided by a distinct suture. Petiole and postpetiole like those of conspecific workers. Gaster slender, twice as wide as the postpetiole, with the same width as the head including compound eyes.

References

  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 199, Mycetophylax as genus)
  • Cardoso DC, das Grac¸as Pompolo S, Cristiano MP, Tavares MG (2014) The Role of Fusion in Ant Chromosome Evolution: Insights from Cytogenetic Analysis Using a Molecular Phylogenetic Approach in the Genus Mycetophylax. PLoS ONE 9(1): e87473 (doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0087473).
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1943g. A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(10): 617-688 (page 663, Mycetophylax as subgenus of Cyphomyrmex)
  • Cardoso, D.C., Cristiano, M.P., Heinze, J. & Tavares, M.G. 2014. A nuclear DNA based phylogeny of endemic sand dune ants of the genus Mycetophylax (Emery, 1913). How morphology is reflected in molecular data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 70, 378–382.
  • Emery, C. 1913c. Études sur les Myrmicinae. [V-VII.]. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 57: 250-262 (page 251, Mycetophylax in Myrmicinae, Attini; Mycetophylax as subgenus of Cyphomyrmex)
  • Emery, C. 1924f [1922]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 343, Mycetophylax in Myrmicinae, Attini; Mycetophylax as subgenus of Cyphomyrmex)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 247, Mycetophylax as subgenus of Cyphomyrmex)
  • Gallardo, A. 1916e. Notes systématiques et éthologiques sur les fourmis attines de la République Argentine. An. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. B. Aires 28: 317-344 (page 320, Mycetophylax subgenus of Myrmicocrypta)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 145, Mycetophylax as genus)
  • Klingenberg, C. & Brandão, C.R.F. 2009. Revision of the fungus-growing ant genera Mycetophylax Emery and Paramycetophylax Kusnezov rev. stat. and description of Kalathomyrmex n. gen. Zootaxa 2052: 1-31. PDF
  • Kusnezov, N. 1964 [1963]. Zoogeografía de las hormigas en Sudamérica. Acta Zool. Lilloana 19: 25-186 (page 63, Mycetophylax as genus)
  • Santschi, F. 1922c. Myrmicines, dolichodérines et autres formicides néotropiques. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 54: 345-378 (page 357, Key to species (out of date))
  • Santschi, F. 1923c. Solenopsis et autres fourmis néotropicales. Rev. Suisse Zool. 30: 245-273 (page 268, Mycetophylax as genus)
  • Weber, N. A. 1958e. Some attine synonyms and types (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 60: 259-264 (page 262, Mycetophylax senior synonym of Paramyrcetophylax; Mycetophylax as genus)