Rhopalothrix apertor

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Rhopalothrix apertor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Rhopalothrix
Species: R. apertor
Binomial name
Rhopalothrix apertor
Longino & Boudinot, 2013

Rhopalothrix apertor casent0629589 p 1 high.jpg

Rhopalothrix apertor casent0629589 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species occurs in lowland rainforest, from 150–500m elevation. All specimens are from Winkler samples of sifted leaf litter. It is rare: it occurred in three of 208 Project ALAS Berlese samples, and three of over 1500 TEAM project miniWinkler samples. (Longino and Boudinot 2013)

Identification

Masticatory margin of mandible dominated by a single, blunt, peg-like tooth; tooth at base of subapical tooth, instead of being the small reclinate denticle typical of other species, is a distinct recurved tooth, directed posteriorly; first gastral tergite largely devoid of setae, with one pair of squamiform setae at posterolateral margins; first gastral sternite with pronounced median keel, this keel weak to absent in other species. (Longino and Boudinot 2013)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Longino and and Boudinot (2013) - Knowledge of the biology of the Rhopalothrix isthmica clade of Rhopalothrix is conjectural; a nest has never been recovered and a live specimen never seen. What we know is based on locations and frequencies of capture using various mass-sampling methods. Specimens are known from wet to moderately seasonal forest, from sea level to 2140 m elevation. At higher elevation, they are found in diverse mesophyll forest and in forests with various combinations of Liquidambar and montane oak. In Costa Rica, they are restricted to the wet forests of the Atlantic slope, to 1500 m on the Barva Transect in the Cordillera Volcánica Central and to 800 m in the Cordillera de Tilarán. The genus is unknown from the Monteverde cloud forest at 1500 m, the lowland wet forests of the Osa Peninsula, and the lowland tropical dry forests of Guanacaste, in spite of intensive collecting efforts in these areas. Further north in Central America they can occur at higher elevations.

In quantitative sampling at La Selva Biological Station, in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica, occurrences were relatively more frequent in soil/litter cores than in samples of sifted litter from the soil surface. This suggests that nests are subterranean, with workers only occasionally venturing up into the litter layer. Dealate queens are known for a few species, occurring occasionally in Winkler or Berlese samples. Alate queens of one La Selva species were found in canopy fogging samples, one each in two separate fogging events. Oddly, alate queens have not been found in the many Malaise samples from La Selva. Males remain unknown.

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • apertor. Rhopalothrix apertor Longino & Boudinot, 2013: 309, figs. 1F, 2B, 3A, 6, 16 (w.) COSTA RICA.

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

Workers of this species fall into two distinct size classes. Five specimens have HW 0.54–0.58. Four of these are from La Selva Biological Station (50–150 m elevation), all from different samples, and one is from a 500 m elevation site on the Barva Transect above La Selva. A series of three specimens from one miniWinkler sample (and thus probably from the same colony) have HW 0.74, longer and relatively thinner mesotibiae, and a more robust flattened mandibular base. These are from immediately adjacent to La Selva, at 160 m elevation. There is the potential that they are two cryptic species. The holotype and paratype were chosen from the one series of larger workers.

Description

Worker

HW 0.54–0.74 (n=6); masticatory margin of mandible with single large blunt, in some almost capitate, tooth at about mid-length, a tiny denticle proximad, base of subapical tooth with prominent recurved acute tooth, directed posteriorly, subapical tooth shorter than width of mandible at base, about twice as long as apical tooth, only one intercalary tooth present, outer margin of mandible broadly flattened at base; labrum about as long as broad, with two long, bluntly rounded anterior lobes, sinus between them deep, length of anterolateral lobe longer than or about equal to distance from base of sinus to transverse carina at base of labrum; arcuate promesonotal groove and metanotal groove strongly impressed; propodeal tooth small, at about midlength of posterior face of propodeum, infradental lamella very narrow; first gastral tergite largely devoid of setae, with one pair of squamiform setae at posterolateral margins; first gastral sternite with pronounced median keel.

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype, worker: Costa Rica, Heredia: 7 km SW Pto Viejo, 10.40389 -84.03944 ±500 m, 160 m, 4 Mar 2005, mature wet forest, ex sifted leaf litter (TEAM#AMI-2-W-033-01) California Academy of Sciences, unique specimen identifier CASENT0629589. Paratypes (workers): same data as holotype National Museum of Natural History, CASENT0629588; Museum of Comparative Zoology, INB0003667720.

Etymology

The mandible looks like a bottle opener.

References

  • Longino J. T. and Boudinot B. E. 2013. New species of Central American Rhopalothrix Mayr, 1870 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa. 3616:301-324. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3616.4.1