Cyphomyrmex minutus

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Cyphomyrmex minutus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Cyphomyrmex
Species: C. minutus
Binomial name
Cyphomyrmex minutus
Mayr, 1862

Cyphomyrmex minutus casent0103832 profile 1.jpg

Cyphomyrmex minutus casent0103832 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Synonyms

A tropical species, or more likely a complex of closely related species (rimosus group), that can be locally abundant.

Identification

See the nomenclature section under Cyphomyrmex rimosus.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

This is a common species through the West Indies and around the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico into Texas (Snelling and Longino 1992). It adapts well to disturbed sites and readily colonizes potted plants, so there is a high probability that it was brought to Florida at least once, but it might also be native to the state, having flown from the Bahamas or moved around the Gulf of Mexico. It was recorded from Florida in Smith 1930. (Deyrup, Davis & Cover, 2000.)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 31.2506° to -64.36°.

       
North
Temperate
North
Subtropical
Tropical South
Subtropical
South
Temperate

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba (type locality), Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps

AntMapLegend.png

Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.
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Biology

Explore-icon.png Explore Fungus Growing 
For additional details see Fungus growing ants.

A handful of ant species (approx. 275 out of the known 15,000 species) have developed the ability to cultivate fungus within their nests. In most species the fungus is used as the sole food source for the larvae and is an important resource for the adults as well. Additionally, in a limited number of cases, the fungus is used to construct part of the nest structure but is not as a food source.

These fungus-feeding species are limited to North and South America, extending from the pine barrens of New Jersey, United States, in the north (Trachymyrmex septentrionalis) to the cold deserts in Argentina in the south (several species of Acromyrmex). Species that use fungi in nest construction are known from Europe and Africa (a few species in the genera Crematogaster, Lasius).


The details of fungal cultivation are rich and complex. First, a wide variety of materials are used as substrate for fungus cultivating. The so-called lower genera include species that prefer dead vegetation, seeds, flowers, fruits, insect corpses, and feces, which are collected in the vicinity of their nests. The higher genera include non leaf-cutting species that collect mostly fallen leaflets, fruit, and flowers, as well as the leafcutters that collect fresh leaves from shrubs and trees. Second, while the majority of fungi that are farmed by fungus-feeding ants belong to the family Lepiotaceae, mostly the genera Leucoagaricus and Leucocoprinus, other fungi are also involved. Some species utilise fungi in the family Tricholomataceae while a few others cultivate yeast. The fungi used by the higher genera no longer produce spores. Their fungi produce nutritious and swollen hyphal tips (gongylidia) that grow in bundles called staphylae, to specifically feed the ants. Finally, colony size varies tremendously among these ants. Lower taxa mostly live in inconspicuous nests with 100–1000 individuals and relatively small fungus gardens. Higher taxa, in contrast, live in colonies made of 5–10 million ants that live and work within hundreds of interconnected fungus-bearing chambers in huge subterranean nests. Some colonies are so large, they can be seen from satellite photos, measuring up to 600 m3.

Based on these habits, and taking phylogenetic information into consideration, these ants can be divided into six biologically distinct agricultural systems (with a list of genera involved in each category):

Nest Construction

A limited number of species that use fungi in the construction of their nests.

Lower Agriculture

Practiced by species in the majority of fungus-feeding genera, including those thought to retain more primitive features, which cultivate a wide range of fungal species in the tribe Leucocoprineae.

Coral Fungus Agriculture

Practiced by species in the Apterostigma pilosum species-group, which cultivate fungi within the Pterulaceae.

Yeast Agriculture

Practiced by species within the Cyphomyrmex rimosus species-group, which cultivate a distinct clade of leucocoprineaceous fungi derived from the lower attine fungi.

Generalized Higher Agriculture

Practiced by species in several genera of non-leaf-cutting "higher attine" ants, which cultivate a distinct clade of leucocoprineaceous fungi separately derived from the lower attine fungi.

Leaf-Cutter Agriculture

A subdivision of higher attine agriculture practiced by species within several ecologically dominant genera, which cultivate a single highly derived species of higher attine fungus.

Note that the farming habits of Mycetagroicus (4 species) are unknown. Also, while species of Pseudoatta (2 species) are closely related to the fungus-feeding genus Acromyrmex, they are social parasites, living in the nests of their hosts and are not actively involved in fungus growing. ‎

Longino (2004) provides a good account about the biology of species within this group that, in modified form, fits well with C. minutus: In much of the Neotropics these are among the most abundant attines in the habitat, but they are always inconspicuous ants. They have small colonies, with worker numbers usually in the tens to hundreds. The nests are usually in small chambers in the ground, under objects, or in rotten wood.

