Pseudomyrmex apache

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Pseudomyrmex apache
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Pseudomyrmex
Species: P. apache
Binomial name
Pseudomyrmex apache
Creighton, 1953

Pseudomyrmex apache casent0102906 profile 1.jpg

Pseudomyrmex apache casent0102906 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Desert habitats, especially oak and mesquite areas. Pseudomyrmex apache nests in oak trees and large mesquites, usually in the largest and most inaccessible dead branches that have living tissue at the base. Most of the galleries galleries are constructed by wood boring beetles. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Identification

See the nomenclature section below.

In the southwestern United States, workers of this species are the larger of the two local species. Pseudomyrmex apache is usually being greater than 5 mm in total length. Pseudomyrmex pallidus is usually less than 4 mm in length. In addition to the characters in the key, this species often has several erect hairs on the pronoturn, and dorsum of the petiole and postpetiole, whereas P. pallidus usually has a single pair of hairs on the pronotum and postpetiole, and lacks hairs on the petiole. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Known from the southwestern USA (TX, NM, AZ and CA) and Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Ward (1985):

A denizen of xeric habitats, P. apache nests in sizable dead branches (1-12 cm diameter) of various trees (especially live oaks) and large woody shrubs, usually taking advantage of beetle-bored cavities. By state and country, nest-site records are as follows:

Texas: Prosopis glandulosa, Quercus grisea.

Arizona: Populus sp., Prosopis sp., Quercus arizonica, Q. emoryi. Q. grisea;. Q. oblongifolia, Q. turbinella.

California: Arctostaphylos manzanita, Fraxinus gall, Pinus attenuata cone, Quercus chrysolepis, Q. wislizenii, Umbellularia californica.

Mexico: Prosopis sp., Quercus emoryi, Q. fusiformis, Q. oblongifolia, Q. santaclarensis.

Of 13 nests which I have dissected (from Texas, Arizona and California), five contained no dealate females, six contained a single queen, one contained two functional (i.e. inseminated) queens, and one contained 6 dealate queens. Thus this species is at least occasionally polygynous and (judging from the queenless nests) polydomous. For two of the five queenless nests, queenright nests were located on the same tree or shrub.

I have seen two instances of lone foraging (presumably colony founding) dealate queens: one on the trunk of a Quercus arizonica tree in September (Arizona) and the other on an Arctostaphylos bush in February (northern California). The latter queen was dissected and found to be inseminated but possessing preoviposition ovaries (ovarioles short; corpora lutea absent). Alates of P. apache have been collected in March, April, and July to November, suggesting that mating may occur in more than one season.

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • apache. Pseudomyrmex apache Creighton, 1953b: 134, pl. 12, figs. 1-7 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1956: 380 (l.). See also: Creighton, 1954: 9; Ward, 1985b: 229.

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

Ward (1985) - Although I have placed P. apache in the pallidus group as a matter of convenience, it is a rather distinct species showing only superficial resemblance to other members of the group. It is the only species to possess such well separated frontal carinae, laterally rounded anterior clypeal margin, short eyes relative to scape length, and (in the male) ventrally pointed pygidium. P. apache workers also tend to be larger, more densely sculptured (hence less shiny), and more setose than those of other pallidus group species. Size alone (worker HW > 0.83 ) will separate P. apache from all species except Pseudomyrmex pallidus and Pseudomyrmex seminole. Apart from character differences outlined in the keys (of which eye size relative to scape length and shape of male terminalia are most distinctive) P. apache can usually be distinguished from P. pallidus and P. seminole by the presence of a pair of erect setae, one on either side of the median ocellus, in the worker. In P. apache workers these two setae are always present and usually as long as the ocellar distance (OD). In P. seminole and P. pallidus workers these setae are either absent or shorter than OD.

Description

Worker

Measurements (n = 3 5): HL 1.02-1.30, HW 0.83-1.04, MFC 0.033-0.066. CI 0.75-0.84, OI 0.58-0.65, REL 0.39-0.44, REL2 0.48-0.54, PPI 1.10-2.00, VI 0.74-0.84, FCI 0.034-0.070, SI 0.46-0.51, SI2 0.90-1.00 FI 0.38-0.44, PDI 0.87-1.19, MPI 0.007-0.044, NI 0.51-0.64, PLI 0.54-0.61, PWI 0.48-0.56, PPWI 1.02-1.19.

Diagnosis. Head broad: eyes short (EL subequal to SL); anterior clypeal margin laterally rounded; frontal carinae subcontiguous, MFC subequal to the basal width of scape; occipital margin flat to broadly convex, in full-face, dorsal view; pronotum with weak lateral margination; metanotal groove usually weak; petiole relatively short, broad, and high with a rather sharply inclined anterior face. Head opaque to sublucid, densely punctulate on a coriarious background; mesosoma and petiole subopaque, coriarious-imbricate; postpetiole and gaster opaque to sublucid, covered with numerous, fine piligerous punctures. Erect setae sparsely present on scape, head, pronotum, petiole, postpetiole, gaster, and legs (generally absent on mesonotum and propodeum); typically four pairs of erect setae on dorsum of head, and two or three pairs each on pronotum, petiole, and postpetiole. Fine, appressed pubescence scattered over body, including fourth abdominal tergite. Rich orange-brown, the head (and sometimes legs and gaster) a little darker.

Type Material

Ward (1985) - Nidoparatype workers, females, males, Brown Canyon. Baboquivari Mtns., Arizona. 4400 ft. 2.ix.1951, in Quercus oblongifolia 502 (W.S. Creighton) (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Museum of Comparative Zoology) (Examined).

References