Rhopalothrix atitlanica

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

Rhopalothrix atitlanica casent0611854 p 1 high.jpg

Rhopalothrix atitlanica casent0611854 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species occurs in cloud forest, from 1050–1400m elevation. It is known only from the slopes of Volcán Atitlán, where it is sympatric with Rhopalothrix isthmica. At the type locality it seemed to occur just below the zone of high abundance of R. isthmica, at the lower edge of the cloud forest and at the transition to extensive coffee plantations at lower elevations. The six known specimens are from Winkler samples of sifted leaf litter. (Longino and Boudinot 2013)

Identification

Anterior labral lobe bilobed or bidentate on each side of medial notch, with lateral lobule longer than medial lobule; masticatory margin of mandible with two teeth; squamiform setae of first gastral tergite abundant, short, 2 × longer than wide; HW 0.49–0.51. (Longino and Boudinot 2013)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Guatemala (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

Only known from the worker caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • atitlanica. Rhopalothrix atitlanica Longino & Boudinot, 2013: 310, figs. 1B, 2B, 3E, 7, 16 (w.) GUATEMALA.

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

Description

Worker

HW 0.49–0.51 (n=3); mandible with two teeth on masticatory margin, second tooth from base largest; subapical tooth with minute reclinate denticle at base; subapical tooth about twice as long as apical tooth; intercalary teeth distinct, one closest to apical tooth about half as long as apical tooth; labrum trapezoidal, anterior margin bilobed or bidentate on each side of medial notch, lateral lobule triangular, longer than medial lobule, medial lobules rounded, flanking semicircular median notch; arcuate promesonotal groove and metanotal groove moderately impressed; propodeal tooth right angled, infradental lamella evenly and shallowly concave; squamiform setae abundant on first gastral tergite, uniformly covering entire tergite; gastral setae relatively short, 2 × longer than wide, tapering evenly from apex to base.

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype, worker: Guatemala, Suchitepéquez: 5 km S Volcán Atitlán, 14.54074 -91.18815 ±35 m, 1400 m, 18 Jun 2009, cloud forest, ex sifted leaf litter (LLAMA#Wm-B-09-2-07) California Academy of Sciences, unique specimen identifier CASENT0611854]. Paratypes (workers): same data as holotype but 5.5 km S Volcán Atitlán, 14.52857 -91.19569 ±200 m, 1070 m, 18 Jun 2009, riparian forest, ex sifted leaf litter (LLAMA#Wm-B-09-2-08) National Museum of Natural History, CASENT0629577; Museum of Comparative Zoology, CASENT0629578.

Etymology

Referring to the type locality.

References

  • Longino, J.T. & Boudinot, B.E. 2013. New species of Central American Rhopalothrix Mayr, 1870 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa 3616, 301-324.