The main fungal substrates used by the common Cyphomyrmex are caterpillar droppings and dead insect parts. The insect parts are mainly heavily sclerotized bits of exoskeleton, and brightly colored beetle elytra seem to be particularly favored. When a small Cyphmyrmex colony is exposed by turning over a leaf on the forest floor or breaking into a small cavity in a rotten log, one is faced with an almost magical little scene: one or two large caterpillar pellets form the center of the fungus garden, embedded in a glittering, multicolored pile of beetle elytra, membracid pronota, and miscellaneous leg parts, and all covered with the little green fungal dots. The workers tuck their legs and become motionless on disturbance, entering a "cateleptic" state, and so at first the small brown workers are an invisible part of the background in and around the fungus garden. After a few minutes, if left undisturbed, one by one the workers appear to suddenly spring into motion.

Wheeler (1905), Bahamas - numerous workers from several nests collected near Nassau, N. P., (Fort Charlotte, Menendez Sisal Plantation, and Blue Hills), ...The nests were under stones, where the ants were guarding their fungus gardens on caterpillar excrement. The fungus consisted of small translucent, pear-shaped, yellow bodies, about .5 mm. in diameter. They were of exactly the same size and appearance as those which I first saw in the fungus gardens of the subsp. dentatus Forel in Mexico. More recently I have found these gardens and fungi in the nests of a dark variety of rimosus at New Braunfels, Texas, and in the nests of another variety on Key Largo, Florida.

Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Acanthopria spp. (a parasite) in Puerto Rico (Fernández-Marín et al., 2006). Worker ants grasped at, bit, and in some cases, killed adult wasps that emerged in artificial nests or tried to enter natural nests (Fernández-Marín et al., 2006).
  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Acanthopria sp. 1 (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode independent; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Acanthopria sp. 5 (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode independent; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).

Flight Period

X
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Source: antkeeping.info.

Castes

Worker

MCZ-ENT00524063 Cyphomyrmex minutus-hef8.jpgMCZ-ENT00524063 Cyphomyrmex minutus-hal6-3.jpgMCZ-ENT00524063 Cyphomyrmex minutus-had6-3.jpgMCZ-ENT00524063 Cyphomyrmex minutus-lbs.jpgMCZ ENT Cyphomyrmex minutus hef 8x.jpgMCZ ENT Cyphomyrmex minutus hal 6.jpgMCZ ENT Cyphomyrmex minutus had 6.jpgMCZ ENT Cyphomyrmex minutus lbs.jpg
. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.


Images from AntWeb

Cyphomyrmex minutus casent0173957 head 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0173957 profile 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0173957 dorsal 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0173957 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0173957. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ALWC, Alex L. Wild Collection.

