Mycetomoellerius mikromelanos

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Mycetomoellerius mikromelanos
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Mycetomoellerius
Species: M. mikromelanos
Binomial name
Mycetomoellerius mikromelanos
Cardenas, Schultz, & Adams, 2021

Mycetomoellerius mikromelanos is the most common ‘funnel Mycetomoellerius’ found on Pipeline Road, near Gamboa, Panama. Gynes establish nests from the start of the rainy season (May) into July. They nest in vertical clay embankments with entrances shaped like funnels (i.e., auricles) with flared margins (Mueller & Wcislo, 1998; Pérez-Ortega et al., 2010). Colonies are often tucked under roots or overhangs and occur in high densities (as close as ∼5cm apart) along creeks or are isolated in the forest at the base of trees. Colonies of M. mikromelanos have up to five vertically arranged chambers with single vertical tunnels between them. We removed the auricles from 16 nests and 15 were rebuilt to roughly the same size within seven days, suggesting the funnel structure appear to be biologically important (Figs. S7 & S8; also see Mueller & Wcislo, 1998; Schultz et al., 2002; Pérez-Ortega et al., 2010; Helms, Peeters & Fisher, 2014). Several functional hypotheses have been proposed from physical barriers for army-ant raids to visual nest recognition cues. But nest entrances could also be involved in gas exchange currents that disperse colony odors or assist with colony respiration (see Longino, 2005; Helms, Peeters & Fisher, 2014). Further research is necessary to clarify their biological function.

Identification

Measurements for all castes are in Table 2 and Table S4. We found characters that reliably separate M. mikromelanos from Mycetomoellerius zeteki. However, due to the variability of worker castes (e.g., mesosoma spines), intermediate character states occur in some individuals. The following characters are those most useful for diagnosis.

Workers (1) cuticle coloration dark-ferrugineous (Figs. 2A–2C); (2) overall integument bearing granulose irrorate sculpturing (Figs. 2A–2C); (3) frontal lobe with crenate margins and weak antero-lateral spine (Fig. 2B); (4) hooked spatulate bi-colored setae medial to frontal carina on disc of head capsule (Fig. 2B); (5) scape surpassing occipital corners when lodged in antennal scrobe (Fig. 2B); (6) convex margin of the compound eye extending past the lateral border of the head by more than half of its visible diameter in full-face view (Fig. 2B).

Gynes (1) cuticle coloration dark-ferrugineous (Figs. 2D–2F); (2) supraocular spine superior to compound eye by more than or equal to the eye length (Fig. 2D); (3) small arcuate ridge superior to and reaching anterior ocellus, with its terminal ends directed postero-laterally (Fig. 2D); (4) lateral ocelli partially obscured in full-face view (Fig. 2D); (5) mesoscutum with random-reticulate sculpturing (Fig. 2F & S5a); (6) wings bicolored, venation ferrugineous-brown (Figs. 2E, 2F] & S5b); (7) hindwing with 7–9 hamuli (Fig. 2E & S5b).

Males (1) bicolored; head and mesosoma ferrugineous-brown; metasoma dark testaceousorange (Fig. 3A); (2) complete carinate-rugulose sculpturing of posterior head capsule, arranged nearly perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the head (Fig. 3A); inferior to frontal lobe, sculpturing sparsely carinate and finely reticulate (Fig. 3A & S6); (3) mandible distinctly smaller compared to M. zeteki; (4) corners of medial clypeal emargination rounded (Fig. 3B & S6) ocelli smaller relative to M. zeteki in full-face view, occipital corner of head capsule visible (Fig. 3B); (6) propodeal spines wider at base than long (Fig. 3A).

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Panama (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • mikromelanos. Mycetomoellerius mikromelanos Cardenas, Schultz, & Adams, in Cardenas et al., 2021: 13, figs. 1-3 (w.q.m.) PANAMA.

Type Material

  • HOLOTYPE: Worker, Republic of Panama. [9.16328, -79.74413, Panama: Colón Province, Pipeline Rd, 16E, 62m, 13.v.2017, Cody Raul Cardenas, CRC170513-04] [USNMENT01123723]. Repository: USNM.
  • PARATYPES: 15 Workers, Republic of Panama. Same label data as holotype. Repositories: USNM (3): USNMENT01123726, USNMENT01123727, USNMENT01123728; MZSP (4): OSUC 640618, OSUC 640619, OSUC 640620, OSUC 640621; STRI (5): OSUC 640635, OSUC 640636, OSUC 640637, OSUC 640638, OSUC 640639; OSUC (3): OSUC 640606, OSUC 640607, OSUC 640608.
  • PARATYPES: 11 Gynes, Republic of Panama. Same label data as holotype. Repositories: USNM (4): USNMENT01123724, USNMENT01123729, USNMENT01123730, USNMENT01123731; MZSP (3): OSUC 640622, OSUC 640623, OSUC 640624; STRI(3): OSUC 640640, OSUC 640641, OSUC 640642; OSUC (1): OSUC 640609. PARATYPES: 7 Males, Republic of Panama. Same label data as holotype. Repositories: USNM (4): USNMENT01123725, USNMENT01123732, USNMENT01129733, USNMENT01129734; MZSP (1): OSUC 640625; STRI (1): OSUC 640643; OSUC (1): OSUC 640610.

Description

References