Rasopone

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Rasopone
Rasopone ferruginea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Ponera genus group
Genus: Rasopone
Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014
Type species
Ponera ferruginea, now Rasopone ferruginea
Diversity
11 species
(Species Checklist)

Pachycondyla ferruginea casent0249143 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla ferruginea casent0249143 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Rasopone is small genus of Central and South America ants known from 11 species. They are found in a wide range of habitats but are most common in rainforests where they forage in leaf litter and rotten wood.

Identification

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Workers of Rasopone lack obvious autapomorphies and are superficially similar to those of a number of other genera, including Austroponera, Hypoponera, Neoponera and Pseudoponera. Separation from these and other genera of the Ponerinae is based on the following set of characters: eyes present, mandibles relatively long, mandibular pit or groove absent, mesosomal profile nearly continuous, the metanotal groove shallow or absent, metapleural gland orifice without a posterior U-shaped cuticular lip, propodeal spiracle round or ovoid, mesotibiae dorsally without abundant stout traction setae, ventral apex of the metatibia with both a large pectinate spur and a smaller simple spur, fenestra absent from the petiolar process, prora present on anterior margin of first gastral sternite, and stridulatory organ absent from A4 pretergite. While similar overall, Rasopone and Neoponera belong to different genus groups and can be separated by the configuration of the metapleural gland opening. Hypoponera, while also somewhat similar, has only a single metatibial spur while two are present in Rasopone. Separation from Pseudoponera is based on the lack of a basal mandibular pit or groove and the presence of a round or ovoid propodeal spiracle. And the Australian and New Zealand genus Austroponera differs in possessing a stridulatory organ on A4 and in having a differently configured clypeus.

Keys including this Genus

Distribution

Rasopone is restricted to Central and South America.

World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Rasopone Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Rasopone Species Richness.png

Biology

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - While these ants are most abundant in forested habitats, they occur in a wide range of habitats, including open disturbed grassy areas, cacao and coffee plantations, mixed dry oak forest, upper montane oak forest, rocky tropical canyons, second growth rainforest, tropical montane evergreen forest, wet montane forest, primary rainforest, and cloud forest (Mackay & Mackay, 2010). Rasopone ferruginea has been collected in caves near the entrances (Reddell & Cokendolpher, 2001). Workers forage in leaf litter and rotten wood and have been collected in subterranean traps baited with Vienna sausage; they are known to be attracted to carrion (Mackay & Mackay, 2010). Most species nest in soil with some also nesting in rotten wood. Baena (1993) reported a specimen of Rasopone conicula (listed as P. pergandei) collected in a rotten log, and the type series of Rasopone cernua was found in a log, suggesting that logs may be the normal nesting site for these species. Most flights of Rasopone arhuaca occur in the middle of the summer (Kaspari et al., 2001).

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • RASAPONE [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Rasopone Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 208. Type-species: Ponera ferruginea, by original designation.

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

Description

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014):

Worker

Medium- to large-sized (TL 4–12 mm) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini.

Mandibles triangular, with roughly seven to twelve teeth, often variable size, and without a basal pit or groove. Anterior margin of clypeus variable, broadly convex or centrally concave, sometimes with a medially tooth. Frontal lobes moderately large and closely approximated. Eyes small to moderately large, located far anterior on sides of head. Mesopleuron generally entire but sometimes divided by a weak transverse impression. Metanotal groove reduced to a suture or shallow angle. Propodeum not narrowing dorsally. Metapleural gland orifice without a posterior U-shaped cuticular lip. Propodeal spiracles round or ovoid. Metatibial spur formula (1s, 1p). Petiole squamiform. Gaster with a girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4. Head and body finely punctate, sometimes with light striations on the sides of the mesosoma, and with sparse to abundant pilosity and often dense pubescence. Color variable, ferrugineous to dark brown-black.

Queen

Similar to worker but slightly larger, alate, with ocelli and larger compound eyes, and with the modifications of the thoracic sclerites that are typical of alate ponerine queens.

Male

See descriptions by Mackay & Mackay (2010) for several of the species placed here.

Larva

Described for Rasopone ferruginea (Wheeler & Wheeler, 1976) and Rasopone pergandei (Wheeler & Wheeler, 1974).

Etymology

Rasopone is based on the geographic region of the New World where these ants occur (from the Ancient Egyptian rsw, south wind) combined with the suffix -pone, derived from the subfamily name Ponerinae.

References

  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa. 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1)