Cephalotes fiebrigi

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cephalotes fiebrigi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Cephalotes
Species: C. fiebrigi
Binomial name
Cephalotes fiebrigi
(Forel, 1906)

Cephalotes fiebrigi casent0173678 profile 1.jpg

Cephalotes fiebrigi casent0173678 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Synonyms

Nothing is known about the biology of Cephalotes fiebrigi.

Identification

A member of the fiebrigi clade differing from its sister species, Cephalotes guayaki, in the worker, soldier and gyne by the denser, erect, truncate body hairs.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Brazil, Greater Antilles, Paraguay (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

AntMapLegend.png

Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

The biology of many Cephalotes species is not known. Ants in this genus are common in the New World tropics and subtropics and are especially abundant and diverse in the canopies of Neotropical forests. The majority of species are arboreal. Species that live in other strata inhabit smaller trees, bushes or grass stems. These noon-arboreal species, due to their accessibility, are among the better studied members of the genus. There are also species that can be found in downed wood but it is likely the wood housed the colony before it fell to the ground. Soil nests are not known for any species nor do most species appear to extensively excavate plant tissue. They nest instead in preformed cavities. Overall, ants in the genus utilize a wide range of plants. Some species are predictable in their plant use but none appear to have evolved specialized mutualisms with particular plant species.

Worker castes typically include two forms, a worker and soldier, but there are a few species that are monomorphic. The larger soldier caste typically has an enlarged head disk. In some species the head of the soldier is very different from the worker while in others these differences are less pronounced. Queens and soldiers tend to share similar head morphology. Soldiers use their heads to plug the nest entrance. This can be very effective in excluding potential intruders. Other morphological differences between the worker castes are present but these differences have not been studied as well as head moprhology.

The behavioral repertoire of Cephalotes varians has been examined in great detail (ethograms from Wilson 1976, Cole 1980 and Cole 1983). Soldiers do little else besides defend the nest. This specialized soldier behavior is presumed to be the norm for most species. An especially interesting behavior occurs when workers are dislodged from trees: they "fly" towards the tree, often grabbing the trunk well above the ground (video).

Mature nest size varies, by species, from less than a hundred to many thousands of workers. Available evidence suggests most species are monogynous. Queens may mate with multiple males.

The proventriculus of the Cephalotes is peculiar relative to other ants. The morphology of the structure suggests it serves as a powerful pump and filter. This does not appear to lead these ants to have a highly specialized diet as most species appear to be general scavengers. Foragers have been observed feeding on carrion, bird feces, extrafloral nectaries and even tending membracids. Pollen feeding has been observed in some species, and this is somewhat specialized for ants, but it is not evident that any species restricts its diet to this resource in any significant way. Evidence for pollen feeding in Cephalotes has accumulated, in part, via finding digested pollen grains seen in infrabucal pellets. It has been suggested that the morphology of the proventriculus is a specialization for processing pollen.

More research examining all aspects of the biology of Cephalotes is needed. Our present understanding of these ants is largely based on species that live in locations other than the forest canopy, which is where Cephalotes are most common and diverse.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • fiebrigi. Cryptocerus pilosus r. fiebrigi Forel, 1906d: 235 (s.w.) PARAGUAY. De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999: 672 (m.). Combination in Cryptocerus (Paracryptocerus): Santschi, 1919f: 45; in Paracryptocerus (Harnedia): Kempf, 1958a: 28; in Zacryptocerus: Brandão, 1991: 386; in Cephalotes: De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999: 667. Raised to species and senior synonym of guttifer: Kempf, 1958a: 28.
  • guttifer. Cryptocerus (Paracryptocerus) guttifer Santschi, 1919f: 45 (s.q.) ARGENTINA. Santschi, 1922d: 253 (w.m.). [Misspelled as guttatus by Santschi, 1929d: 301.] Junior synonym of fiebrigi: Kempf, 1958a: 28.

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

Description

Worker

Kempf (1958) - Total length 3.9-4.9 mm. Black; frontal carinae pale testaceous or pale ferruginous; articulations of legs, tarsi, tips of scapes and basal segments of funiculus, more or less fuscous-ferruginous.

