Myrmecina difficulta

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Myrmecina difficulta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Myrmecina
Species: M. difficulta
Binomial name
Myrmecina difficulta
Shattuck, 2009

Myrmecina difficulta holotype ANIC32-047353 side.jpg

Myrmecina difficulta holotype ANIC32-047353 top.jpg

Specimen labels

This rainforest and palm forest species has been collected from leaf litter and under stones.

Identification

Shattuck (2009) - Dorsal surface of mesosoma with continuous longitudinal carinae running from pronotum to propodeum; carinae extending continuously from the posterodorsal surface onto the lateral surfaces of the anterior mesosoma (the carinae extend from the mesonotum to the sides of the pronotum), the sculpturing well developed on sides of pronotum. The form of the mesosomal sculpturing combined with the smooth region behind the compound eyes will separate this species from others known from Australia.

Myrmecina difficulta shows considerable morphological variation in a number of character systems, including the size, number and shape/configuration of carinae on the head and mesosoma, the development of sculpturing in the area behind the compound eye, the length of the metanotal spines and the overall body size. In some cases these characters show as much variation as that seen between other species in the genus, strongly suggesting that multiple closely related species are involved. For example the density of carinae on the mesonotum shows considerable variation, ranging from large and widely spaced to smaller and more dense. Similarly, body size is extreme in this species, showing more variation than that found in all other species combined – a highly unexpected and surprising condition.

However, this variation was found to be largely continuous and lacking obvious subdivisions. Additionally, there are numerous examples where significant variation is seen among specimens collected from the same litter sample, suggesting that this variation is intra- rather than inter-specific.

Additionally, the variation across characters showed little correlation. For example, many of the smaller specimens show a tendency to have the carinae on the dorsum of the pronotum in the form of a “V”, a pattern also seen in some of the largest workers but absent from the majority of intermediately sized specimens (where the carinae are more or less linear).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • difficulta. Myrmecina difficulta Shattuck, 2009a: 8, figs. 6, 12-16, 47 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

Type Material

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

Description

Worker

Antennal scapes smooth or with low ridges. First segment of funiculus cone-shaped. Sides of head behind compound eyes smooth. Sculpturing on dorsal surface of mesosoma varying from running longitudinally and generally with the central carina (or carinae) running nearly the length (the pronotum not differentiated from the mesonotum) to weakly “V”-shaped anteriorly. Carinae extending continuously from the dorsal surface onto the lateral surfaces of the mesosoma. Metanotal spines very short and broadly anglular. Propodeal spines long. Erect hairs abundant, straight. Colour dark brown-black, gaster slightly lighter, antennae, mandibles, legs and tip of gaster yellow.

(n = 24)— CI 93–107; HL 0.59–0.92; HW 0.54–0.91; MTL 0.28–0.49; SI 79–97; SL 0.45–0.82; WL 0.67–1.15.

References