Proceratium hirsutum

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Proceratium hirsutum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Proceratiinae
Tribe: Proceratiini
Genus: Proceratium
Species: P. hirsutum
Binomial name
Proceratium hirsutum
De Andrade, 2003

Proceratium hirsutum casent0172115 profile 1.jpg

Proceratium hirsutum casent0172115 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

The type material was collected in a rainforest.

Identification

A Proceratium species belonging to the silaceum clade and differing from all the species of this clade by the following combination of worker characters: body with very long hairs, area between basal and declivous propodeal faces subangulate, frontal carinae far from each other, petiolar node thick, and SI ≥ 74.

Proceratium hirsutum, with a ST ≥ 74, exhibits the second highest SI value within the silaceum clade, surpassed only by Proceratium relictum (SI 77.7). hirsutum differs from relictum mainly in the shape of the petiole, dorsally convex instead of flattened, but it shares with relictum the hind basitarsi only slightly shorter than hind tibiae. hirsutum shares with Proceratium banjaranense the abundant long hairs, but it differs from banjaranense by the more superficial sculpture, larger frontal carinae and longer scapes. hirsutum, moreover, shares with gigas the broad, diverging frontal carinae, but hirsutum has denser and longer hairs and a more superficial integumental sculpture. (Baroni Urbani and de Andrade 2003)

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

Very little is known about the biology of Proceratium ants. They nest in soil, rotten wood, under deep-set stones and, in a few cases, tree branches. For many species the nest consists of small rounded chambers hollowed out of soft rotten wood or in the soil. Toward the cooler limits of the range, particularly in North America, nests and foraging workers are found under deep set rocks instead of in rotten wood. The nest site is usually in forest shade, in old moist gardens, or similar habitats that are constantly moist. Some species of known to be egg predators of arthropods, especially of spiders.

Most Proceratium are relatively rare but this is not the full explanation for why they are not commonly collected. Colonies of most species are small. Based on anectdotal natural history information from a few species, it was once thought that most Proceratium would likely be found to have mature colonies that contain somewhere between 10 - 50 workers. Yet nests with more than 50, and in some cases up to 200, workers have been been reported. Besides small colonies, these ants also do not appear to forage in places where they are readily encountered.

Males and females are though to be produced in small numbers but we generally do not have enough data for colonies of any species to know what might be typical. Reproductive flights have been observered toward the end of the summer in some northern temperate areas. In these regions the nuptial flight occurs during the last half of August. Both sexes climb some distance from the nest entrance before taking flight. Workers too issue from the nest during the nuptial flight, as is often the case with otherwise cryptobiotic ants.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • hirsutum. Proceratium hirsutum De Andrade, in Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 338, fig. 135 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

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

Head slightly longer than broad and with the sides gently diverging backwards. Vertex in full face view convex. Clypeus reduced and slightly longer than the antennal sockets. Anterior border of the clypeus truncate. Frontal carinae far from each other, not covering the antennal insertions. Lateral expansions of the frontal carinae very broad, little raised, diverging on the two anterior fourths, converging on the third fourth, slightly diverging and carinate only on the last fourth. Frontal area gently concave in the middle and with a central, thick, longitudinal carina starting from the last fourth and prolonging posteriorly. Head anterolaterally with a short, thin, longitudinal carina. Genal carinae marked, each carina corresponding to the external border of a sulcus. Eyes represented by a minute, dark dot below the integument and on the middle of the head sides. First funicular joint about 1/3 longer than broad. Funicular joints 2-10 slightly broader than long. Last funicular joint about as long as the sum of joints 6-10. Scapes short of the vertexal margin and gently thickening apically. Masticatory margin of the mandibles with 6 denticles before the pointed apical tooth. Palp formula 2,2.

Mesosoma convex and about as long as the maximum head length (mandibles included) in profile. Pronotal and propodeal sutures absent. Basal face of the propodeum declivous posteriorly. Declivous face of the propodeum gently sloping posteriorly. Area between basal and declivous faces of the propodeum weakly concave medially and subangulate on each side. Sides of the declivous face superficially carinate. Propodeal spiracle round and above mid height in lateral view.

Petiole subrectangular and narrow, its anterior border straight and anterolaterally narrowly carinate. Ventral process of the petiole triangular. Postpetiole in dorsal view with convex sides. Postpetiolar sternite anteromedially with a marked transversal carina interrupted medially, gently convex posteriorly in side view. Constriction between postpetiole and gaster impressed. Gastral tergite I about 2/5 longer than the postpetiole and convex on the curvature. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites curved ventrally.

Legs slightly elongate. All tibiae with a pectinate spur. Spurs of fore legs without basal spine. Fore basitarsi longer than the mid ones. Hind basitarsi about 1/8 or 1/9 shorter than hind tibiae. Second tarsomere of hind legs about as long as the pretarsus. Pretarsal claws simple. Arolia absent.

Sculpture. Head minutely rugosopunctate. Sides of the head with additional, small reticulation. Mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole with minute punctation-granulation. Gaster and legs with minute piligerous punctures. Body covered by hairs of three main types: (1) short, dense, subdecumbent on the whole body, suberect and sparse on the funicular joints; (2) long, erect or suberect on the whole body, slightly shorter on the antennal scapes, absent on the funiculi; (3) shorter than hair type (1), dense and decumbent on the funicular joints only. In addition the funicular joints bear whitish, thick, appressed, sparse hairs.

Colour. Yellow-light brown.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 3.35-3.62; HL 0.75-0.81; HW 0.69-0.76; EL -0.05; SL 0.56-0.60; WL 0.96-1.06; PeL 0.25-0.27; PeW 0.35-0.37; HFeL 0.62-0.68; HTiL 0.49-0.54; HBaL 0.43-0.49; LS4 0.36-0.39; LT4 0.74-0.78; CI 92.0-93.8; SI 74.1-74.7; IGR 0.48-0.50.

Etymology

From the Latin hirsutus (= hairy) referred to the dense, long hairs of this species.

References

  • Baroni Urbani, C., de Andrade, M.L. 2003. The ant genus Proceratium in the extant and fossil record (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Monografie, 36, 1–492.