Polyrhachis rufofemorata

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Polyrhachis rufofemorata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Myrma
Species: P. rufofemorata
Binomial name
Polyrhachis rufofemorata
Smith, F., 1859

Polyrhachis rufofemorata casent0217796 p 1 high.jpg

Polyrhachis rufofemorata casent0217796 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Subspecies
Synonyms

Polyrhachis rufofemorata is lignicolous, selecting various plant cavities for its nesting sites, with most colonies found occupying hollow internodes of standing dead bamboo.

Identification

A member of the Polyrhachis relucens species group.

As indicated by Kohout (1989, 1998), P. rufofemorata appears in two distinct forms that differ primarily in the development of the petiolar node. In the nominal form, including most of its synonyms (P. merops Fr. Smith, 1860, P. biroi Forel, 1907 and P. biroi paprika Forel, 1911), the petiole is simply angulate or at most minutely dentate, while it is clearly spinose in P. biroi bidentata. Both forms are relatively common throughout New Guinea and are occasionally sympatric. However, it appears that Indonesian populations of P. rufofemorata include only the nominal form, while Australian populations are characterised by the distinctly spinose petiole. Queens of both forms are very similar with only a little variability demonstrated between various populations.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

The known distribution of P. rufofemorata extends from the Moluccas and New Guinea to northern Australia, where it occurs at Iron Range on Cape York Peninsula (Kohout, 2012).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia.
Indo-Australian Region: Indonesia (type locality), New Guinea.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Fungi

This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilaterialis (a pathogen) (Shrestha et al., 2017).

Castes

Males and immature stages are present in the ANlC and RJK spirit collections.

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • rufofemorata. Polyrhachis rufofemoratus Smith, F. 1859a: 142 (w.) INDONESIA (Aru I.). Kohout, 1989: 514 (w.q.). Combination in P. (Myrma): Emery, 1925b: 202. Senior synonym of merops: Bolton, 1974b: 178; of bidentata, biroi, paprika: Kohout, 1998: 523. Current subspecies: nominal plus atra.
  • merops. Polyrhachis merops Smith, F. 1860b: 98, pl. 1, fig. 17 (w.) INDONESIA (Batjan I.). Combination in P. (Myrma): Emery, 1925b: 202. Subspecies of rufofemorata: Emery, 1898a: 228; Donisthorpe, 1932c: 460. Junior synonym of rufofemorata: Bolton, 1974b: 178.
  • biroi. Polyrhachis biroi Forel, 1907a: 40 (w.) INDONESIA (Ambon I.). Combination in P. (Myrma): Emery, 1925b: 200. Junior synonym of rufofemorata: Kohout, 1998: 523.
  • paprika. Polyrhachis biroi var. paprika Forel, 1911e: 296 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Combination in P. (Myrma): Emery, 1925b: 200. Junior synonym of rufofemorata: Kohout, 1998: 523.
  • bidentata. Polyrhachis biroi var. bidentata Stitz, 1912: 512 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Combination in P. (Myrma): Emery, 1925b: 200. Junior synonym of rufofemorata: Kohout, 1998: 523.

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

Description

Worker

Kohout (1989) - Dimensions: TL 8.47-9.58; HL 2.27-2.53; HW 1.62-1.84; CI 71-77; SL 2.71-3.02; SI 154-170; PW 1.03-1.31; MTL 3.02-3.48 (35 measured).

Mandibles with 5 teeth. Clypeus sinuate in profile, convex above, concave below; median carina more or less distinct; anterior margin truncated medially. Sides of head in front of eyes only feebly convex (almost straight in some specimens), slightly converging anteriorly; behind the eyes broadly convex. Eyes convex, in full face view not or only marginally breaking the outline of the head. Median ocellus weakly marked in some specimens. Frontal carinae sinuate with sharply raised lobes. Pronotum with a pair of long, divergent, somewhat flattened spines; their outer borders continuous, with posteriorly diverging lateral margins. Mesonotal dorsum wider than pronotum at the base, transversely convex, lateral margins acute but not laminate. Propodeal dorsum deeply concave between lateral margins, which form almost vertically raised lamellate flanges; posterior angles rounded, not acute. Petiole scale-like. with dorsal edge usually angulate or dentate, but also distinctly spinose, as in some New Guinean and all known Australian populations. Base of first gastral tergite very shallowly concave.

