Strumigenys philiporum

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Strumigenys philiporum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Strumigenys
Species: S. philiporum
Binomial name
Strumigenys philiporum
Brown, 1988

Strumigenys philiporum casent0900915 p 1 high.jpg

Strumigenys philiporum casent0900915 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Specimens have been taken from rainforest, with some noted as being found in rotten logs.

Identification

Bolton (2000) - A member of the Strumigenys mayri-group. Perhaps the most immediately recognisable Strumigenys species in the Austral region; the massive overdevelopment of spongiform tissue renders philiporum unmistakable. Two other species from the Malesian region show a similar hypertrophy of spongiform tissue on the alitrunk, Strumigenys sisyrata and Strumigenys kempfi, but these cannot be confused with philiporum (see their respective descriptions). The reason for this strange adaptation remains unguessed.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Strumigenys were once thought to be rare. The development and increased use of litter sampling methods has led to the discovery of a tremendous diversity of species. Many species are specialized predators (e.g. see Strumigenys membranifera and Strumigenys louisianae). Collembola (springtails) and other tiny soil arthropods are typically favored prey. Species with long linear mandibles employ trap-jaws to sieze their stalked prey (see Dacetine trap-jaws). Larvae feed directly on insect prey brought to them by workers. Trophallaxis is rarely practiced. Most species live in the soil, leaf litter, decaying wood or opportunistically move into inhabitable cavities on or under the soil. Colonies are small, typically less than 100 individuals but in some species many hundreds. Moist warm habitats and micro-habitats are preferred. A few better known tramp and otherwise widely ranging species tolerate drier conditions. Foraging is often in the leaf litter and humus. Workers of many species rarely venture above ground or into exposed, open areas. Individuals are typically small, slow moving and cryptic in coloration. When disturbed individuals freeze and remain motionless. Males are not known for a large majority of species.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • philiporum. Strumigenys philiporum Brown, 1988b: 38, fig. 1 (w.) AUSTRALIA. See also: Bolton, 2000: 981.

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

Description

Worker

Bolton (2000) - TL 2.9-3.3, HL 0.78-0.86, HW 0.46-0.51, CI 58-60, ML 0.36-0.40, MI 43-49, SL 0.50-0.60, SI 110-118, PW 0.32-0.39, AL 0.80-0.95 (20 measured).

Spongiform tissue massively hypertrophied. As well as the usual spongiform lobes on the waist segments there is a crest on the dorsum of the petiole peduncle and a huge development of spongiform tissue on the alitrunk. In profile the entire dorsum of the mesonotum and propodeum, the entire side and declivity of the propodeum and most of the metapleuron, is covered with a single continuous blanket of dense spongiform tissue; only the pronotal dorsum is free of it. In dorsal view there is a V-shaped cleft in the tissue above the propodeal declivity and another, much smaller, gap in the tissue above the anterior mesonotum. In profile and dorsal view the thick lateral spongiform lobe of the petiole extends the entire length of the node. Eyes large, maximum diameter very obviously greater than maximum width of scape; with about 7 ommatidia in the longest row and more than 20 in total. Pronotum sharply marginate dorsolaterally, the dorsum flat to shallowly concave. Apicoscrobal hair flagellate; pronotal humeral hair flagellate and pronotal dorsum with two erect flagellate pairs. Erect flagellate hairs also present on waist segments, gaster and all segments of legs. Cephalic dorsum with a transverse row of erect simple hairs across occipital margin, with a pair of similar hairs at highest point of vertex and another pair between this and the occipital row. Sides of alitrunk that are free of spongiform tissue glassy smooth. Disc of postpetiole sculptured, with some weak transverse striolae developed.

Type Material

Bolton (2000) - Holotype worker, paratype workers and queen, AUSTRALIA: Queensland, Mt Lewis, near Mossman, 900 m, 26.xii.1957 (P. J. & P. S. Darlington); paratype workers, AUSTRALIA: Queensland, Mt Alexander, NW of Daintree, 20-23.xii.1957, rainforest (Darlingtons); Qld, Lake Eacham, Atherton Tableland, ii.1958, rainforest (Darlingtons); Lake Eacham Nat. Pk, nos. 1423, 1603, rotten logs (R. W. Taylor); Danbullah Forest, near Atherton, no. 1662 (R. W. Taylor) (Museum of Comparative Zoology, Australian National Insect Collection, The Natural History Museum) [examined].

References