Pseudomyrmex ultrix

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Pseudomyrmex ultrix
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Pseudomyrmex
Species: P. ultrix
Binomial name
Pseudomyrmex ultrix
Ward, 1999

Pseudomyrmex ultrix casent0902890 p 1 high.jpg

Pseudomyrmex ultrix casent0902890 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Only known from the type locality in Ecuador.

Identification

Ward (1999) - This species is easily recognized in the worker and queen castes by the very broad petiole such that worker PWI>1.00, worker PWI3 <0.43, queen PWI 0.92–0.99 and queen PWI3 0.40–0.42. The otherwise similar Triplaris-inhabiting species, Pseudomyrmex dendroicus, Pseudomyrmex mordax, Pseudomyrmex triplaridis and Pseudomyrmex triplarinus, have worker PWI <1.00, worker PWI3 0.42–0.59, queen PWI 0.63–0.86 and queen PWI3 0.48–0.62. The angular protuberance on the worker propodeum (at the junction of the dorsal and declivitous faces), the small size of the subpetiolar process, and the densely punctate head sculpture are also distinctive features of P. ultrix.

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Ecuador (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Mature and incipient colonies were found in the type locality, inhabiting Triplaris dugandii trees. Observations made at the time of collection provide evidence that P. ultrix queens compete with, and act as temporary social parasites of, Pseudomyrmex triplaridis queens during colony initiation. In a partially-cut Triplaris tree I found colony-founding, dealate queens of both species occupying internodes of new shoots, together with eggs and pseudococcids. For eight internodes the contents were individually tallied, with the following results. Four internodes housed single P. ultrix queens while the other four internodes contained (i) 7 P. triplaridis queens, (ii) 6 P. triplaridis queens and 1 P. ultrix queen, (iii) 5 P. triplaridis queens and 1 P. ultrix queen, and (iv) 1 P. ultrix queen, 9 P. ultrix workers (nanitics) and 1 P. triplaridis worker (also nanitic). This last nest also had larvae and worker pupae of unknown specific identity. In no case were multiple queens of P. ultrix found within a single internode. The data suggest the hypothesis that P. ultrix queens exploit a pleometrotic tendency in P. triplaridis by temporarily entering into associations with — and presumably mimicking — P. triplaridis queens, while excluding conspecific queens. It is worth noting that P. ultrix queens are considerably larger than those of P. triplaridis: HW 1.43–1.50 (n=6) compared with 1.07–1.25 (n=11) in P. triplaridis.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • ultrix. Pseudomyrmex ultrix Ward, 1999b: 509, figs. 6, 17, 28, 72, 78, 98 (w.q.m.) ECUADOR.

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

Description

Worker

Measurements (n=8). HL 1.09–1.34, HW 1.04–1.28, MFC 0.112–0.143, LHT 0.77–1.01, CI 0.95–0.97, REL 0.39–0.41, REL2 0.41–0.43, FCI 0.10–0.13, SI 0.44–0.47, FLI 1.55–2.20, FI 0.36–0.39, PLI 0.96–1.05, PWI 1.04–1.14, PPWI 1.55–1.89.

Similar to P. triplarinus except as follows. Median lobe of antennal sclerite better exposed, PFC/ASD 0.60–0.70. Legs shorter, LHT/HL 0.70–0.77. Junction of dorsal and declivitous faces of propodeum marked by slight angular protuberance, laterally on either side. Petiole short and high (PLI »1.00) with broad posterolateral expansion (PWI >1.00, PWI2 0.73–0.80, PWI3 0.38–0.42). Anteroventral petiolar process reduced in size, in the form of a small spine or tooth, directed ventrally. Sculpture on dorsum of head coarser, the punctures 0.010–0.020mm in diameter, and separated by about their diameters or less. Body pilosity common (MSC 47–75, HTC 10–16), with some standing hairs visible in outline on the posterior margin of the head (frontal view). Pubescence on head more conspicuous than in P. triplarinus, the hairs tending to be decumbent, giving the worker a scruffier appearance. Body dark brown, mandibles and anterior third of head a lighter orange-brown, tarsi yellow-brown.

Type Material

Holotype worker. ECUADOR, Napo: 13 km NNE Archidona, 0°48’S, 77°47’W, 960 m, 7.viii.1991, P. S. Ward# 11393 (Museum of Comparative Zoology). HW 1.19, HL 1.24, EL 0.50, LHT 0.90, PL 0.52, PH 0.52.

Paratypes. Same locality and date as holotype: series of workers, queens and males (to be deposited in The Natural History Museum, Instituto de Zoologia Agricola, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, MCZC,MECN, Museo de Historia Natural, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Philip S. Ward Collection, Museo de Zoologia, University of California, Davis, Museo de Historia Natural).

References

  • Ward, P. S. 1999b. Systematics, biogeography and host plant associations of the Pseudomyrmex viduus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Triplaris- and Tachigali-inhabiting ants. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 126: 451-540 (page 509, figs. 6, 17, 28, 72, 78, 98 worker, queen, male described)