Queen

Images from AntWeb

Cyphomyrmex minutus casent0103832 head 2.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0103832. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.
Cyphomyrmex minutus casent0103833 head 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103833 profile 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103833 dorsal 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103833 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0103833. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.
Cyphomyrmex minutus casent0103834 head 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103834 profile 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103834 profile 2.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103834 dorsal 1.jpgCyphomyrmex minutus casent0103834 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0103834. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • minutus. Cyphomyrmex minutus Mayr, 1862: 691 (w.) CUBA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Cuba: (no futher data) (no collector’s name; perhaps Riehl).
    • Type-depository: NHMW.
    • Mayr, 1887: 558 (q.m.).
    • Junior synonym of difformis: Mayr, 1887: 558.
    • Junior synonym of rimosus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 150; Forel, 1895b: 137; Forel, 1899c: 40; Gallardo, 1916d: 323; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 830; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1410; Snelling, R.R. & George, 1979: 147.
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Emery, 1894c: 225; Forel, 1895b: 143; Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 106, 130; Wheeler, W.M. 1907c: 722; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 149; Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 568; Wheeler, W.M. 1911a: 29; Forel, 1912e: 188; Wheeler, W.M. 1913b: 495; Wheeler, W.M. 1913d: 242; Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914: 42; Wheeler, W.M. 1917g: 461; Wheeler, W.M. 1922c: 13; Mann, 1922: 45; Emery, 1924d: 342; Menozzi, 1929a: 3; Menozzi & Russo, 1930: 163; Smith, M.R. 1930a: 4; Wheeler, W.M. 1932a: 11; Weber, 1934a: 57; Smith, M.R. 1937: 859; Creighton, 1950a: 316; Weber, 1958d: 259; Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94; Alayo, 1974: 42.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1863: 406; Mayr, 1887: 558; Wilson, 1964b: 9; Deyrup, et al. 1989: 98; Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168; Deyrup, 2003: 44; Wild, 2007b: 33; Guénard & Economo, 2015: 227; Wetterer, et al. 2016: 11; Deyrup, 2017: 69; Fernández & Serna, 2019: 850; Lubertazzi, 2019: 108; Wetterer, 2021: 3.
    • Senior synonym of arnoldi: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Senior synonym of atrata: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Senior synonym of breviscapus: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Senior synonym of comalensis: Creighton, 1950a: 316; Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94; Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Senior synonym of flavescens: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Senior synonym of steinheili: Mayr, 1887: 558; Emery, 1894c: 225; Wheeler, W.M. 1907c: 722; Emery, 1924d: 342; Menozzi & Russo, 1930: 163; Creighton, 1950a: 316; Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94; Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Senior synonym of venezuelensis: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
    • Distribution: Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St Vincent, U.S.A., Venezuela.
  • arnoldi. Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. arnoldi Aguayo, 1932: 223 (w.) JAMAICA.
    • Type-material: 4 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Jamaica: Ocho Rios, iii.1932 (W.B. Arnold).
    • Type-depository: unknown (perhaps ACHC or MNHC).
    • [Note: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490, say that no type-material is present in AMNH or MCZC.]
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 93.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 167.
  • atrata. Atta (Cyphomyrmex) rimosa r. atrata Forel, 1912e: 188 (w.q.m.) COLOMBIA.
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens, syntype males (numbers not stated).
    • Type-localities: Colombia: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Dibulla, 6.iii.1896 (A. Forel) (invalid restriction of type-locality by Kempf, 1972a: 93; no lectotype designated), Colombia: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Don Diego (A. Forel).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Combination in Cyphomyrmex: Emery, 1924d: 342.
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Emery, 1924d: 342; Weber, 1940a: 411 (in key); Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 93.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 167.
  • breviscapus. Cyphomyrmex rimosus subsp. breviscapus Weber, 1940a: 412 (diagnosis in key) (w.) PANAMA (Barro Colorado).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Panama: Canal Zone, Barro Colorado I., 1938 (N.A. Weber).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Weber, 1941b: 103; Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 93.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 167.
  • comalensis. Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. comalensis Wheeler, W.M. 1907c: 719, pl. 49, fig. 1 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. (Texas).
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens, syntype males (numbers not stated).
    • Type-locality: U.S.A.: Texas, New Braunfels, sources of the Comal River (W.M. Wheeler).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 568; Emery, 1924d: 342; Essig, 1926: 862; Weber, 1940a: 411 (in key); Smith, M.R. 1951a: 830.
    • Junior synonym of rimosus: Smith, M.R. 1958c: 137; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1410; Snelling, R.R. & George, 1979: 147.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Creighton, 1950a: 316; Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94; Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 167.
  • flavescens. Cyphomyrmex rimosus subsp. flavescens Weber, 1940a: 411 (in key and footnote).
    • [First available use of Cyphomyrmex rimosus subp. minutus var. flavidus Wheeler, W.M. 1936b: 204 (w.) HAITI; unavailable (infrasubspecific) name (Bolton, 1995b: 167).]
    • Type-material: 3 syntype workers.
    • Type-localities: 2 workers Haiti: NE foothills, Massif de la Hotte, 3000 ft, 1934 (P.J. Darlington), 1 worker Haiti: Etang Lachaux, 1934 (P.J. Darlington).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • [Note: flavescens Weber, 1940a: 411, was proposed as a replacement name for flavidus Wheeler, W.M. 1936b: 204, but the latter is an unavailable name.]
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 167.
  • flavidus. Wheeler, W.M., 1936, see under flavescens.
  • steinheili. Cyphomyrmex steinheili Forel, 1885a: 368 (w.) MEXICO (Veracruz).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Mexico: Orizaba (no collector’s name) (ex coll. H. de Saussure).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Junior synonym of difformis: Mayr, 1887: 558.
    • Junior synonym of rimosus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 150; Forel, 1893g: 374; Forel, 1895b: 137; Forel, 1899c: 40; Gallardo, 1916d: 323; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 830; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1410.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Mayr, 1887: 558; Emery, 1894c: 225; Wheeler, W.M. 1907c: 722; Emery, 1924d: 342; Menozzi & Russo, 1930: 163; Creighton, 1950a: 316; Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94; Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.
  • venezuelensis. Cyphomyrmex rimosus subsp. venezuelensis Weber, 1938b: 188 (w.) VENEZUELA.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated, “a colony”).
    • Type-locality: Venezuela: beside Orinoco River, a few mi. downstream of Ciudad Bolivar, 30.i.1935 (N.A. Weber).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Subspecies of rimosus: Weber, 1940a: 411 (in key); Kempf, 1966: 162; Kempf, 1972a: 94.
    • Junior synonym of transversus: Weber, 1958d: 261.
    • Junior synonym of minutus: Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 490; Bolton, 1995b: 168.

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

Description

Worker

2.5 mm. Kahl, Kopf und Hinterleib dunkel rothbraun. Thorax und Stielchen braunlich-roth, Mandibeln, Fiihlel' und Beine roth. Kopf, Thorax und Stielchen ziemlich fein, abel' unregelmassig gerunzelt, hie und da mit kleinen Erhabenheiten; Hinterleib ebenfalls fein gerunzelt und zerstreut grob gekornt. Beine und Mandibeln glanzend, del'iibrige Korper matt.

Type Material

Aus Cuba erhielt ich ein Stuck diesel' sehr merkwurdigen Ameise' von Herm Riehl.

References

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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