Myrmica vandeli

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Myrmica vandeli
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species: M. vandeli
Binomial name
Myrmica vandeli
Bondroit, 1920

Myrmica vandeli P casent0280821.jpg

Myrmica vandeli D casent0280821.jpg

Specimen Label

Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - M. vandeli inhabits almost exclusively rather warm but humid sites, such as wet meadows, marshes and bogs, where it builds nests usually in moss pads, tussocks of grass and sedge, rarely in the soil under stones. Almost always M. vandeli coexists with Myrmica scabrinodis, though it is generally a much less abundant and widespread species. The parasitic morphological features of the queens and males led Bondroit (1920a: 148) to suggest a socially-parasitic style of life for M. vandeli: “Il est probable que le M. vandeli est une espece parasite”. We have found both pure colonies and colonies of mixed M. scabrinodis and Myrmica vandeli (Elmes et al. 2003; Radchenko et al. 2003; Radchenko 2009) in the central part of its range, where environmental conditions probably are optimal for M. vandeli, we hardly ever located mixed colonies, but at the edges of its distribution (e.g. in Great Britain, Poland or Ukraine) M. vandeli often coexists with M. scabrinodis. This led us to suggest that in poor or new habitat queens of M. vandeli might resort to facultative social parasitism to found colonies, but in optimum habitats it may be able to establish colonies by independent foundation or by colony division.

Identification

Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - A member of the sabuleti complex of the scabrinodis species group. It was originally described from queens and males from France and was known only from the type series for more than 50 years, until Kutter (1977) described workers of this species from Switzerland. Elmes and Thomas (1985) showed that it is a quite common free-living species in France that can easily be discriminated from M. scabrinodis (all castes) by morphometrics.

M. vandeli possess several “socially parasitic” features, such as reduced spurs on the mid- and hind tibiae and hairy body, and by this characters is similar to Myrmica bibikoffi and Myrmica hirsuta. On the other hand, workers of M. vandeli appear very similar to those of Myrmica scabrinodis by the shape of alitrunk and waist, by the size and shape of the lobe at the bent of the scape, by the shape of frontal carinae and frontal lobes (including FI and FLI), but differ from the latter by more abundant standing hairs on the body (petiole with> 10, often> 20 hairs vs. < 10, usually ~ 8 hairs), by the presence of at least shallow medial notch on the anterior c1ypeal margin, by the less coarse, almost straight longitudinal rugosity on the alitrunk dorsum (vs. strong reticulation in M. scabrinodis) and by the reduced (to various extents) sculpture of the petiolar and postpetiolar dorsum, and finally, by its reduced tibial spurs. Males of M. vandeli have relatively long scapes and could be confused with Myrmica sabuleti, but they well differ from it by the presence of abundant long standing hairs on the scape and head margins, and by the much shorter hairs on the mid- and hind tibiae. Queens of M. vandeli differ from those of all species of the scabrinodis-group by their large size, very dark, almost black body colour, and especially by the characteristic longitudinally-concentric rugosity on the petiolar node dorsum.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Austria, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, France (type locality), Germany, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Fungi

This species is a host for the ectoparastic fungus Rickia wasmannii (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • vandeli. Myrmica vandeli Bondroit, 1920a: 148, figs. 1, 2 (q.m.) FRANCE. [Also described as new by Bondroit, 1920b: 301.] Kutter, 1977c: 71 (w.). Subspecies of scabrinodis: Weber, 1950b: 211. Revived status as species: Bernard, 1967: 122; Kutter, 1977c: 71; Seifert, 1988b: 33. See also: Elmes & Thomas, 1985: 97; Radchenko & Elmes, 2003a: 230; Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 315.

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

Description

Etymology

Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - this species was named for the French biologist Prof. Albert Vandel (1894-1980) who collected the type specimens.

References