Meranoplus

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Meranoplus
Meranoplus mayri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Alliance: Crematogaster genus group
Genus: Meranoplus
Smith, F., 1853
Type species
Cryptocerus bicolor, now Meranoplus bicolor
Diversity
91 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Meranoplus mayri casent0430421 profile 1.jpg

Meranoplus mayri

Meranoplus mayri casent0430421 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Synonyms

Hita Garcia, Wiesel and Fischer (2013) - An genus with more than 80 species that are found in the Old World tropics. The African species of this genus nest in the ground, in rotten wood, or under stones (Bolton, 1981b). Foraging is performed primarily on the ground or in the leaf litter whereas only very few species may additionally climb up trees or shrubs (Bolton, 1981b). Anderson (2006) indicated that the Australian species of this genus are either omnivorous, opportunistically feeding on seeds, or specialised granivores. When disturbed they show a special ‘faking-death’ behaviour. They retract their antennae into the scrobes, tuck their legs under the promesonotal shield and remain motionless (Hölldobler, 1988).

Identification

Boudinot and Fisher (2013) - The delineation of the genus Meranoplus is relatively straightforward; the genus is highly derived and unambiguously defined by several synapomorphies. The genus has been revised and reviewed across its entire distribution over the past few decades (Australasian region: Anderson 2006, Schödl 2004, 2007, Taylor 1990, 2006; Ethiopian region: Bolton 1981; and Oriental region: Schödl 1998, 1999). The genus is diagnosed by the compact mesosoma, which is dorsolaterally and often posterodorsally produced, and by the nine-segmented antenna with a three-segmented club (Bolton 2003).

Meranoplus diversus group

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Keys including this Genus

 

Keys to Species in this Genus

Distribution

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 9 52 16 4 0 0 13 3
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862

Fossils

Fossils are known from: Zhangpu amber, Zhangpu County, Fujian Province, China (Miocene) (an unidentified species, Wang et al., 2021).

Biology

Schodle 2007. Plate 1.

Boudinot and Fisher (2013) - Species of this genus are predominantly ground-nesting and, when disturbed, will display thanatosis enhanced by crypsis, i.e., individuals will accumulate dirt in their pilosity and play dead (Dornhaus & Powell 2010). With respect to diet, most species are omnivores and facultative granivores, while others, including the whole Meranoplus diversus species group, are specialist granivores (Anderson 2000, 2006). At least one species, the Malaysian rainforest-dwelling Meranoplus mucronatus, is known to have a trophobiotic relationship with hemipterans (Maschwitz et al. 1987). Meranoplus species are known to be active both day and night (Gross et al. 1991), and to recruit via pheromone trails laid from the base of the sting using secretions from their extremely large Dufour glands (Hölldobler 1988; Billen et al. 2009; Billen & Taylor 1993). The function of the spatulate sting is still unknown (Kugler 1979). The only species of Meranoplus for which mating has been reported is Meranoplus peringueyi, in which mating swarms occurred after a rain and where males patrolled for the outnumbered females in a zig-zag manner (Robertson & Villet 1989; Schulmeister 2001).

Flight Period

All Flight Records for Genus

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Taxon Month Source Notes
Meranoplus bicolor Jan Feb Apr May Jun Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec antkeeping.info

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 150 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary (Greer et al., 2021)

Castes

Morphology

Worker Morphology

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• Antennal segment count: 9 • Antennal club: 3 • Palp formula: 5,3 • Total dental count: 3-5 • Spur formula: 1 simple, 1 simple; 0, 0 • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: dentiform; present • Mesonotal Spines: present • Propodeal Spines: present • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent

Male Morphology

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 • Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 5,3 • Total dental count 1 • Spur formula 0, 1 simple; 0, 0

Karyotype

Species Uncertain

  • Meranoplus sp.(ANIC-4): 2n = 22 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).
  • Meranoplus sp.(ANIC-5): 2n = 22 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).
  • Meranoplus: 2n = 22 (Australia) (Crozier, 1970b) ('Meranoplus hirsutus group).
  • Meranoplus: n = 10 (Australia) (Crozier, 1966) ('Meranoplus oceanicus group).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Meranoplus 22 Australia Imai et al., 1977
Meranoplus 22 Australia Crozier, 1970b 'Meranoplus hirsutus'' group
Meranoplus 10 Australia Crozier, 1966 'Meranoplus oceanicus'' group
Meranoplus bicolor 16 India; Indonesia Imai et al., 1984; Imai et al., 1985
Meranoplus minor 22 Australia Imai et al., 1977

Phylogeny

Myrmicinae
Myrmicini
Pogonomyrmecini
Stenammini
Solenopsidini
Attini

Ochetomyrmex  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Tranopelta  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Diaphoromyrma  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Lachnomyrmex  (16 species, 0 fossil species)

Blepharidatta  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Allomerus  (8 species, 0 fossil species)

Wasmannia  (11 species, 0 fossil species)

Pheidole  (1,294 species, 7 fossil species)

Cephalotes  (123 species, 16 fossil species)

Procryptocerus  (44 species, 0 fossil species)

Strumigenys  (879 species, 4 fossil species)

