Pristomyrmex wilsoni

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Pristomyrmex wilsoni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Pristomyrmex
Species: P. wilsoni
Binomial name
Pristomyrmex wilsoni
Taylor, 1968

Pristomyrmex wilsoni casent0217914 p 1 high.jpg

Pristomyrmex wilsoni casent0217914 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Taylor (1968) reports that this species occurs in rainforest; it has been collected at an elevation of about 915 m in little berlesates and on the surfaces of rocks and logs. “Collections were made on two overcast days but not on a third, which was brightly sunny. Strays were not seen during several hours night collecting (to about four hours after sunset) at the same locality”.

Identification

A member of the quadridens species group.

Wang (2003) - Worker. Pronotal spines and propodeal spines exceptionally long (ca. 0.66-0.88). Pristomyrmex wilsoni occurs only in North Queensland, Australia. It is a unique species in the genus that possesses both exceptionally long pronotal and propodeal spines and thus can be immediately recognized.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

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.

  • wilsoni. Pristomyrmex wilsoni Taylor, 1968c: 63, figs. 1, 2 (w.) AUSTRALIA. See also: Wang, M. 2003: 481.

Type Material

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

Description

Worker

Wang (2003) - TL 4.14-4.92, HL 0.96-1.11, HW 0.96-1.12, CI 96-104, SL 1.21-1.46, SI 125-133, EL 0.19-0.22, PW 0.65-0.76, AL 1.14-1.30, PPW 0.28-0.32, PPL 0.30-0.32, PPI 93-100 (n = 13).

Mandibles usually smooth and shining but sometimes with one to two longitudinal rugae. Masticatory margin of mandible with three teeth arranged as an apical + a pre apical + a long diastema + a broad, truncated basal tooth. Basal margin of mandible lacking a distinctly curved lobe or tooth. Clypeus usually with a median longitudinal carina, but sometimes this median carina is interrupted or indistinct. Anterior clypeal margin with a median denticle and two others on each side, but sometimes two lateral denticles are fused into one prominence. Ventral surface of clypeus with a short transverse carina. Palp formula 2,3. Frontal carinae short, not beyond, or just reaching to the level of the posterior margins of eyes; sometimes frontal carinae absent. Antennal scrobes absent. Frontal lobes absent; thus, the antennal articulations are entirely exposed. Antennal scapes long, when laid on the dorsal head, surpassing the occipital margin by about one-third of their length. Eyes containing 10 to 11 ommatidia in the longest row. Pronotal spines exceptionally long (ca. 0.66-0.88), curved at their apices, diverging toward the outsides in dorsal view. Propodeal spines exceptionally long (ca. 0.66-0.82); in dorsal view, they are somewhat joined together at the base but are divergent posteriorly, Metapleural lobes small-triangular, each with an apex. Petiole with a fairly long anterior peduncle. Petiole node and postpetiole in profile higher than long, in dorsal view each with a somewhat conical apex. Postpetiole in dorsal view usually longer than broad, broadening from front to back. Dorsum of head usually smooth and shining, except for a few foveolate punctures present on the genae and sometimes bordering the frontal carinae. Dorsum of alitrunk unsculptured and highly polished. Petiole, postpetiole, and gaster smooth and shining. Dorsal surfaces of head and alitrunk with numerous erect or suberect long hairs. A pair of similar long hairs bilaterally distributed on the dorsum of petiole node and on the postpetiole, respectively. First gastral tergite lacking erect or suberect hairs. A few pairs of forward-projecting hairs present near the anterior clypeal margin. Scapes and tibiae with some erect to suberect short hairs. Color reddish-brown to blackish-brown.

References

  • Taylor, R. W. 1968d. A supplement to the revision of Australian Pristomyrmex species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. Entomol. Soc. 7: 63-66 (page 63, figs. 1, 2 worker described)
  • Wang, M. 2003. A Monographic Revision of the Ant Genus Pristomyrmex (Hymenoptera:Formicidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 157(6): 383-542 (page 481, figs. 193-194 worker described)