Liometopum microcephalum

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Liometopum microcephalum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Liometopum
Species: L. microcephalum
Binomial name
Liometopum microcephalum
(Panzer, 1798)

Liometopum microcephalum casent0249747 p 1 high.jpg

Liometopum microcephalum casent0249747 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Synonyms

Liometopum microcephalum is a rare arboricolous ant, which forms large colonies of high ecological importance and ranks at the top position in the hierarchy of ant assemblages. Many aspects of the species' biology remain unknown due to its scattered occurrence and bad nest accessibility.

Identification

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Albania, Austria (type locality), Balearic Islands, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Association with Other Organisms

Pekar (2020) studied the ant-like spider Micaria sociabilis in the Czech Republic. This spider occurred exclusively on tree trunks where L. microcephalum workers occurred. The abundance of M. sociabilis increased positively with the abundance of L. microcephalum. Experiments using an olfactometer and Y-maze with volatile and contact cues obtained from the two most abundant ant species in the area, L. microcephalum and Lasius fuliginosus, were performed to find whether Micaria preferred any cue. Micaria sociabilis did not respond to volatile cues obtained from the gaster of the two ant species. In contrast, it avoided contact cues from L. fuliginosus and was attracted to contact cues from L. microcephalum ants and its gaster extract in hexane. The results thus show that M. sociabilis associates exclusively with L. microcephalum and is attracted to contact cues from this ant while avoiding cues from the competing ant. This study reveals that Batesian mimics may use kairomones to associate with visual models.

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • microcephalum. Formica microcephala Panzer, 1798: no. 1652 (m.) AUSTRIA. Mayr, 1861: 39 (w.q.). Combination in Liometopum: Mayr, 1861: 39. Senior synonym of austriaca: Mayr, 1861: 39. See also: Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 158; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 189; Shattuck, 1994: 129; Del Toro, et al. 2009: 325.
  • austriaca. Formica austriaca Mayr, 1853a: 144 (w.) AUSTRIA. Junior synonym of microcephalum: Mayr, 1861: 39.

Description

References

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  • Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp. (page 39, Combination in Liometopum, and senior synonym of austriaca)
  • Panzer, G. W. F. 1798. Fauna insectorum germanicae initia, oder Deutschlands Insecten. Heft 54. Nürnberg: Felssecker, 24 pp., 24 pls. (page 1652, male described)
  • Pekar, S. 2020. Ant-mimicking spider actively selects its mimetic model (Araneae: Gnaphosidae; Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 30: 131-137 (doi:10.25849/myrmecol.news_030:131).
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  • Petrakova, L. & Schlaghamersky, J. 2014. Worker polymorphism in the arboricolous ant Liometopum microcephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dolichoderinae): Is it related to territory size? Myrmecological News 20: 101-111.
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