Centromyrmex longiventris

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Centromyrmex longiventris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Centromyrmex
Species: C. longiventris
Binomial name
Centromyrmex longiventris
Santschi, 1919

Centromyrmex longiventris casent0178742 profile 1.jpg

Centromyrmex longiventris casent0178742 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Centromyrmex longiventris.

Identification

A member of the feae species group.

Bolton and Fisher (2008) - C. longiventris is closely related to Centromyrmex ereptor. Both species superficially resemble small specimens of Centromyrmex angolensis, but are easily separated as they have two spiniform setae at the anterior apex of the metatibia, where only one is present in angolensis. C. longiventris and ereptor are best distinguished by size and the shape of the anterior propodeum in profile. The former is smaller and the anterior portion of the propodeum forms a steep slope immediately behind the mesonotum, whereas the latter is larger and the anterior propodeum is only shallowly and gradually sloped from the mesonotum. Only four specimens of this small species are known.

The name longiventris itself is misleading as the gaster here is proportionately no longer than in any other member of the group, but in the syntype examined the gaster is distended, probably from initial storage in alcohol that was too dilute.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun (type locality), Gabon, Mozambique.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

All of the species in the genus appear to be termitophagous and all are superbly adapted to this specialised predatory life style. Observations of some species have found them to be rather helpless when placed in an exposed, open situation. Weber described what happened when he found a worker “just beneath the soil surface under a thin cover of dead leaves”. The ant was “completely helpless when exposed to the daylight and writhed about when placed on the ground or in my palm. It made no attempt to run away, curling and uncurling without stinging, though it had a long, stout sting”. In other words, it seemed unable to walk when removed from its specialised habitat and placed on a surface where it could not use its specialised legs. If not discovered within a termite nest, individuals are occasionally found in the top soil or the root-mat below the leaf litter layer, where their short, powerful, spiny legs facilitate their movement. (Weber 1949, Bolton and Fisher 2008).

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • longiventris. Centromyrmex sellaris var. longiventris Santschi, 1919b: 229 (w.) CAMEROUN. Raised to species: Bolton & Fisher, 2008c: 19.

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

Description

Worker

Bolton and Fisher (2008) - TL 3.5-3.6, HL 0.65-0.67, HW 0.65-0.68, CI 98-101, ML 0.38-0.40, MI 59-64, SL 0.48-0.50, SI 73-74, PW 0.50-0.56, WL 1.06-1.14 (4 measured).

With characters of the genus and the feae group. Head capsule in full-face view usually appears about as long as broad, CI 101 or less. Mandibles smooth with scattered small punctures. Masticatory margin of mandible with 7–10 small, low indistinct teeth, reduced to mere crenulations or even more or less smooth when worn. Basal angle of mandible rounded, usually with a very small basal tooth visible but sometimes indistinct or vestigial, or with a slightly accentuated basal angle. Dorsum of head with scattered punctures on smooth cuticle; on sides of head the punctures denser than on dorsum, and also with weak striation within the antennal fossae and on the sides, especially anteriorly. Metatibia with only normal setae dorsally but its anterior surface, at the apex and approximately opposite the pectinate spur, with two much stouter and sometimes more darkly coloured spiniform seta whose bases are close together. With mesosoma in profile the dorsal outline of the propodeum is abruptly angled downward from the mesonotum, so that its anterior portion forms a steep slope. Petiole node in dorsal view broader than long. Pronotal dorsum, and anterior mesonotum, with a few widely scattered broad, shallow punctures that may be almost effaced. Pronotum dorsally also usually with variable weak oblique or arched faint disorganised sculpture; almost effaced in some specimens. Colour yellow to light brownish yellow.

Type Material

Syntype worker, CAMEROUN: Victoria (Silvestri) (Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel) [examined].

References