The summit of Mt. Austen, the type locality, is only 410m high. Most of the area surrounding Mt. Austen has suffered extensive deforestation in recent years (Lattke 2004).
Lattke (2004) - This is one of the most striking and distinct of all Old World Gnamptogenys due to its very elongate body, posteriorly inclined petiolar node and bulging eyes.
Endemic to the Solomon Islands.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Not much is known about the the biology of Gnamptogenys preciosa. We can speculate that the biology of this species is similar to other species of the genus. Gnamptogenys are predatory ponerine ants that inhabit tropical and subtropical mesic forests. Nesting is typically at ground level in rotten wood or leaf litter. Some exceptions include species that are arboreal, a dry forest species and species that nests in sandy savannahs. Colony size tends to be, at most, in the hundreds. Queens are the reproductives in most species. Worker reproduction is known from a few species in Southeastern Asia. Generalist predation is the primary foraging/dietary strategy. Specialization on specific groups (millipedes, beetles, other ants) has developed in a few species.
Males are unknown.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- preciosa. Gnamptogenys preciosa Lattke, 2004: 66, fig. 14 (w.q.) SOLOMON IS.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Eyes subglobulose; head elongate (CI 0.69); scapes slender, surpassing posterior cephalic margin by more than two apical widths, smooth with sparse punctae; clypeal lamella convex with median lobe. Petiole reclined in lateral view, anterior margin straight, dorsal margin convex and slightly overhanging concave posterior margin, spiracle on anterolateral process, not below it; subpetiolar process forming narrow anteriorly projecting lobe; metacoxal dorsum unarmed.
- Holotype, worker, Mt. Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Greenslade,P., ANIC32-017693, Australian National Insect Collection.
Metrics. Holotype: HL 1.07, HW 0.74, ML 0.48, SL 1.13, ED 0.14, WL 1.48 mm. CI 0.69, SI 1.53, MI 0.65, OI 0.19. Head markedly elongate in frontal view, lateral margins subparallel; posterior margin with shallow median concavity; anterior clypeal margin convex; vertex mostly smooth; occipital lamella present; occipital lobe absent; frontal lobe projecting dorsolaterally, with convex anterior margin and straight posterior margin; scape slender, surpassing posterior cephalic margin by more than two apical widths, smooth with sparse punctae, shaft slightly enlarged preapically; first funicular segment longer than wide. Frons rugose-punctate, area posterad of frontal triangle bulging, noticeably higher than surrounding surface; clypeal lamella convex, with median lobe; mandibles dorsally smooth, sparsely punctae, masticatory border denticulate. Eye subglobulose, reduced in diameter, ommatidia large.
Pronotum mostly smooth, laterally with shallow foveolae, anteroventral corner rounded; promesonotal suture impressed as fine line; mesonotum mostly smooth with sparse punctae and strigulae; metanotal groove indistinct; anepisternum semirectangular, not distinctly separated from metapleuron by suture; metapleuron relatively broad, longitudinally strigulose; propodeum laterally mostly smooth, spiracle separated from declivity by less than one spiracular diameter, propodeal declivity smooth; propodeal dorsum and declivitous margin respectively broadly convex, almost straight in lateral view. Petiole reclined in lateral view, anterior margin straight, dorsal margin convex and slightly overhanging concave posterior margin; subpetiolar process forming narrow anteriorly projecting lobe, anterior ridge present, spiracle situated on anterolateral process, not below it. Postpetiolar process straight in anterior view, ventrally convex; petiole and gaster mostly smooth, some strigulae present along anterior petiolar surface. Fore coxa smooth laterally; basal fore tarsal segment smooth with sparse punctulae, single stout seta situated opposite strigil; second fore tarsal segment with four stout apical setae; fore tarsal segments 2-4 longer than wide; denticle of tarsal claws reduced; meso- and metacoxae dorsally transversely strigulose; metacoxal dorsum unarmed. Dorsum of thorax, and abdominal segments 1-4 usually with scattered erect to subdecumbent hairs. Head, mesosoma light brown; petiole, gaster ferruginous; legs, antennna, mandibles ferruginous yellow.
Queen. Metrics (n = 1): HL 1.08, HW 0.76, ML 0.51, SL 1.12, ED 0.19, WL 1.59 mm. CI 0.70, SI 1.47, MI 0.67, OI 0.25. Sculpturing more defined than worker. Pronotum laterally foveolate; mesopleuron obliquely strigulose; mesonotum longitudinally strigulose; axilla with large punctae on smooth background; scutellum convex, relatively prominent, with median longitudinal sulcus and some punctae, posteriorly with transverse parallel carinulae; metapleuron longitudinally strigulose, metanotum with oblique to longitudinal strigulae.
Holotype worker. Solomon Islands: Guadalcanal, Mt. Austen, ix-xi-1964, P. Greenslade 21478. Deposited in Australian National Insect Collection. Paratype. One dealate queen with same data as holotype deposited in ANIC.
The species name is derived from the Latin pretiosus, meaning “dear” or “precious” and alludes to the aesthetic appeal of this ant.
- Lattke, J. E. 2004. A Taxonomic Revision and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Ant Genus Gnamptogenys Roger in Southeast Asia and Australasia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae). University of California Publications in Entomology 122: 1-266 (page 66, fig. 14 worker, queen described)