Myrmica afghanica

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Myrmica afghanica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species: M. afghanica
Binomial name
Myrmica afghanica
Radchenko & Elmes, 2003

The biology and ecology of this species is unknown.

Identification

Males of M. afghanica are unknown and without males it is impossible to determine membership of a Myrmica species group with certainty. The morphological features of the female castes suggest that M. afghanica belongs either to the dshungarica-group or to the smythiesii-group. It most resemble species of the dshungarica-group, which are distributed in Middle Asian Mountains, in which case M. afghanica, like Myrmica tenuispina, might have invaded Afghanistan from the north. On the other hand, if it belongs to the smythiesii-group it is probably a true endemic of the region. (Radchenko and Elmes 2010)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India.
Palaearctic Region: Afghanistan (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Males are unknown.

Nomenclature

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

  • afghanica. Myrmica afghanica Radchenko & Elmes, 2003b: 3, figs. 1-12 (w.q.) AFGHANISTAN. See also: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 81.

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

Description

Worker

Head long, with parallel sides, straight or very feebly concave occipital margin, and narrowly rounded occipital corners. Anterior clypeal margin prominent and pointed medially. Frontal carinae short, almost straight, not curving outwards to merge with the rugae, which surround antennal sockets. Frons wide, frontal lobes relatively narrow (see indices below). Antennal scape long and slender, very feebly curved at the base, without trace of angle or carina. Alitrunk dorsum feebly convex, metanotal groove very shallow. Propodeal spines short but sharp, projected backwards and upwards (at an angle about 45°). Petiole with long anterior peduncle, in profile petiolar node dorsum broadly rounded and postpetiole sub-globular.

Head dorsum having mostly a relatively coarse, longitudinal rugulosity, only the lateral parts and occiput having reticulation. Frons between frontal carinae level with the eyes with less than 13 rugae. Surfaces between rugae appearing shiny, being at most very finely, superficially sculptured. Promesonotal dorsum mostly longitudinally rugose, only anterior half of pronotum with coarse reticulation; sculpture on propodeal dorsum partly reduced; sides of alitrunk with longitudinal, slightly sinuous rugae. Petiolar and postpetiolar nodes with longitudinally-concentric rugae. Tibiae of hind and middle legs with well developed, pectinate spur. Quite hairy species. Antennal scape and legs with very abundant and long hairs that are almost erect on scape and sub-erect on legs; the longest hairs on antennal scape distinctly longer than maximal diameter of the scape. Body colour light brown to black, appendages yellowish brown.

Measurements (mm) and indices (data for holotype in parenthesis): HL 1.02–1.12 (1.06), HW 0.82–0.88 (0.84), FW 0.35–0.39 (0.36), FLW 0.37–0.40 (0.39), SL 0.82-0.86 (0.86), AL 1.42–1.52 (1.50), HTL 0.74–0.82 (0.76), PNW 0.60–0.63 (0.60), PL 0.40–0.41 (0.40), PW 0.23–0.24 (0.24), PH 0.30–0.33 (0.31), PPL 0.32–0.33 (0.33), PPW 0.36 (0.36), PPH 0.36–0.39 (0.36), ESL 0.19–0.23 (0.19), ESD 0.34 (0.34); CI 1.24–1.27 (1.26), FI 0.43–0.44 (0.43), FLI 1.03–1.06 (1.06), SI1 0.75–0.81 (0.81), SI2 0.95–1.02 (1.02), PI1 1.24–1.33 (1.32), PI2 0.47–0.49 (0.49), PPI1 0.85–0.92 (0.92), PPI2 1.00–1.08 (1.00), PPI3 1.50–1.56 (1.50), PPI4 0.41–0.44 (0.43), ESLI 0.23 –0.26 (0.23), ESDI 1.48–1.79 (1.79), HTI 0.45–0.47 (0.45).

Queen

(specimen without postpetiole and gaster): Relatively small compared to queens of many Myrmica species but proportionately larger than the workers (about 25% larger on both HW and AL). Otherwise the general features of shape, sculpture and pilosity are very similar to the workers. It differs from the workers by the slightly convex lateral margins of the head, and the following details of the body sculpture: just longitudinal rugae present on the head dorsum and alitrunk with no reticulation; only the petiolar node dorsum has any reticulation. Postpetiole and gaster most probably also very similar to those of workers.

Measurements (mm) and indices: HL 1. 26, HW 1.06, FW 0.45, FLW 0.47, SL 1.00, AL 1.88, HTL 1.00, PL 0.51, PW 0.33, PH 0.43, ESL 0.19, ESD 0.42; CI 1.19, FI 0.42, FLI 1.04, SI1 0.75, SI2 0.94, PI1 1.55, PI2 0.48, ESLI, 0.18, ESDI 2.21, HTI 0.47, AI 1.59, SCI 1.62.

Type Material

Holotype, w, "Afghanistan, Pashki Nuristan, 6:vi.(Sic!) 48, leg. K. Paludan" (Copenhagen); paratypes: 2 w, 1 q (dealate, specimen without postpetiole and gaster), with the same labels as holotype (Copenhagen). We cannot find Pashki Nuristan, but the most probable locality is Nãrest~n (34°56' N, 70°22' E) located in a river valley of the Hindu Kush, about 60 km north of Jäläläbad and 120 km northeast of Kabul.

Etymology

Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - from the name of the country Afghanistan with the adjective suffix for nouns ica (from the Greek ικο) = belonging to, from, it is probably endemic to that country.

References