Pseudomyrmex perboscii

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Pseudomyrmex perboscii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Pseudomyrmex
Species: P. perboscii
Binomial name
Pseudomyrmex perboscii
(Guérin-Méneville, 1844)

Pseudomyrmex perboscii jtlc000013790 profile 1.jpg

Pseudomyrmex perboscii jtlc000013790 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Synonyms

Identification

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico (type locality), Peru, Trinidad and Tobago.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

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Biology

In northern Colombia and Venezuela I collected colonies of this species in live terminal branches of saman (Pithecellobium saman) trees. The ants occupied numerous unconnected cavities, 5-20 mm long (2-4 mm internal diameter) in which they kept brood and tended coccids. The cavities appeared to be intrinsic to the plant since unoccupied cavities, without entrance holes, could be found. Although the workers patrolled the foliage and would sting if molested, they were much less aggressive than the Pseudomyrmex ants inhabiting Tachigali, Triplaris, or swollen-thorn acacias. Thus the association may represent an early (or arrested?) phase in the development of an ant-plant mutualism. (Ward 1989)

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • perboscii. Myrmex perboscii Guérin-Méneville, 1844a: 428 (q.) MEXICO. Forel, 1899c: 86 (w.). Combination in Pseudomyrma: Smith, F. 1858b: 156; in Pseudomyrmex: Kempf, 1972a: 222. Senior synonym of icterica, simoides, testacea: Ward, 1989: 442.
  • testacea. Tetraponera testacea Smith, F. 1852: 45 (footnote) (w.) SOUTH AMERICA. Smith, F. 1855c: 168 (w.). Combination in Pseudomyrma: Smith, F. 1855c: 168; in Pseudomyrmex: Kempf, 1961a: 400. Junior synonym of perboscii: Ward, 1989: 442.
  • simoides. Pseudomyrma simoides Forel, 1911e: 281 (w.) BRAZIL. Combination in Pseudomyrmex: Kempf, 1961a: 399. Junior synonym of perboscii: Ward, 1989: 442.
  • icterica. Pseudomyrma icterica Wheeler, W.M. 1922c: 4 (w.) TRINIDAD. Combination in Pseudomyrmex: Kempf, 1961a: 399. Junior synonym of perboscii: Ward, 1989: 442.


Ward (1989) - This medium-sized species (worker HW 1.09-1.44, n=15) has a truncate median clypeal lobe, which is sharply rounded laterally; relatively well-separated frontal carinae (MFC subequal to distal scape width) and conspicuously protruding median lobes of the antennal sclerites; a deeply incised metanotal groove (in the worker); and a somewhat shiny, orange- to testaceous-brown, integument, the gaster sometimes darker in color. The head and mesosoma have fine, puncticulate sculpture, the punctulae varying in density, as do the minute, piligerous punctures (and associated appressed pubescence) on the postpetiole and gaster. Standing pilosity is fine and rather sparse (lacking on outer faces of the tibiae and on the worker mesonotum).

Having examined the types of P. testaceus, P. simoides, and P. ictericus, I feel fairly confident about the specific identity of these three. Moreover, they appear to be conspecific with the "Pseudomyrma perbosci" worker described by Forel (1899) from Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the type of P. perboscii could not be located, but the original description, while scanty, contains enough information to justify the above synonymy. Among the features mentioned by Guerin, the combination of the elongate, subrectangular head (nearly twice as long as wide), globose postpetiole, fawn-yellow body with dark gaster, finely shagreened to shiny appearance, and large size (9.5mm long), fits the queen of no other species known to me.

Description

Type Material

Holotype queen, Baie de Campeche, Mexico (Perbosc) (not in Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa, Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle, or Zoologische Staatssammlung, Munich) [Not examined].

Tetraponera testaeea Holotype dealate queen, [Rio] Napo, Peru (The Natural History Museum) [Examined].

Pseudomyrma simoides Syntype worker, Amazonas, Brazil (Bates) (Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève) [Examined].

Pseudomyrma ieterica Holotype worker, Port of Spain, Trinidad (A. Busck) (Museum of Comparative Zoology) [Examined].

References

  • Forel, A. 1899f. Formicidae. [part]. Biol. Cent.-Am. Hym. 3: 81-104 (page 86, worker described)
  • Guérin-Méneville, F. E. 1844a. Iconographie du règne animal de G. Cuvier, ou représentation d'après nature de l'une des espèces les plus remarquables, et souvent non encore figurées, de chaque genre d'animaux. Insectes. Paris: J. B. Baillière, 576 pp. (page 428, queen described)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 222, Combination in Pseudomyrmex)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 156, Combination in Pseudomyrma)
  • Ward, P. S. 1989a. Systematic studies on pseudomyrmecine ants: revision of the Pseudomyrmex oculatus and P. subtilissimus species groups, with taxonomic comments on other species. Quaest. Entomol. 25: 393-468 (page 442, Senior synonym of icterica, simoides and testacea)