Azteca xanthochroa

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Azteca xanthochroa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Azteca
Species: A. xanthochroa
Binomial name
Azteca xanthochroa
(Roger, 1863)

Azteca xanthochroa casent0610377 p 1 high.jpg

Azteca xanthochroa casent0610377 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Synonyms

Longino (2007) - The taxonomy and biology of A. xanthochroa is reviewed in Longino (1989b, 1991a, b). The species is an obligate Cecropia ant. It is one of the most common Cecropia ants in Costa Rica, occurring in wet to moist forest habitats and extending to relatively high elevations (up to 1400m). Mature colonies occupy a single carton nest in the bole of the tree. All larvae and alate sexuals are concentrated in this single nest. Branch tips, which all communicate internally with the carton nest, contain only workers and Hemiptera. Workers of this species are very aggressive, and respond to any disturbance by pouring out of branch tips. A distinctive feature of this species is that workers maintain a vertical fissure near the base of the tree, far below the carton nest. Workers can move freely inside the trunk from the nest to this fissure. Thus, when the tree is disturbed at the base, workers suddenly appear on the trunk at ground level (Longino 1991a).

Identification

Longino (2007) - The queens of A. xanthochroa are very distinctive and not easily confused with any other species. Workers of Azteca constructor and A. xanthochroa are very similar. Large workers of A. constructor retain a chocolate brown color, while large workers of A. xanthochroa become more mottled orange. The petiolar node of A. constructor workers is relatively low, while the posteroventral lobe is relatively deep and strongly convex. Workers of A. xanthochroa are the reverse, with relatively taller node and shallower ventral lobe.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Mexico to Costa Rica.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (type locality), Trinidad and Tobago.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Worker

Queen

Nomenclature

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

  • xanthochroa. Liometopum xanthochroum Roger, 1863a: 167 (q.) MEXICO. Mayr, 1866a: 497 (w.); Emery, 1896c: 2 (w.); Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 247 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1951: 193 (l.). Combination in Azteca: Forel, 1878: 384. Junior synonym of instabilis: Mayr, 1878: 870. Revived from synonymy as subspecies of instabilis: Emery, 1893b: 137. Revived status as species: Emery, 1896c: 2. Senior synonym of costaricensis: Longino, 1992: 1594. See also: Longino, 2007: 52.
  • costaricensis. Azteca xanthochroa var. costaricensis Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 248 (w.) COSTA RICA. Junior synonym of xanthochroa: Longino, 1992: 1594.

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

Description

Worker

Longino (2007) - (n=4): HLA 1.59 (1.40–1.69), HW 1.41 (1.30–1.49), SL 1.05 (0.95–1.08), CI 89 (87–93), SI 67 (62–68).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta very short, appressed and little larger than width of puncta, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level; head with convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; mesosoma in lateral profile with promesonotum forming a single broad convexity, or mesonotum forming a distinct, somewhat more strongly produced convexity; metanotal groove broad; petiole in profile with node larger than sternal lobe, perpendicular distance from tergosternal suture to apex of node greater than distance to ventral margin of sternal lobe (in contrast to A. constructor, on which the petiolar node is smaller relative to sternal lobe); scape with abundant erect setae, length of setae about one half maximum width of scape; mid and hind tibia with abundant erect setae, longest setae about one half maximum width of tibia; sides of head with erect setae short, sparse to absent; posterior margin of head with abundant short erect setae; pronotum with abundant long erect setae; mesonotum with setae absent on anterior half, grading to longer setae on posterior half; dorsal face of propodeum with very short setae, grading into pubescence; color brown to mottled orange brown.

Queen

Longino (2007) - (n=10): HLA 2.42 (2.37–2.65), HW 1.97 (1.90–2.17), SL 1.32 (1.25–1.37), CI 82 (79–83), SI 54 (51–56).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining or very faintly sculptured, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta very short, appressed and little larger than width of puncta, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level (medial lobe not projecting anteriorly); head quadrate, sides subparallel to slightly diverging, strongly cordate posteriorly, with angulate posterolateral margins; petiolar node tall, triangular, acute; posteroventral petiolar lobe evenly convex, shallow, not strongly developed; scape with abundant erect setae, about as long as one half maximum width of scape; middle and hind tibia with abundant erect setae, longest of these one half to two thirds maximum width of tibia (MTSC 25–35); sides of head with 1–2 erect setae near mandibular insertions, absent elsewhere; posterior margin of head with abundant short erect setae; pronotum with abundant long setae on posterior third; mesoscutum with anterior one half to one third usually devoid of erect setae, posterior two thirds to one half with abundant setae, occasionally erect setae sparse to nearly absent throughout; scutellum with abundant long setae; propodeum with sparse erect setae, occasionally bare; petiolar node with 0–6 erect setae, 0–4 long setae and more abundant short, fine setae on posteroventral lobe; all gastral terga with abundant erect setae; color orange.

Type Material

Longino (2007) - Holotype queen: Mexico.

References

  • Emery, C. 1893l. Studio monografico sul genere Azteca Forel. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (5)3:119-152 (page 137, revived from synonymy as variety of instabilis)
  • Emery, C. 1896b. Alcune forme nuove del genere Azteca For. e note biologiche. Boll. Mus. Zool. Anat. Comp. R. Univ. Torino 11(2 230: 1-7 (page 2, worker described, revived status as species)
  • Forel, A. 1878c. Études myrmécologiques en 1878 (première partie) avec l'anatomie du gésier des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 15: 337-392 (page 384, combination in Azteca)
  • Longino, J. T. 1991a. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting Azteca ants. J. Nat. Hist. 2 25: 1571-1602 (page 1594, senior synonym of costariensis)
  • Longino, J.T. 2007. A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group. Zootaxa. 1491:1-63.
  • Mayr, G. 1866a. Myrmecologische Beiträge. Sitzungsber. Kais. Akad. Wiss. Wien Math.-Naturwiss. Cl. Abt. I 53: 484-517 (page 497, worker described)
  • Mayr, G. 1878 [1877]. Formiciden gesammelt in Brasilien von Professor Trail. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 27: 867-878 (page 870, junior synonym of instabilis)
  • Roger, J. 1863a. Die neu aufgeführten Gattungen und Arten meines Formiciden-Verzeichnisses nebst Ergänzung einiger früher gegebenen Beschreibungen. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7: 131-214 (page 167, queen described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1951. The ant larvae of the subfamily Dolichoderinae. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 53: 169-210 (page 193, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1942. Studies of Neotropical ant-plants and their ants. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 90: 1-262 (page 247, larva described)