Myrmica draco

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Myrmica draco
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species: M. draco
Binomial name
Myrmica draco
Radchenko, Zhou & Elmes, 2001

Myrmica draco P casent0900290.jpg

Myrmica draco D casent0900290.jpg

Specimen Label

Little is known about ecology of this species, except that it nests under rotten wood, in the soil, in forests at altitudes of about 2000m.

Identification

A member of the draco complex of the ritae species group. Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - Originally Radchenko et al. (2001) placed M. draco to the ritae species group. We discussed how the taxonomic position of this species is somewhat obscure because it shares features of both the ritae- and boltoni-complexes of this group: M. draco has sculpture of the alitrunk that is typical for the species from the ritae-complex, but sculpture of its head and waist similar to species from the boltoni-complex (see also Radchenko and Elmes 1998). However, after our more recent discovery of some similar new species from northern Vietnam, Myrmica yamanei and Myrmica schoedli, we recognized a separate draco-complex, which contains these three species.

The males of M. draco have a long scape. Previously males were known only of Myrmica serica and Myrmica indica, both of which have short scape and we assumed that this might be true for all ritae-group species. Until males from more species are discovered and described we can not take this discrepancy any further. However, we speculate that males of all the species from the draco-complex have long scapes while those of the ritae-complex are short; in which case we would probably separate the ritae-group into two groups.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

The species is known from the central and southern China (Guangxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan Provinces).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: China (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.

  • draco. Myrmica draco Radchenko, Zhou & Elmes, 2001: 214, figs. 11-26 (w.q.m.) CHINA. See also: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 122.

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

Description

Worker

Head slightly longer than broad, with feebly convex sides, straight occipital margin and narrowly rounded occipital corners: its upper latero-ventral corners pointed. Anterior clypeal margin very shallowly but distinctly notched medially Frontal carinae feebly curved, frons wide. Antennal sockets not surrunded by rugae. Antennal scape very long, longer than head, and gradually and weakly curved at its base. Mandiblcs with 9-11 teeth.

Alitrunk long and low, with more or less flattened promesonotal dorsum: promesonotal suture indistinct from above, metanotal groove distinct and deep. Metapleural lobes project apically and forming sharp tooth. Propodeal spines very long, acute, more or less straight, projecting mainly backwards, not curving downward, and slightly divergent (from above). Petiole quite long, low and narrow (but relatively shorter and higher than in both previous species). Postpetiole somewhat shorter than height, with more or less straight or even slightly concave anterior surface and rounded node dorsum, fig-shape from above. Spurs on middle and hind tibiae well developed and distinctly pectinate.

Head dorsum with not wry coarse, slightly sinuous rugae: reticulation develops only near occipital margin. Frons between frontal carinae level with the eyes with not less than six rugae. Clypeus with coarse longitudinal rugae, mandibles striato-rugulosc. Surface of head between rugae finely but densely punctured, appears dull (at least distinctly not smooth and shiny), while frontal triangle, antennal sockets and clyeus smooth and shiny.

In contrast to the head, the alitrunk is much more coarsely sculptured. Its sides with very coarse longitudinal more or less straight or slightly sinuous rugae, which are extremely coarse on sides of pronotum. Propodeal dorsum and mesonotum with longitudinal sinuous rugosity, while pronotum with very coarse reticulation. Surface between rugae not punctured, smooth and shiny. Petiole and postpetiole without rugae, only partly finely striated, and superficially punctured, appear somewhat dull. Gaster smooth and shiny.

Head margins and alitrunk dorsum with numerous outstanding hairs. Antennal scape and tibiae with very short decumbent to subdecumbent hairs. Colour of alitrunk and head brownish-red, gaster brownish-yellow, antennae reddish, legs reddish-yellow.

Queen

Generally like workers in shape of head, character of sculpture. Colour and pilosity of the body except the following. Petiole relatively shorter and higher; both petiole and postpetiole with fine longitudinally-concentric rugosity. Head dorsum with relatively coarser rugae and more developed reticulation in its rear part. Entire alitrunk with coarse longitudinal more or less straight rugae, only rear third of scutellum with large reticulation. Propodeal spines relatively shorter, directed backwards and distinctly curved down; from above their tips slightly convergent.

Male

Head slightly longer than broad, with convex sides and occipital margin, and gradually rounded occipital corners: anterior clypeal margin straight and very shallowly notched medially. Central part of clypeus sharply raised, forming trapezoid lobe-like process when seen on profile. Frontal carinae very feebly curved. Antennal scape long (similar to species of Smythiesii-group, see Radchenko and Elmes, in press), somewhat longer than head width, very feebly curved at the base antennal club 5-jointed, but not very distinct. Masticatory margin of mandibles distinct, with 7 acute teeth.

Alitrunk relatively long, low and narrow, scutum convex, and scutellum does not project dorsally above scutum when seen in profile. Propodeum with blunt triangular denticles. Metapleural lobes not prominent, but sharply angulate at the apex. Petiole relatively very long and low, with distinct peduncle, with feebly convex and gradually rounded node dorsum; postpetiole also quite long and low.

Shape of discoidal cell of forewing more similar to species of Manica than to Myrmica: it is relatively wide and trapezoidal (length / width ratio < 1.55 versus > 1.60 for species from other Myrmica groups; see also Radchenko and Elmes 1998).

Frons, lateral parts of head dorsum and clypeus with fine striae: surface of head not coarsely but densely punctured, appearing dull. Scutum and scutellum smooth and shiny, only hind third of scutellum with fine semicircle concentric striation. Sides of alitrunk with finer rugulosity and striation. Petiole and postpetiole finely superficially punctured, petiolar node also with fine striae. Gaster smooth and shiny.

Head margins with numerous but very short subdecumbent hairs. Alitrunk, petiole, postpetiole and gaster with not very abundant suberect hairs. Legs and antennal scape with very short subdecumbent to decumbent hairs. Head dark reddish-brown, alitrunk brownish-red, gaster and waist somewhat lighter; appendages reddish-yellow.

Type Material

Holotype, w, "S. China, NE Guangxi Prov., Mao Er Shan, 1930 m, MES-125, 22.viii.1998, leg. J. Fellowes" (LONDON); paratypes: 1 w from the same nest as holotype; 1 g, 1 m, same label, but No. MES-122; 4 w, same label, but No. MES-124; 1 w, 1 g (alate), same label, but No. MES-128 (all leg. J. Fellowes); 6 w, same location, 29.viii.1997, No.4, leg. S. Zhou; 5 w, same location, 8.ix.1997, No.3, leg. S. Zhou (KIEV, GUILIN, ELMES);

Etymology

Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - this species is named for the dragon of Chinese mythology. Draco is a Latin word derived from the Greek dracon or dragon.

References