This species is presumed to be a temporary parasite in ground nests of other species of Aphaenogaster, including Aphaenogaster fulva, Aphaenogaster picea and Aphaenogaster rudis (Smith, 1979). Workers forage on trees and nest in rotting wood.
|At a Glance||• Temporary parasite|
- 1 Photo Gallery
- 2 Identification
- 3 Distribution
- 4 Biology
- 5 Castes
- 6 Nomenclature
- 7 References
Workers are relatively large, dark reddish-brown, with heavy sculpture, long curved propodeal spines, and have the postpetiole broader than long and suboval in shape. The queens are very distinctive looking and are almost entirely smooth, lacking any obvious sculpture, and have long blunt tipped propodeal spines.
This ant is easily diagnosed by its lack of hair on the mesosoma and metasoma, and by the propodeal spines that curve back towards the gaster (DeMarco, 2015).
Deyrup (2016) - This species has a protuberance on the ventral side of the postpetiole, and coarse irregular ridges on the mesopleuron, both features shared by Aphaenogaster mariae. It lacks the long, fine ridges at the base of the first gastral tergite found in A. mariae. Aphaenogaster tennesseensis differs from all other Florida species in the lack of any erect hairs on the mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole, and gaster. It is also distinguished by its extraordinarily long propodeal spines, which are thick at the base and somewhat curved, tapering to a sharp point. In the field, tennesseensis might be mistaken for Aphaenogaster lamellidens.
Keys including this Species
Deyrup (2016) - Quebec south into Florida, west into Minnesota and Oklahoma (Smith 1979). In Florida, tennesseensis is known from a few sites in the northern part of the state. It appears to be rare in Florida.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Deyrup (2016) - This species usually occurs in mesic woodlands. It is believed to be a temporary nest parasite of other Aphaenogaster, on the basis of the small size and large spines of the queen, and the discovery of three small mixed colonies of tennesseensis and some species in the fulva—rudis complex (Wheeler 1910a). These colonies were found under stones, rather than in rotten wood, where mature colonies of tennesseensis occur (Wheeler 1910a). Nests may be in rotting stumps or logs, in standing dead trees, and in dead portions of live trees (Smith 1965). Mature colonies have several hundred to several thousand individuals (Smith 1965). The latter estimate would be unusually high for a species of eastern Aphaenogaster. Foraging is usually on the ground, where the workers collect small arthropods (Carroll 1975). Alates have been found in the nest in August (Carroll 1975).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- laevis. Atta laevis Mayr, 1862: 743 (q.) U.S.A. Combination in Aphaenogaster: Roger, 1863b: 30. Junior synonym of tennesseensis: Mayr, 1886d: 446.
- tennesseensis. Atta tennesseensis Mayr, 1862: 743 (w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953b: 61 (l.). Combination in Aphaenogaster: Roger, 1863b: 30; in Stenamma (Aphaenogaster): Emery, 1895c: 301; in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Emery, 1921f: 60. Senior synonym of subrubra: Mayr, 1886c: 365; of laevis: Mayr, 1886d: 446; of ecalcaratum: Creighton, 1950a: 151.
- subrubra. Myrmica subrubra Buckley, 1867: 336 (w.q.) U.S.A. Junior synonym of tennesseensis: Mayr, 1886c: 365. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1902f: 26.
- ecalcaratum. Stenamma (Aphaenogaster) tennesseense var. ecalcaratum Emery, 1895c: 301 (w.) U.S.A. Combination in Aphaenogaster: Emery, 1921f: 60. Junior synonym of tennesseensis: Creighton, 1950a: 151.
- Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 73, catalogue)
- Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 151, Senior synonym of ecalcaratum)
- DeMarco, B.B. 2015. Phylogeny of North American Aphaenogaster species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reconstructed with morphological and DNA data. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
- Dennis, C. A. 1938. The distribution of ant species in Tennessee with reference to ecological factors. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 31: 267-308 PDF
- Deyrup, M.A. 2016. Ants of Florida: Identification and Natural History. CRC Press, 423 pp.
- Emery, C. 1895d. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. (Schluss). Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 257-360 (page 301, Combination in Stenamma (Aphaenogaster))
- Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 60, Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma))
- Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 743, worker described)
- Mayr, G. 1886c. Notizen über die Formiciden-Sammlung des British Museum in London. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 353-368 (page 365, Senior synonym of subrubra)
- Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 446, Senior synonym of laevis)
- Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 30, Combination in Aphaenogaster)
- Smith, D. R. 1979. Superfamily Formicoidea. Pp. 1323-1467 in: Krombein, K. V., Hurd, P. D., Smith, D. R., Burks, B. D. (eds.) Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico. Volume 2. Apocrita (Aculeata). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. i-xvi, 1199-2209.
- Smith, M. R. 1965. House-infesting ants of the eastern United States. Their recognition, biology, and economic importance. U. S. Dep. Agric. Tech. Bull. 1326: 1-105 PDF
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953b. The ant larvae of the myrmicine tribe Pheidolini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 55: 49-84 (page 61, larva described)