Proceratium snellingi

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

Nothing is known about the biology of Proceratium snellingi.

Identification

A member of the silaceum clade. Proceratium snellingi is a relatively small species. It shares with Proceratium angulinode, Proceratium striativentre, Proceratium banjaranense, Proceratium dusun and Proceratium papuanum the hind basitarsi with at least one hair longer than 1/2 of the hind basitarsi. Among these five species, snellingi resembles particularly papuanum, but snellingi differs from it, in the worker, by its small size coupled with a broad head (TL ≤ 2.29 mm and CI ≥ 100), a more sculptured body and a narrower frontal carinae. (Baroni Urbani and de Andrade 2003)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Papua New Guinea

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 Proceratium snellingi for further details

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.

  • snellingi. Proceratium snellingi Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 388, fig. 150 (w.q.) 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

Head as broad as long and with the sides gently diverging posteriorly. Vertex in full face view gently convex. Clypeus reduced and about as long as 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 broad, little raised, diverging on the two anterior fourths, converging on the third fourth, subparallel and carinate on the last fourth only. Frontal area gently concave on the three anterior fourths 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 visible as a dark dot below the integument, small and on the middle of the head sides. First funicular joint slightly broader than long. Funicular joints 2-10 broader than long. Last funicular joint 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 7-8 denticles before the pointed apical tooth. Palp formula 2,2.

Mesosoma convex and shorter than 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. Sides between the basal and declivous faces of the propodeum weakly angulate. Sides of the declivous face superficially marginate. Propodeal spiracle round and above mid height in lateral view.

Petiole subrectatlgular and slightly flattened. Anterior border of the petiole straight and anterolaterally weakly carinate. Ventral process of the petiole large, stout, subtriangular and pointed backwards. Postpetiole in dorsal view with gently convex sides. Postpetiolar sternite anteromedially with a marked subtriangular projection, gently convex posteriorly in side view. Constriction between postpetiole and gaster impressed. Gastral tergite I about 1/3 longer than the postpetiole and convex on the curvature. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites curved ventrally.

Legs short. All tibiae incrassate and with a pectinate spur. Spurs of fore legs without basal spine. Fore basitarsi longer than the mid ones. Hind basitarsi about 1/3 shorter than hind tibiae. Second tarsomere of hind legs shorter than pretarsus. Pretarsal claws simple. Arolia absent.

Sculpture. Head and mesosoina minutely reticulorugose. Petiole and postpetiole sparsely punctate. Gaster smooth and with minute piligerous punctures, denser on the sides. Legs minutely punctate. Body covered by hairs of three types: (1) short, dense, suberect or subdecumbent on the whole body, sparse on the funicular joints; (2) longer than type (1), erect on the whole body and absent on the antennae; (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, and the scapes with sparse hairs similar to type (2) but slightly shorter.

Colour. Dark ferrugineous-brown with the posterior half of the head and the dorsum of the mesosorna darker. Antennae and legs lighter.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 2.25-2.29; NL 0.54; HW 0.54-0.55; EL 0.03-0.04; SL 0.35; WL 0.60-0.64; PeL 0.14-0.15; PeW 0.25; HFeL 0.3-0.37; HTiL 0.30-0.31; HBaL 0.20; LS4 0.22-0.23; LT4 0.48; CI 100.0-101.8; SI 64.8; IGR 0.46-0.48.

Queen

Differing from the worker in the following details: eyes large, about 1/3 of the head length, composed by many facets and with ocular pilosity. Ocelli well developed.

Mesosoma longer than the head (mandibles included), robust and convex in side view. Parapsidal furrows marked. Scutellum with the sides converging posteriorly and with the posterior border round. Dorsum of the scutellum with a thick longitudinal ruga prolonging up to the posterior half of the mesonotum. Metanotum with a small lamellaceous tooth. Basal face of the propodeum medially concave. Area between the basal and declivous faces of the propodeum superficially carinate and angulate on each side.

Sculpture: anterior half of the mesonotum punctate only. Scutellum reticulorugose. Punctation on the petiole, postpetiole and gaster more marked.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 2.96-3.05; HL 0.63; HW 0.63; EL 0.19-0.20; SL 0.40-0.41; WL 0.90-0.92; PeL 0.19-0.20; PeW 0.33-0.34; HFeL 0.48-0.50; HTiL 0.38-0.40; HBaL 0.27-0.29; LS4 0.29-0.33; LT4 0.63-0.69; CI 100.0; SI 63.5-65.1; IGR 0.46-0.48.

Type Material

Holotype worker from Papua New Guinea labeled: "PNG. Gulf Prov.: Ivimka camp. Lakekamu Basin, 7.7°S 146.8°E 120 m el., 12 Nov. 1996, R. R. Snelling #96-316, Lowland wet forest: ex sifted leaf litter"; 1 paratype worker same data as the holotype, both in Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

Etymology

This species is named after Roy R. Snelling who collected it and loaned us these and many other important specimens in study.

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. (page 388, fig. 150 worker, queen described)