Pristomyrmex boltoni

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Pristomyrmex boltoni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Pristomyrmex
Species: P. boltoni
Binomial name
Pristomyrmex boltoni
Wang, M., 2003

This species occurs in lowland forest and has been collected in litter samples.

Identification

Pristomyrmex boltoni is a sibling species of Pristomyrmex longus and Pristomyrmex coggii. The three species are all from New Guinea. Their workers possess very small eyes. Pristomyrmex boltoni differs from P. longus and P. coggii as follows: The dorsum of the petiole node in dorsal view is slightly broader than long or about as broad as long in the workers of P. boltoni, but long oval and distinctly longer than broad in P. longus. The dorsal surfaces of the head between the frontal carinae and the alitrunk are smooth in the workers of P. boltoni but are covered with numerous foveolate punctures in P. coggii. The workers of P. boltoni are also similar in appearance to those of Pristomyrmex levigatus, but they can be separated by the following characters: P. boltoni - Eyes smaller, with the maximum diameter 0.08, containing two to three ommatidia in the longest row. P. levigatus - Eyes larger, with the maximum diameter 0.12 to 0.16 (rarely 0.10), containing five to seven ommatidia in the longest row. (Wang 2003)

A member of the Levigatus species group

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea (type locality).

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Pristomyrmex boltoni for further details

Biology

The biology of most Pristomyrmex species is poorly known. From Wang (2003): Most species of Pristomyrmex dwell in the rainforest, foraging as predators or scavengers. An Asian species, Pristomyrmex punctatus, however, occurs in open and disturbed habitats (e.g., bare hills, agricultural areas, and beaches). These ants prefer to nest in soil, litter, or rotten wood; in rotten parts of living trees; in dead standing trees; or around plant roots.

Pristomyrmex is of great interest because it exhibits several unusual biological and evolutionary phenomena. The absence of morphologically normal queens and reproduction primarily by unmated workers in P. punctatus {=P. pungens) is a highly unusual life history in the Formicidae. Ergatoid queens, a special wingless female caste morphologically intermediate between the queen and the worker, are present in at least four species: Pristomyrmex punctatus, Pristomyrmex africanus, Pristomyrmex wheeleri, and Pristomyrmex mandibularis; two of them (P. africanus and P. wheeleri) possess both queen and ergatoid queen castes.

Simulating death, slowness of movement, and nocturnal foraging has been recorded in Pristomyrmex (Donisthorpe, 1946; Taylor, 1965; Weber, 1941). Colony size varies greatly among species, ranging from about a dozen to several thousand workers (Donisthorpe, 1946; Itow et al, 1984; Mann, 1919; Taylor, 1965, 1968).

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • boltoni. Pristomyrmex boltoni Wang, M. 2003: 492, figs. 203-204 (w.) NEW GUINEA.

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 2.48, HL 0.66, HW 0.66, CI 100, SL 0.52, SI 79, EL 0.08, PW 0.42, AL 0.62, PPW 0.18, PPL 0.16, PPI 113. Paratypes, two workers. TL 2.40, 2.40; HL 0.65, 0.66; HW 0.66, 0.66; CI 100, 102; SL 0.55, 0.55; SI 83, 83; EL 0.08, 0.08; PW 0.44, 0.44; AL 0.60,0.61; PPW 0.18, 0.18; PPL 0.16, 0.16; PPI 113, 113 (n. = 2).

Mandibles smooth and shining but with few longitudinal rugae in the paratypes. A broad-based short tooth present about midway on the basal margin of the mandible. Frontal area concave with a median carina. Clypeus flat, unsculptured, smooth, and shining, its anterior margin with two lateral teeth, but in the two paratypes, an additional weak median tooth present. Frontal carinae distinct, extending to the level of the posterior margins of eyes. Scrobal impressions shallow, present lateral to the frontal carinae in full-face view. Frontal lobes weak so that the antennal articulations are almost entirely exosed. Antennal scapes, when lying on the head, close to the occipital margin. Eyes very small, with two to three ommatidia in the longest row. Pronotum unarmed. Propodeum with a pair of triangular teeth. Metapleural lobes rounded. Petiole node in profile high with the anterodorsal angle higher than the posterodorsal, its anterior peduncle about as long as the node. Postpetiole in profile higher than long with a rounded dorsum. In dorsal view, petiole node subrounded, about as broad as long; postpetiole broader than long. Dorsum of head between the frontal carinae smooth and shining but with some foveolate punctures present around the eyes. Dorsum of alitrunk smooth and shining. Petiole and postpetiole smooth and shining. Gaster unsculptured. Dorsal surfaces of head and alitrunk with numerous erect or suberect hairs. Two pairs of hairs present on the dorsum of petiole node, three pairs on the dorsum of postpetiole, and a few on the base of the first gastral tergite. A few pairs of forward-projecting hairs present near the anterior clypeal margin. Scapes and tibiae with some erect or suberect short hairs. Color reddish-brown.

Type Material

Holotype Worker. Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. New Guinea: Gulf Prov., lvimka Camp, Lakekamu Basin, 7.73°S, 146.76°E, 120 m, #96-235, lowland wet forest, ex sifted leaf litter, 28.x.1996 (R. R. Snelling). Paratypes. LACM, Museum of Comparative Zoology.Two workers, New Guinea: Gulf Prov., lvimka Camp, Lakekamu Basin, 7.7°S, 146.8°E, 140 m elevation, #96-280, lowland wet forest, ex sifted leaf litter, 6.xi.1996 (R. R. Snelling).

References