Myrmelachista nigrocotea

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Myrmelachista nigrocotea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Myrmelachistini
Genus: Myrmelachista
Species: M. nigrocotea
Binomial name
Myrmelachista nigrocotea
Longino, 2006

Myrmelachista nigrocotea casent0627913 p 1 high.jpg

This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats from 500–1100m elevation, where it nests in live stems of understory Lauraceae and Meliaceae. It has a biology similar to Myrmelachista flavocotea but is more generalized in its host use. At Refugio Eladio in the Peñas Blancas Valley it occurs in Ocotea dendrodaphne, O. atirrensis, O. tenera, and the undescribed species of Guarea that is the host for M. flavoguarea. Cerro Pedregal, across from Estación Cacao in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, has a patch of understory O. tenera near the peak that is dominated by M. nigrocotea. Colonies can be monogynous or polygynous with 2–4 dealate queens. Stems often contain Pseudococcidae. Alate queens have been collected in Project ALAS Malaise traps on the Barva transect. (Longino 2006)

Identification

Longino (2006) - Worker with antenna 9-segmented, maxillary palpus 5-segmented, color yellow. Queen black; mandible punctatorugose; HW greater than 1.1mm; head relatively broad (CI 88–93); eyes relatively small (OI 23–27); much of face slightly roughened, dull, not strongly shining.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality), Honduras.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Habitat

In Costa Rica it occurs above 500m elevation in wet forest habitats of the Cordillera Volcánica Central, Cordillera de Tilarán, and Cordillera de Guanacaste.

Biology

Castes

Queen

Male

Nomenclature

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

  • nigrocotea. Myrmelachista nigrocotea Longino, 2006a: 40, figs. 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11 (w.q.m.) COSTA RICA.

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

Description

Worker

HL 0.560–0.683, HW 0.520–0.660, SL 0.274–0.345, EL 0.105–0.121, CI 93–101 (n=5).

Similar to flavocotea. Compared to flavocotea, there is a tendency for the pilosity on the side and ventral surface of head to be shorter, the pilosity on the hind tibia to be more fully appressed, and the gastral terga to develop faintly infuscated bands, but these differences are difficult to quantify.

Queen

HL 1.259–1.362, HW 1.135–1.223, SL 0.532–0.575, EL 0.283–0.309, OW 0.063–0.096, OD 0.227–0.267, CI 88–93, OI 23–27, OcI 5–7 (n=9).

Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 6-segmented; labrum short, bilobed, not covering mouthparts; dorsal surface of mandible punctatorugose; face and clypeus roughened, becoming somewhat smoother posteriorly; clypeus often coarsely rugose; in full face view, with short erect to appressed setae on rear and side margins of head; ventral surface of head with abundant short erect setae; scapes with abundant erect to suberect setae, longer setae subequal to width of scape; outer surface of hind tibia with abundant setae, suberect to fully appressed, longer setae shorter than width of tibia; color solid black.

Male

Similar to M. flavocotea. Differing in generally heavier sclerotization, darker color, and smaller ocelli. Width of median ocellus usually less than distance between median and lateral ocellus; distance between lateral ocelli less than distance from lateral ocellus to compound eye.

Type Material

Holotype alate queen: Costa Rica, Prov. Alajuela, Casa Eladio, Rio Peñas Blancas, 10°19’N, 84°43’W, 800m, 30 Apr 1988 (J. Longino#2044) Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, specimen code JTLC000006186.

Paratypes: workers and queens, from same nest as holotype, specimen codes JTLC000006187-JTLC000006197, distributed to INBC, Museum of Comparative Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, University of California, Davis, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, The Natural History Museum.

Etymology

The name refers to the black color of the queen head and its frequent occurrence in the plant genus Ocotea.

References