Plagiolepis boltoni

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Plagiolepis boltoni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Plagiolepis
Species: P. boltoni
Binomial name
Plagiolepis boltoni
Sharaf & Aldawood, 2011

Plagiolepis boltoni casent0217200 p 1 high.jpg

Plagiolepis boltoni casent0217200 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Plagiolepis boltoni was collected from an arid area planted with small neglected date palm trees. Some of the ants were observed foraging close to the bases of the trees. Nothing more is known about the biology of the colony except that it was small and in soil close to the road surrounding Riyadh. The second paratype series also was found nesting near a palm tree; in this case the soil was moist because of irrigation. The ants were coexisting with other ant species including Brachyponera sennaarensis, Camponotus sericeus, Cataglyphis abyssinica and Cardiocondyla emeryi. The area was abundantly inhabited also by springtails, lygaeid bugs, web spinners, staphylinid and tenebrionid beetles. It appears that P. boltoni prefers areas around palm trees. (Sharaf et al. 2011)

Identification

Sharaf et al. (2011) - P. boltoni is morphologically similar to Plagiolepis exigua, sharing the following characters: color yellow, integument smooth and shining, head longer than broad with convex sides, segment distinctly shorter than third. P. boltoni can be separated from P. exigua by the scapes surpassing the posterior margin of head, whereas in the latter the scapes do not reach the posterior margin of head. P. boltoni has larger eyes containing eleven ommatidia in the longest row (EL 0.30-0.35x HW), whereas in P. exigua, eyes are smaller with only six ommatidia (EL 0.19x HW). P. boltoni also is consistently larger, TL 1.35-1.60 versus TL 1.23, and has a slightly higher mesosomal length, ML 0.40-0.44 versus ML 0.35. The anterior clypeal margin of P. exigua has two lateral pairs of long yellow hairs, posterior margin with one pair of long hairs situated between antennal insertions. The anterior clypeal margin of P. exigua has several pairs of long yellow hairs and posterior margin bare. The mesosoma profile is elongated in P. boltoni with a relatively flat dorsal surface and weak metanotal suture. The mesosoma of P. exigua is more compact, short with a convex pronotum and mesonotum and a distinct metanotal groove.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia (type locality).
Palaearctic Region: Oman.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Sharaf et al (2018) - Oman: Found nesting in dry soil under a stone at the edge of a pomegranate field and coexisting with Brachyponera sennaarensis. Several additional workers were found inhabiting leaf litter where soil was dry.

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • boltoni. Plagiolepis boltoni Sharaf & Aldawood, in Sharaf, Aldawood & Taylor, 2011: 204, figs. 2a-c (w.) SAUDI ARABIA.

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

Description

Worker

Holotype: TL 1.40, HL 0.43, HW 0.40, SL 0.41, EL 0.14, ML 0.43, SI 103, CI 93. Paratypes: TL 1.35-1.60, HL 0.41-0.44, HW 0.36-0.40, SL 0.36-0.41, ML 0.40-0.44, EL 0.11-0.14, SI 100-103, CI 88-93 (N=5).

Unicolorous yellow, eyes and apex of gaster black, mandible teeth brown. Head distinctly longer than broad, second funicular segment distinctly shorter than the third, fourth funicular segment distinctly longer than broad, nearly subequal to the third; antennae with abundant decumbent yellow pubescence. Head in full face view with distinctly convex sides and the eyes just breaking the outline; the occiput straight or weakly concave with clearly rounded corners. Scapes surpass the occiput by about a quarter of their length. Head dorsum smooth and brilliant but with abundant scattered hair pits. Eyes large (EL 0.30-0.35x HW) with 12 ommatidia in the longest row. Anterior clypeal margin with two lateral pairs of long yellow hairs, posterior margin with one pair of long hairs situated between antennal insertions. Profile of mesosoma elongated, with a flattish dorsal surface and a weak metanotal suture. The propodeal spiracle is minute and circular. The whole mesosoma is bare except for short pubescence on the pronotum and mesonotum. The gaster has a few long sub-erect yellow hairs on each tergite.

Type Material

Holotype worker.Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Al Diri’yah, 23.xii.2009, 24°44’N, 46°35’E, altitude 688 m.a.s.l. (Mostafa R. Sharaf & Abdulrahman S. Aldawood); deposited in King Saud Museum of Arthropods. Paratypes. 7 workers with same data as holotype deposited at World Museum Liverpool, in Kiko Gomez collection, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, The Natural History Museum, California Academy of Sciences and KSUC. 17 workers; Saudi Arabia: Al Hilwa village (Hawtat Bani Tamim) ca 180 km suth of Riyadh city, 8.xi.2010, 23°25’N, 46°46’E, altitude 631 m.a.s.l. (Mostafa R. Sharaf) deposited in KSMA.

Etymology

The species is named in gratitude and honor of Barry Bolton.

References

  • Sharaf, M.R., Aldawood, S.A., and Taylor, B. 2011. The formicine ant genus Plagiolepis Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Arabian Peninsula, with description of two new species. Transactions of the American Entomological Society. 137:203-215. doi:10.3157/061.137.0113
  • Sharaf, M. R. , B. L. Fisher, H. M. Al Dhafer, A. Polaszek and A. S. Aldawood. 2018. Additions to the ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Oman: an updated list, new records and a description of two new species. Asian Myrmecology. 9:e010004; 1-38. doi:10.20362/am.010004