Rhopalothrix weberi

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Rhopalothrix weberi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Rhopalothrix
Species: R. weberi
Binomial name
Rhopalothrix weberi
Brown & Kempf, 1960

Rhopalothrix weberi casent0610659 p 1 high.jpg

Rhopalothrix weberi casent0610659 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Synonyms

This species occurs in lowland wet to moist forest, from 200–575m elevation. The recent collections are all from Winkler samples of sifted litter and rotten wood on the forest floor. Among the Project LLAMA specimens, seven are dealate queens and only two are workers, mostly from separate samples. This could reflect subterranean habits of the workers, with new queens dispersing up into the litter layer. (Longino & Boudinot, 2013)

Identification

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Cuba, Honduras to southern Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Cuba (type locality), Greater Antilles, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico.

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

Males have yet to be collected.

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • wheeleri. Heptastruma wheeleri Weber, 1934a: 55, fig. 13 (w.) CUBA. Longino & Boudinot, 2013: 323 (q.). [Junior secondary homonym of Rhopalothrix wheeleri Mann, 1922: 43, above.] Replacement name: Rhopalothrix weberi Brown & Kempf, 1960: 234.
  • weberi. Rhopalothrix weberi Brown & Kempf, 1960: 234. Replacement name for Heptastruma wheeleri Weber, 1934a: 55. [Junior secondary homonym of Rhopalothrix wheeleri Mann, 1922: 43.]

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

Description

Worker

Longino and Boudinot (2013) - (based on two workers from Tikal National Park, Guatemala). HW 0.38–0.39 (n=2); mandible with two closely-spaced, very short teeth at base, these basal teeth with broad confluent bases, either with distinct denticulate apices or completely confluent and forming a low lamina at base, a small denticle about mid-distance between basal teeth and base of subapical tooth, reclinate denticle at base of subapical tooth absent, subapical tooth shorter than width of mandible at base, only slightly longer than subapical tooth, intercalary teeth present but minute; labrum about as long as broad, with two long, bluntly triangular 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; anterior clypeal margin concave; erect setae on leading edge of scape stiff but narrow, hardly clavate, unlike the squamiform setae typical of many other species; arcuate promesonotal groove and metanotal groove weakly impressed; propodeal tooth right angled, infradental lamella thin, evenly and shallowly concave; first gastral tergite with sparse squamiform setae on posterior half, one specimen with five setae on posterior margin and three anteriorly, one specimen with seven and five, respectively.

Queen

Longino and Boudinot (2013) - HW 0.40–0.54 (n=5); mandible and labrum similar to worker; face shape similar to worker but with grooves and ridges more shallowly impressed; compound eye shorter than maximum width of scape, with 5–6 facets across longest axis; ocelli small, cuticle adjacent to ocelli marked with black pigment spots on evenly light brown background; shape of propodeal tooth, petiole and postpetiole similar to worker; shape of infradental lamella variable (see Comments); katepisternum and anepisternum large, convex, separated by broad groove; pubescence layer of abundant, short, curved setae covers mandible, face, scapes, legs, dorsal mesosoma and metasoma; abundant stiff erect setae on face, anterior edge of scape, side of head, dorsal mesosoma, dorsal gaster.

Type Material

Longino and Boudinot (2013) - Holotype, worker: Cuba, Las Villas: Casa Harvard near Central Soledad, 24 July 1933, in red clay from under stones and grass roots which had been run through a Berlese funnel (N.A. Weber) Museum of Comparative Zoology (not examined).

References

  • Brown, W. L., Jr.; Kempf, W. W. 1960. A world revision of the ant tribe Basicerotini. Stud. Entomol. (n.s.) 3: 161-250 (page 234, Replacement name for Heptastruma wheeleri Weber)
  • 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
  • Weber, N. A. 1934a. Notes on neotropical ants, including the descriptions of new forms. Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 4: 22-59 (page 55, [Junior secondary homonym of Rhopalothrix wheeleri Mann, 1922: 43.])