Neoponera obscuricornis

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Neoponera obscuricornis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Neoponera
Species: N. obscuricornis
Binomial name
Neoponera obscuricornis
(Emery, 1890)

Pachycondyla obscuricornis casent0103058 profile 1.jpg

Pachycondyla obscuricornis casent0103058 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

This rarely-encountered species appears to be a rainforest ant. The collection elevations run from around sea level to 700 meters. The records from San Martín Peru and Santa Cruz Bolivia are from rainforest, the Paraguayan specimens were collected as ground foragers in primary humid subtropical tall forest, and the Ecuadorian record is from the edge of a second growth rainforest. The single nest series, collected by Phil Ward in Davidcillo, 30 km NNE Tarapoto in San Martín, Peru, was in a rotting log. (Wild, 2005)

Identification

From Mackay and Mackay (2010): Wild (2005) cleared the confusion regarding the identity of N. obscuricornis. The worker of N. obscuricornis would be most easily confused with that of the common and widely distributed Neoponera verenae. Neoponera obscuricornis can be easily separated as the posterior lateral edge of the petiole does not sharply differentiate the lateral and posterior faces of the petiole, as it does in N. verenae. Additionally N. obscuricornis has dense appressed pubescence on the hypopygium, which is lacking or greatly reduced in N. verenae. The shape of the metasternal process of N. obscuricornis would also separate this species from N. verenae, in which the separation of the lobes is not concave apically, as it is in N. verenae and it lacks the oblique striae, which are apparently always present in N. verenae. Neoponera obscuricornis is more closely related to Neoponera apicalis than it is to N. verenae. It can be easily separated from N. apicalis as N. obscuricornis lacks the yellow-tipped funiculus. The lack of erect hairs on the dorsum of the mesosoma would separate N. obscuricornis from the similar Neoponera cooki.

Wild (2002) lists a species near N. obscuricornis, which is the true N. obscuricornis (Wild, pers. comm.); the N. obscuricornis listed in Wild (2002) are actually N. verenae (Wild, pers. comm.).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

ECUADOR, PERU, BRASIL, BOLIVIA, PARAGUAY. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia, Brazil (type locality), Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname.

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Neoponera obscuricornis for further details

Habitat

Neoponera obscuricornis can be found in rainforest, subtropical tall forest and at the edge of second growth rain forest at 0 - 700 m (Wild, 2005). One series from Ecuador was collected at 1100 m. It is a rarely collected rain forest ant (Wild, 2005). (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Biology

In most published literature that includes this species name the actually species referenced is the more common Pachycondyla verenae (=Neoponera verenae). Wild's 2005 account of the biology of this species is prefaced by: "Nearly all the information published under the name P. obscuricornis actually refers to P. verenae. Little is known about the biology of true P. obscuricornis."

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • obscuricornis. Pachycondyla flavicornis var. obscuricornis Emery, 1890a: 58 (w.) BRAZIL. Combination in Neoponera: Emery, 1901a: 47; in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 308; in Neoponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 151. Raised to species: Emery, 1911d: 72. See also: Wild, 2005: 9; Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 479.

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

Description

Worker

From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The worker is a moderate sized (total length 10 - 11 mm) black ant with brown appendages, including the funiculus. The mandibles have approximately 10 teeth, in addition to several smaller denticles located between the teeth. The anterior margin of the clypeus is convex but the anterior medial margin is concave. The malar carina is present and nearly reaches the eye. The eye is large (maximum diameter 0.8 mm) located less than one maximum diameter from the anterior margin of the head (side view). The eyes are located slightly posteriorly on the head. The antennal scapes are moderately long (2.2 mm) and extend approximately the first two funicular segments past the posterior corner of the head. The posterior margin of the head is slightly concave; the posterior lateral corners are slightly angulate. The pronotal carina is poorly developed, the metanotal suture is well developed, breaking the sculpture on the dorsum of the mesosoma and noticeably depressing the mesosoma when viewed in profile. The propodeal spiracle is slit-shaped. The anterior face of the petiole is broadly rounded into the dorsal face, the posterior face is nearly vertical and the dorsal face is broadly rounded, the posterior lateral margins of the posterior face are poorly developed.

The subpetiolar process is relatively small and consists of a small anterior lobe with a ventrally and posteriorly directed tooth, the remainder of the process is poorly developed. The metasternal process consists of two elongate triangular lobes.

Erect hairs are sparse with a few present on the frontal carina, the clypeus, the mandibles, hairs are absent on most of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the head, the posterior margin, the sides of the head, the scapes (except at the apex), absent on the dorsum of the mesosoma, the dorsum of the petiole and the dorsum of the gaster, a few tiny hairs are present on the subpetiolar process and the ventral surface of the gaster. A few hairs are present on the coxae, but are mostly absent on the remainder of the legs.

The mandibles are finely striate; the remainder is mostly very finely punctate and dull.

Type Material

Brasil, Pará (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Etymology

The name of this species is derived from two Latin words, obscurus, meaning dark and cornus, meaning horn, referring to the dark funiculus of the worker. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

References

  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1995a. [Untitled. Taxonomic changes in Pachycondyla attributed to Brown.] Pp. 302-311 in: Bolton, B. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 308, Combination in Pachycondyla)
  • Emery, C. 1890b. Voyage de M. E. Simon au Venezuela (Décembre 1887 - Avril 1888). Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. (6)(10): 55-76 (page 58, worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 47, Combination in Neoponera)
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 72, Raised to species)
  • Gobin, B., J. Heinze, M. Straetz and F. Roces. 2003. The energetic cost of reproductive conflicts in the ant Pachycondyla obscuricornis. Journal of Insect Physiology 49:747-752.
  • Lommelen, E., E. Schoeters and J. Billen. 2002. Ultrastructure of the labial gland in the ant Pachycondyla obscuricornis (Hymenoptera, Formicinae). Netherlands Journal of Zoology 52:61-68.
  • Mackay, W. P., and E. E. Mackay 2010. The Systematics and Biology of the New World Ants of the Genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellon Press, Lewiston. Information from this publication is used with permission from the authors.
  • Morgan, E., R. do Nascimento, S. Keegans and J. Billen. 1999. Comparative study of mandibular gland secretions of workers of ponerine ants. Journal of Chemical Ecology 25:1395-1409.
  • Morgan, E., H. Jungnickel, S. Keegans, R. do Nascimento, J. Billen, B. Gobin and F. Ito. 2003. Comparative survey of abdominal gland secretions of the ant subfamily Ponerinae. Journal of Chemical Ecology 29:95-114.
  • Wild, A. 2002. The genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Paraguay. Boletín del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Paraguay 14:1-18.
  • Wild, A. 2005. Taxonomic revision of the Pachycondyla apicalis species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 834:1-25.
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa. 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1)