Mycetophylax

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Mycetophylax
Mycetophylax conformis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Mycetophylax
Emery, 1913
Type species
Myrmicocrypta brittoni (junior synonym of Mycetophylax conformis)
Diversity
21 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Mycetophylax conformis casent0905913 p 1 high.jpg

Mycetophylax conformis casent0905913 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Evolutionary Relationships
Neoattina

Cyatta (1 species), Kalathomyrmex (1 species)





Mycetarotes
  (4 species)



Mycetosoritis
  (2 species)






some Cyphomyrmex
  (23 species)




some Cyphomyrmex
  (23 species)



Paramycetophylax
  (1 species)






Mycetophylax
  (21 species)




Mycetagroicus
  (4 species)





Mycetomoellerius
  (31 species)




Sericomyrmex
  (11 species)



Xerolitor
  (1 species)






Paratrachymyrmex
  (9 species)




Trachymyrmex
  (9 species)




Amoimyrmex
  (3 species)




Acromyrmex
  (56 species)



Atta
  (20 species)












Based on Ward et al. (2014), Blaimer et al. (2018), Li et al. (2018), Cristiano et al. (2020) and Hanisch et al. (2022).

A genus of fungus growing ants. Mycetophylax is a rather compact taxon, including three species that nest only in “restingas” (sandy dunes) along the South Atlantic coast, where they may be locally abundant, and in Venezuela and Puerto Rico, along beaches of the Caribbean Sea. Mycetophylax conformis was found inland only once in French Guiana (U. Mueller, pers. comm.), but also nesting in sandy soil. (Klingenberg and Brandao 2009)

At a Glance • Fungus Grower  

 

Identification

The species of the more narrowly defined Mycetophylax can be easily separated from other Attini by the subtriangular head shape, well developed frontal lobes which completely cover the antennal insertions, absence of deeply impressed antennal scrobes, triangular mandibles, median clypeal seta present, mesonotum without spines or protuberances, and the posterior margin of postpetiole straight without any impression; in alate forms the radial cell of forewing is closed. (Klingenberg and Brandao 2009)

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

 

Keys to Species in this Genus

Distribution

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Biology

At the Isle of Florianópolis (state of Santa Catarina, Brazil), Mycetophylax simplex and Mycetophylax morschi occur at the same beaches, but do not compete for fungus substrate. M. simplex builds nests in the bare sandy area, while M. morschi prefers areas covered with permanent vegetation. Biological data or life history observations are too scant to afford any interpretation. For observations on nest and colony structures of these species see Klingenberg et al. (2007).

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 9-535 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: herbivore (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary (Greer et al., 2021)

Castes

Morphology

Worker Morphology

 • Eyes: 11-100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent

Karyotype

All Karyotype Records for Genus

Explore Data: All, Drilldown
Click here to show/hide karyotype data.
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Mycetophylax conformis 30 11M + 4SM Brazil Micolino et al., 2019
Mycetophylax conformis 15 30 22M+8SM Brazil Cardoso et al., 2012a; Cardoso et al., 2014; Moura et al., 2020
Mycetophylax morschi 26 9M + 3SM + 1A Brazil Micolino et al., 2019
Mycetophylax morschi 28 Brazil Moura et al., 2020
Mycetophylax morschi 28 9M + 5SM Brazil Micolino et al., 2019
Mycetophylax morschi 30 9M + 5SM + 1A Brazil Micolino et al., 2019
Mycetophylax morschi 13 26 18M+10SM+2A Brazil Cardoso et al., 2012a; Cardoso et al., 2014; Moura et al., 2020
Mycetophylax morschi 15 30 18M+6SM+2A Brazil Cardoso et al., 2012a; Cardoso et al., 2014; Moura et al., 2020
Mycetophylax simplex 36 10M + 8SM Brazil Micolino et al., 2019
Mycetophylax simplex 18 36 20M+16SM Brazil Cardoso et al., 2012a; Cardoso et al., 2014

