Poecilomyrma

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Sarnat and Economo (2012) - Mann named P. senirewae and its subspecies P. myrmecodiae both from the Nadarivatu area. The type series of P. senirewae is actually a mix of both species, and Mann incorrectly believed that the black-headed specimens were minor workers and the red-headed specimens were major workers. He explains that the series was taken from, “a small colony nesting in a hollow twig of a recently felled kauri tree, and a couple of individuals found on leaves.” The type series of P. myrmecodiae was taken from a Myrmecodia ant plant. The confusion Mann experienced with these ants is quite understandable, as additional collections have only contributed to the vexing question of where species boundaries lie. Mann’s prediction that these ants might be “widely distributed though locally hard to find,” has been borne out during the recent survey. Both the geographical and morphological range of this genus was significantly expanded. Poecilomyrma is now known from all seven of the largest islands (only males known from Koro), but records remain quite rare.

Identification

Sarnat and Economo (2012) - Fiji. Head shape ovoid to rectangular. Antenna 12-segmented. Antennal club 3-segmented. Antennal scrobes absent. Anterior clypeal margin variously shaped, but never armed with three broad and blunt teeth. Sides of head lacking carinate ridge extending below eye-level from mandibular insertions to posterolateral head margin. Mandibles triangular; lacking a distinct basal tooth. Mesosoma evenly convex; lacking depression separating promesonotum from propodeum; erect hairs present. Propodeum armed with spines or teeth. Propodeal lobes longer than propodeal spines. Propodeal spines distinctly longer than diameter of propodeal spiracle. Waist 2-segmented. Petiole pedunculate; lacking large anteroventral subpetiolar process.

This sole endemic ant genus of Fiji is also one of the most beautiful ants found on the islands, with a deeply grooved and very shiny integument, reduced propodeal spines, extended and spinose propodeal lobes, a long slender petiole and often striking red and black coloration.

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

 

Distribution

Poecilomyrma is the only ant genus that is strictly endemic to the Fijian archipelago.

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 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862

Biology

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 31 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: ? (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)

Castes

Morphology

Worker Morphology

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Worker Morphology data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.

• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: 3 • Palp formula: 5,3 • Spur formula: 0, 0 • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent; dentiform • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: dentiform • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent

Male Morphology

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Male Morphology data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.

 • Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 5,3 • Total dental count 5 • Spur formula 0, 0

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.

  • POECILOMYRMA [Myrmicinae: Formicoxenini]
    • Poecilomyrma Mann, 1921: 445. Type-species: Poecilomyrma senirewae, by original designation.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Sarnat and Economo (2012) - The morphological variation encountered in Poecilomyrma is very difficult to organize into any geographical or phylogenetic pattern, and even after an earnest study it is to some degree arbitrary as to whether the genus is split into seven species or lumped into one. To begin with, there are three distinct color morphs. Morphotype #1 (as exemplified by P. senirewae) is all red except for the gaster. Morphotype #2 (as exemplified by Poecilomyrma sp. FJ05) has a black gaster and head, a red mesosoma, and infuscated waist segments. Morphotype #3 is entirely black. The sculpture of the mesosoma varies substantially from uniform parallel carinae to fully reticulated rugae. The cephalic sculpture, postpetiole sculpture and length of propodeal spines and lobes all vary, as well. Size also varies conspicuously. However, the aforementioned characters do not appear to be correlated with each other in any meaningful way. For example, particular sculpture patterns do not tend to correlate with color morphotype or with size or with geography.

Despite the great variance among the series of specimens collected, the variance within any particular series is quite low. That is to say, variation among local populations is quite high while variation within local populations is quite low. Similarly highly structured populations are observed in the Fijian Cerapachys. Both of these genera, in Fiji, have wingless ergatoid queens, which may be a factor in the limited gene flow. The challenges of species delineation would be better met by molecular tools capable of penetrating deeper than this cursory study of surface sculpture and color. The males are occasionally collected by malaise trapping, and they exhibit a number of variable characters as well, especially with regard to overall size, relative eye size, and color.

References