Mandibles finely longitudinally striate, with numerous piliferous pits. Anterior c1ypeal margin medially with a row of distinct pits from which long hairs arise. Sculpturation of the head and mesosoma consisting of fine to coarse reticulations, with dorsum of the head more or less longitudinally striate. Intensity of the sculpturation decreasing posteriorly, the petiole and gaster finely shagreened.

Short to medium long, semierect, yellow to rusty-brown hairs scattered all over the body. Short appressed pubescence of variable density everywhere, but almost absent from the petiole and the base of the first gastral tergite; colour of the pubescence yellow with distinct reddish tint on dorsum of head, -mesosoma and gaster, more silvery on lateral and ventral surfaces of the body and appendages.

Body distinctly bicoloured; black, with the petiole, base of the first gastral tergite, coxae and femora, save for their apical portions, light to medium reddish-brown. Tips of the petiolar spines or dentic1es also black.

Queen

Kohout (1989) - Dimensions: TL 9.42-10.43; HL 2.37-2.59; HW 1.68-1.89; CI 70-75; SL 2.77-3.02; SI 154-168; PW 1.61-1.91; MTL 3.17-3.53 (14 measured).

Female larger, with the usual characters identifying full sexuality. The sculpturation, pubescence and coloration is similar to that of the worker. Eyes convex, usually breaking the outline of the head. Configuration of the petiolar spines cute teeth, situated along the dorsal edge of the segment between the distinct lateral angles.

Type Material

Kohout (2008) - Holotype worker. Type locality: INDONESIA, Aru Is (A. R. Wallace), Oxford University Museum of Natural History (examined).

Polyrhachis rufofemoratus type material.
Holotype worker from Aru Island, Indonesia (A.R. Wallace) (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) (examined by Kohout, 2012).

Polyrhachis biroi bidentata type material.
Syntype workers from Sattelberg, New Guinea (Lauterbach) (Berlin Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität) (examined by Kohout, 2012).

The following notes on F. Smith type specimens have been provided by Barry Bolton (details):

Polyrhachis merops

Holotype worker in Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Labelled “Bac.” (= Batjan I.) and with a Donisthorpe type-label.

Polyrhachis rufofemoratus

Holotype worker in Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Labelled “Aru 7” (= Aru I., New Guinea) and with a Donisthorpe type-label.

Additional specimens are present in Oxford University Museum of Natural History, from “Ceram” (= Seram I.), “Wag.” (= Waigeo I.) and “Gor.” (=?).

References

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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  • Chapman, J. W., and Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327
  • Donisthorpe H. 1947. Ants from New Guinea, including new species and a new genus. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (11)13: 577-595.
  • Donisthorpe, Horace. 1943. The Ants of Waigeu Island, North Dutch New Guinea. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History 11 (10): 433-475.
  • Emery C. 1886. Saggio di un catalogo sistematico dei generi Camponotus, Polyrhachis e affini. Memorie della Reale Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna 5: 363-382
  • Emery C. 1887. Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia. [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 24(4): 209-258.
  • Emery C. 1898. Descrizioni di formiche nuove malesi e australiane. Note sinonimiche. Rendiconti delle Sessioni della Reale Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna (n.s.)2: 231-245.
  • Emery C. 1901. Formiciden von Celebes. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 14:565-580.
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  • Emery, C. "Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia." Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria (Genova) (2) 4, no. 24 (1887): 209-258.
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  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on http://www.newguineants.org/. Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
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