Head subopaque, subrectangular, distinctly longer than broad, its upper face rather convex in the middle, the frontal carinae flat to excavated, the entire surface finely reticulate-punctate, sparsely and rather shallowly foveolate without conspicuous rugosities. Sides of head subparallel, often distinctly concave above eyes. Frontal carinae, in part, translucid, in lateral view considerably thickened just in front of the eyes.

Thorax, in profile, - also transversely across the pronotum, - noticeably convex. Promesonotum less expanded laterad, its sides tridentate, the posterior tooth more or less rectangular. Mesonotum laterally tuberculate or subdentate. Sides of basal face of epinotum bidentate, the posterior tooth being largest. Declivous face sharply marginate at the sides. Sculpture of dorsum of thorax as on head, finely reticulate-punctate and sparsely foveolate. Sides of thorax with finely reticulate-punctate with fine, more or less longitudinal rugosities on the laterotergite of the pronotum. Sides of fore coxae not transversely striate.

Peduncular segments with a triangular anterior face, separated from the dorsal face by a more or less marked edge, the vertex of the anterior face forming middorsally a projecting tooth, facing caudad. This tooth is rather feeble on the petiole, but strongly marked on the postpetiole. Lateral spines of the petiole long, rather delicate, gently and evenly recurved, and acute at apex. Spines of postpetiole similar, but much more strongly recurved. Body of petiole comparatively narrower than in pilosus.

Gaster oval, similar to that of pilosus, slightly more shining, the first tergite being very finely and rather superficially reticulate-punctate. General pattern of pilosity as in pilosus, but the appressed scalelike hair is shorter and finer, and the standing hair is abundant, more scattered, much shorter (shorter than the diameter of tibiae), straight, not visibly flexuous.

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 3.64-4.84; HL 0.86-1.06; HW 0.88-1.08; EL 0.25-0.29; PW 0.81-1.00; PeW 0.44-0.56; PpW 0.48-0.59; HBaL 0.40-0.41; HBaW 0.09-0.11; CI 101.9-102.3; PI 108.0-108.6; PPeI 178.6-184.1; PPpI 168.7-169.5; HBaI 18.9-22.5.

Soldier

Kempf (1958) - Total length 5.8-6.5 mm; maximum length of head 1.68-1.78 mm; of thorax 1.57-1.72 mm. Black; the following yellowish-ferruginous: anterolateral portion of head disc, a triangular area on each shoulder, and usually four larger spots on the first gastral tergite, one close to each corner, the pair of the same side often being confluent; ferruginous: tip of scape, first funicular segment, knees, extensor face of tibiae, the four apical tarsites of each leg.

Head disc more elongate, its rim less distinctly crenulate, its sides distinctly converging caudad, with a feeble constriction at the level of the eyes. Anterolateral portion of head disc more or less excavated, the clypeal area marked off by a raised ridge. Sculpture of disc coarsely reticulate-rugose, as in pilosus, but the meshes are larger, and the foveolae more deeply impressed. About twelve foveolae may be counted in a transverse row, across the head, at the level of the eyes (fifteen or more in pilosus and liogaster).

Thorax dorsally mostly foveolate, scarcely reticulate-rugose. Transverse pronotal carina feeble, usually broadly interrupted in the middle, nor forming a raised crest. Laterotergite of pronotum finely and more or less longitudinally rugose. Sides of thorax never with strong rugosities. Sides of fore coxae only reticulate-punctate.

Peduncular segments in general as in worker, broader than in pilosus, with strong lateral spines. Only the postpetiole possesses a sharply edged triangular anterior face, the vertex of which terminates middorsally in a tooth. Sides of gaster gently convex. The first tergite finely but superficially reticulate-punctate, with a few longitudinal rugosities on the antero-median portion.

Pilosity, in general, as in worker. In addition the following highly distinctive feature: from each foveola of the head disc and the sides of head emerges a thick, curved scalelike hair, the free end of which projects well beyond the rim of the foveola. A somewhat similar condition holds occasionally for the foveolae of the thorax.

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 5.92-6.60; HL 1.48-1.52; HW 1.44-1.48; EL 0.33-0.35; PW 1.40; PeW 0.68-0.69; PpW 0.69-0.77; HBaL 0.39-0.41; HBaW 0.11; CI 94.7-100.0; PI 102.8-105.7; PPeI 202.9-205.9; PPpI 181.8-202.9; HBaI 26.8-28.2.

