| Prionopelta xerosilva|
Overson & Fisher, 2015
P. xerosilva is known only from tropical dry forests in the province of Mahajanga in western-central Madagascar. It has only been collected from forest litter and ranges between 50–300 meters of elevation. (Overson and Fisher 2015)
Overson and Fisher (2015) - P. xerosilva is identifiable from the following combination of characters: cephalic foveae consistently and widely separated by 1–3 foveal diameters, with foveae directly adjacent only extremely rarely, including at the posterolateral corners of the head; metanotal suture strongly visible in dorsal view.
With its uniformly and widely spaced cephalic foveae, P. xerosilva could only be confused with Prionopelta vampira. However, the latter lacks a metanotal suture and possesses a very long apical tooth, a strongly concave posterior edge of the propodeum in dorsal view, and lamellae protruding from the posterior propodeum, all of which P. xerosilva lacks.
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The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- xerosilva. Prionopelta xerosilva Overson & Fisher, 2015: 146, figs. 1A, 2B, D, 12 (w.) MADAGASCAR.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
(N=6). HL 0.43–0.46 (0.45); HW 0.34–0.36 (0.35); SL 0.23–0.25 (0.24); WL 0.45–0.5 (0.48); PetL 0.14–0.15 (0.15); PetW 0.19–0.21 (0.2); T1W 0.31–0.33 (0.32); CI 74.35–81.82 (77.85); PI 126.8–148.18 (138.76); SI 65.51–71.88 (69.77).
Cephalic foveae shallow, large, and most widely spaced of the Malagasy Prionopelta; directly adjacent cephalic foveae either completely lacking, or very rare; if any foveae are adjacent, then always with only 2–3 foveae connected, and these usually located medially on the head in full-face view; majority of cephalic foveae are separated by 1–3 foveal diameters, appear cleanly scooped from shining integument, and lack any raised margins at their perimeter; median cephalic band devoid of foveae is wide along its length, not tapering posteriorly; coronal suture absent medially on the head; apical tooth intermediate in length, never more than 4 times as long as the third tooth from base to tip; very weak, shallow, foveae present on the pronotum which are noticeably less dense than those of other Malagasy Prionopelta; foveae of the dorsum of the mesosoma interspersed with punctures; pronounced metanotal suture visible in dorsal view, mesopropodeal suture weaker but present; posterior edge of the propodeum straight or only very slightly concave in dorsal view; protruding lamellae of the posterior propodeum absent.
Holotype, pinned worker, MADAGASCAR, Mahajanga, Réserve Forestière Beanka, 50.7 km E Maintirano, 17.88021°S, 44.46877°E, 140 m, tropical dry forest on tsingy, sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), BLF22999, 29.x.2009 (B.L. Fisher et al.) (California Academy of Sciences: CASENT0157254). Paratypes, six pinned workers with same data as holotype (CASC: CASENT0157257; CASENT0157258; CASENT0157260; CASENT0157262; CASENT0157701, CASENT0157702).
The name of this new species is a combination of the Greek adjective “xero” meaning dry and the Latin noun “silva” for forest, as this species is known only from tropical dry forests in western Madagascar.