Phalacromyrmex  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Pilotrochus  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Protalaridris  (7 species, 0 fossil species)

Rhopalothrix  (19 species, 0 fossil species)

Basiceros  (9 species, 0 fossil species)

Octostruma  (35 species, 0 fossil species)

Eurhopalothrix  (54 species, 0 fossil species)

Talaridris  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Acanthognathus  (7 species, 1 fossil species)

Daceton  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Lenomyrmex  (7 species, 0 fossil species)

Microdaceton  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Orectognathus  (29 species, 0 fossil species)

Colobostruma  (16 species, 0 fossil species)

Epopostruma  (20 species, 0 fossil species)

Mesostruma  (9 species, 0 fossil species)

Paleoattina

Apterostigma  (44 species, 2 fossil species)

Mycocepurus  (6 species, 0 fossil species)

Myrmicocrypta  (31 species, 0 fossil species)

Neoattina

Cyatta  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Kalathomyrmex  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Mycetarotes  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Mycetosoritis  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

some Cyphomyrmex  (23 species, 2 fossil species)

some Cyphomyrmex

Paramycetophylax  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Mycetophylax  (21 species, 0 fossil species)

Mycetagroicus  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Mycetomoellerius  (31 species, 1 fossil species)

Sericomyrmex  (11 species, 0 fossil species)

Xerolitor  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Paratrachymyrmex  (9 species, 0 fossil species)

Trachymyrmex  (9 species, 0 fossil species)

Amoimyrmex  (3 species, 0 fossil species)

Atta  (20 species, 1 fossil species)

some Acromyrmex  (56 species, 0 fossil species)

some Acromyrmex

Pseudoatta  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Crematogastrini

Rostromyrmex  (1 species, 6 fossil species)

Cardiocondyla  (90 species, 0 fossil species)

Ocymyrmex  (34 species, 0 fossil species)

Nesomyrmex  (84 species, 2 fossil species)

Xenomyrmex  (5 species, 0 fossil species)

Terataner  (14 species, 0 fossil species)

Atopomyrmex  (3 species, 0 fossil species)

Cataulacus  (65 species, 3 fossil species)

Carebara  (249 species, 9 fossil species)

Diplomorium  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Melissotarsus  (4 species, 1 fossil species)

Rhopalomastix  (14 species, 0 fossil species)

Calyptomyrmex  (38 species, 0 fossil species)

Strongylognathus  (27 species, 0 fossil species), Tetramorium  (598 species, 2 fossil species)

Cyphoidris  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Dicroaspis  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Aretidris  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Vollenhovia  (83 species, 3 fossil species)

Dacetinops  (7 species, 0 fossil species)

Indomyrma  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Crematogaster  (783 species, 3 fossil species)

Meranoplus  (91 species, 0 fossil species)

Lophomyrmex  (13 species, 0 fossil species)

Adlerzia  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Recurvidris  (12 species, 0 fossil species)

Stereomyrmex  (3 species, 0 fossil species)

Trichomyrmex  (29 species, 0 fossil species)

Eutetramorium  (3 species, 0 fossil species)

Royidris  (15 species, 0 fossil species)

Malagidris  (6 species, 0 fossil species)

Vitsika  (16 species, 0 fossil species)

Huberia  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Podomyrma  (62 species, 1 fossil species)

Liomyrmex  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Metapone  (31 species, 0 fossil species)

Kartidris  (6 species, 0 fossil species)

Mayriella  (9 species, 0 fossil species)

Tetheamyrma  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Dacatria  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Proatta  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Dilobocondyla  (22 species, 0 fossil species)

Secostruma  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Acanthomyrmex  (19 species, 0 fossil species)

Myrmecina  (106 species, 0 fossil species)

Perissomyrmex  (6 species, 0 fossil species)

Pristomyrmex  (61 species, 3 fossil species)

some Lordomyrma  (36 species, 0 fossil species)

Propodilobus  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Lasiomyrma  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

some Lordomyrma

Ancyridris  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

some Lordomyrma

Paratopula  (12 species, 0 fossil species)

Poecilomyrma  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Romblonella  (10 species, 0 fossil species)

Rotastruma  (3 species, 0 fossil species)

Gauromyrmex  (3 species, 0 fossil species)

Vombisidris  (19 species, 0 fossil species)

Temnothorax  (512 species, 7 fossil species)

Harpagoxenus  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Formicoxenus  (8 species, 0 fossil species)

Leptothorax  (20 species, 0 fossil species)

See Phylogeny of Myrmicinae for details.

Nomenclature

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

  • MERANOPLUS [Myrmicinae: Meranoplini]
    • Meranoplus Smith, F. 1853: 224. Type-species: Cryptocerus bicolor, by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903: 166.
  • TRICYTARUS [junior synonym of Meranoplus]
    • Tricytarus Donisthorpe, 1947d: 187. Type-species: Tricytarus parviumgulatus, by original designation.
    • Tricytarus unidenifiable taxon. Male-based genus, description inadequate. Type-material not present in California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, U.S.A., nor in The Natural History Museum, London, U.K., presumed lost: Bolton, 2003: 254.
    • Tricytarus junior synonym of Meranoplus: Boudinot, 2014: 96.

References