Queen

Kempf (1958) - length 7.5-7.9 mm; maximum length of head 1.67-1.71 mm; of thorax 2.14-2.25 mm. Color, sculpture and general features as in soldier. The head disc is still more elongate, indistinctly marginate postero-laterally behind the eyes. It differs from pilosus and liogaster by the shape of the peduncular segments, the nearly parallel-sided gaster, the short wings. The fore wing, measuring 5.1-5.2 mm, projects very little beyond the tip of the gaster, when folded over the back. The wings are infuscated, the venation of the fore wing is quite similar to that of liogaster.

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 7.88-7.92; HL 1.48-1.52; HW 1.40-1.48; EL 0.36; PW 1.36-1.40; PeW 0.59-0.60; PpW 0.68-0.73; HBaL 0.49-0.51; HBaW 0.12-0.13; CI 94.6-97.4; PI 102.0-102.1; PPeI 226.7-237.3; PPpI 191.8-200.0; HBaI 24.5-25.5.

Male

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Very similar to the male of pilosus and lanuginosus but differing from both in the following details: Head more convex dorsally. Eyes as broad as in pilosus and smaller than in lanuginosus. Anterior face of the petiole concave as in lanuginosus. Hind basitarsi longer and narrower than in pilosus and lanuginosus.

Sculpture. First gastral tergite as shining as in lanuginosus. Rugosities on the propodeal dorsum irregular on the sides and slightly transversal on the middle, those on the pedicel regular and very superficial.

Pilosity. Hairs flexuous as in lanuginosus.

Colour. Black, gaster slightly lighter. Coxae and two proximal thirds of the femora light brown. Distal third of femora, tibiae and tarsi dark yellow.

Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 5.60-5.76; HL 0.84-0.94; HW 0.98-1.04; EL 0.43-0.46; PW 0.96-1.02; PeW 0.50-0.56; PpW 0.55-0.63; HBaL 0.48-0.51; HBaW 0.09; CI 110.6-116.7; PI 101.9-104.0; PPeI 178.6-192.0; PPpI 161.9-174.5; HBaI 17.6-18.7.

Type Material

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999):

Worker and soldier. Type locality: San Bernardino (Paraguay). Type material: 1 worker (only mesosoma), lectotype designated by Kempf (1958 a: 32), labelled “San Bernardino, Paraguay, in dry wood, Cr. pilosus fiebrigi, lectotype, W. W. Kempf det.”; 2 workers and 1 soldier (syntypes) labeled “San Bernardino, Paraguay, in Spalten trockenen Holzes (Fiebrig), C. pilosus Em. r. fiebrigi Forel, type”, in Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, examined.

Cryptocerus guttifer. Soldier and gyne. Type locality: Alta Gracia (Cordoba, Argentina). Type material: 1 gyne (syntype) labelled “Cordoba, Ar. Alta Gracia, Bruch, Cr. guttifer Santo type”, in Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel, examined.

Cryptocerus guttifer. Worker, soldier, gyne, male. Type material: 8 workers, 2 soldiers, 2 gynes, 2 males (all syntypes) labelled “Cordoba, Ar. Alta Gracia, Bruch, Cr. guttifer, Sant. type, Z 1”, in NHMB; 1 worker and 1 soldier (syntypes) in Museum of Comparative Zoology; 1 worker, 1 soldier, 2 gynes labelled only “syntypes”, in Zoologische Staatssammlung, Munich, all examined.

References

  • Brandão, C. R. F. 1991. Adendos ao catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412 (page 386, Combination in Zacryptocerus)
  • de Andrade, M. L.; Baroni Urbani, C. 1999. Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present. Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Series B (Geolgie and Palaontologie). 271:1-889. (page 672, male described, page 667, Combination in Cephalotes)
  • Forel, A. 1906d. Fourmis néotropiques nouvelles ou peu connues. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 50: 225-249 (page 235, soldier, worker described)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1958a. New studies of the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. (n.s.) 1: 1-168 (page 28, Combination in Paracryptocerus (Harnedia), Raised to species, and senior synonym of guttifer)
  • Santschi, F. 1919f. Nouveaux formicides de la République Argentine. An. Soc. Cient. Argent. 87: 37-57 (page 45, Combination in Cryptocerus (Paracryptocerus))