Nomenclature

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

  • MYCETOPHYLAX [Myrmicinae: Attini]
    • Mycetophylax Emery, 1913b: 251 [as subgenus of Cyphomyrmex]. Type-species: Myrmicocrypta brittoni (junior synonym of Cyphomyrmex conformis), by original designation.
    • Mycetophylax subgenus of Myrmicocrypta: Gallardo, 1916d: 320.
    • Mycetophylax subgenus of Cyphomyrmex: Emery, 1924d: 343.
    • Mycetophylax raised to genus: Santschi, 1923c: 268.

Description

Klingenberg and Brandao 2009:

Worker

Monomorphic ants belonging to the Attini tribe. Integument areolate, smooth and shiny at the metapleural gland. Sculpture of the mandible discs varies between species. Hairs short, appressed. Head longer than wide, almost triangular, the greatest width of head at posterior third. Compound eyes at the anterior third of head capsule, convex, surpassing the lateral margin in frontal view. Anterior margin of labrum slightly concave in the middle otherwise rounded. Triangular mandibles with seven to ten teeth at masticatory margin, which is smooth, without any trace of sculpture. Apical teeth longer than the others, which are reduced in size basally; the most basal tooth appearing as a denticle. Posterior portion of clypeus extending up to the level of the antennal insertions. Posterior margin of clypeus visible as a distinct suture; frontal area triangular and shallowly impressed. Area between preocular carina and frontal carina free of hairs, distinct (in Mycetophylax morschi this area is particularly impressed, although the lateral expansion covers only the base base of the scapes, and not as in the true antennal scrobes of Cyphomyrmex, where most if not all of the scape can be lodged inside the scrobe). Frontal lobes laterally produced and covering the antennal insertions; frontal carinae reaching the posterior third of the head. Vertexal margin concave; posterolateral lobes rounded. Mesosoma without spines, smooth or bearing only rounded protuberances. Pronotal shoulders rounded. Promesonotum moderately convex in profile. Propodeal spiracle clearly visible, as well as the opening of the metapleural gland. Petiole longer than high; in lateral view, peduncle very short, with an undifferentiated node. Subpetiolar process always distinct, blunt, with rounded apex. In dorsal view, postpetiole always wider and longer than the petiole. Posterior margin of postpetiole straight, without an impression or distinct lobes.

Gaster without tubercles or protuberances; a little smaller than the head.

Queen

Color, pilosity and sculpture as in conspecific workers, but with three equally developed ocelli in the middle of the head. Anteriorly rounded scutum, scutum-scutellar sulcus convex in relation to the scutum. Axilla well developed. Parapsides almost indistinct, set between parapsidial lines and latero-posterior margin of the scutum which is limited by a carina. Anepisternum and katepisternum divided by a suture. Katepisternum anterior border sinuous. Petiole, postpetiole and gaster like those of the workers. Gaster with the same width as the head.

Male

Pilosity similar to that of conspecific workers and gynes. Triangular mandibles with five to seven teeth; the apical always longer than the others. Clypeus bulging until the frontal area. Head without antennal scrobes, at most with a depressed area where the antennae articulate; antennal scapes almost twice as long as the funiculus and always surpassing the posterolateral corners of the head. Small, impressed, hairless frontal area. Compound eyes set at the anterior half of head, occupying almost half to one fourth of its lateral margin, in full face view. Three equally developed ocelli. Antennae with 12 to 13 segments. Anterior part of scutum smooth with a median hairless furrow. Parapsidial lines parallel in relation to the main body axis. In dorsal view, prescutellum slender and scutellum narrower posteriorly. Posterior border of scutellum concave, with two protuberances directed backwards. Katepisternum and anepisternum divided by a distinct suture. Petiole and postpetiole like those of conspecific workers. Gaster slender, twice as wide as the postpetiole, with the same width as the head including compound eyes.

References