Protanilla wardi

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Protanilla wardi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Leptanillinae
Tribe: Anomalomyrmini
Genus: Protanilla
Species: P. wardi
Binomial name
Protanilla wardi
Bharti & Akbar, 2015

Bharti-Akbar-2015-3.jpg Bharti-Akbar-2015-1.jpg

The two known specimens of this species were collected from Silent Valley National Park, which forms the core area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Region. The specimens were collected from leaf litter of approximately 2 cm thickness. The study area is situated at an altitude of 900 m above mean sea level. It is a shady place exposed to limited sunlight. Mean annual temperature of the region is 20.2 °C with average annual rainfall 6066 mm and 95% relative humidity.

Photo Gallery

  • Protanilla wardi worker head. Western Ghats, Kerala, India. Photo by Manoj Vembayam.
  • Protanilla wardi worker. Western Ghats, Kerala, India. Photo by Manoj Vembayam.

Identification

Bharti & Akbar (2015) - P. wardi is somewhat allied to Protanilla rafflesi for its anteriorly concave petiolar node, but the new species is easily separated from the latter by its vertical, not anteriorly inclined postpetiolar node. Also in P. wardi petiolar node nearly square in dorsal view, as broad as long, weakly narrowed backward (PNL 0.24, PNW 0.25, PNH 0.37) while in P. rafflesi petiolar node anteroposteriorly compressed in dorsal view, distinctly broader than long, weakly widened backward (PNL 0.17, PNW 0.24, PNH 0.29). The new species also shares some affinities with Protanilla lini in vertical postpetiolar node, however the two species can be easily differentiated from each other: P. wardi is smaller in size (TL 1.84, HL 0.56, HW 0.44), mandibles with 20 peg-like teeth, anterior clypeal margin straight, anterior face of petiole concave; while P. lini is larger in size (TL 2.9, HL 0.60, HW 0.48), mandibles with 10 peg-like teeth, anterior clypeal margin concave, anterior face of petiole straight.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Two specimens were collected from Silent Valley National Park, which forms the core area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Region. The specimens were collected from leaf litter of approximately 2 cm thickness. The study area is situated at an altitude of 900 m above mean sea level. It is a shady place exposed to limited sunlight. Mean annual temperature of the region is 20.2 °C with average annual rainfall 6066 mm and 95% relative humidity. The region is famous for its undisturbed tropical moist evergreen forests. Eleven distinct evergreen vegetation types are identified in the region with Dipterocarpus, Humboldtia, Diospyros, Persea, Mesua, Poeciloneuron, and Hopea, plant genera of most common occurrence. The unique geomorphic and physiographic features with characteristic Archaean peaks form main skeleton of the region. The region is an ecological island free from anthropogenic interferences and harbors rare and endemic flora and fauna (Nair, 1991).

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • wardi. Protanilla wardi Bharti & Akbar, 2015: 574, figs. 1-3 (w.) INDIA.

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

Description

Worker

(holotype in brackets) TL1.84-(1.85), HL 0.54-(0.56), HW 0.42-(0.44), CI 77-(78), SL 0.44-(0.45), SI (102)-104, ML 0.80-(0.82), PW 0.28-(0.29), WL 0.89-(0.91), PNL 0.23-(0.24), PNH 0.35-(0.37), PNW 0.24-(0.25), PPNL 0.18-(0.19), PPNH 0.36-(0.37), PPNW 0.26-(0.28) (2 individuals measured).

In full face view, head longer than broad, narrowed anteriorly. Sides evenly convex, anterolateral corners of head prominent and tooth-like. Posterior margin almost straight, slightly concave, posterior corners gently rounded. Mandibles elongate and down-curved apically, dorsolateral surface with a longitudinal groove, basal corners roundly prominent, masticatory margin with 20 peg-like teeth. Clypeus nearly trapezoidal, with a depressed longitudinal central line, anterior margin straight. Apex of labrumroundly convex,with 4 peg-like teeth. Antennae 12-segmented, apex of scape surpasses occipital corner by about 1/6 of its length, flagellar segments 4–9 about as broad as long.

In profile view dorsum of pronotum slightly convex. Promesonotal suture distinct, depressed. Dorsum of mesonotum straight, slopes down posteriorly. Metanotal groove strongly notched. Dorsum of propodeum weakly slopes down posteriorly, posterodorsal corner evenly convex; declivity weakly convex, about 1/2 length of the dorsum. In profile view petiolar node narrowed upward, anterior face concave, posterior face straight while dorsum slightly convex; anterodorsal corner pointed and posterodorsal corner rounded. Ventral face of petiole projected forward, anteroventral corner extruding, without a circular semitransparent fenestra; posterior margin slightly convex. Postpetiolar node vertical, with dorsum roundly convex, anterodorsal corner rounded, posterodorsal corner bluntly angled; ventral face strongly inclined forward, anteroventral corner bluntly pointed. Sting strong and extruding.

In dorsal view mesonotum constricted. Both petiolar node and postpetiolar node transverse and almost as broad as long; sides evenly convex, anterior and posterior faces nearly straight. Anterior margin of gaster slightly concave.

Mandibles smooth and shiny, sparsely punctured. Head and body smooth and shiny. Dorsum of head and gaster with sparse erect to suberect hairs and sparse decumbent pubescence. Mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole with sparse erect to suberect hairs and abundant decumbent pubescence. Scapes and tibiae with abundant suberect to subdecumbent hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Mandibles and antennal sockets with long hairs. Body in color blackish brown, mesosoma with slight reddish-brown tinge; head, legs, petiole and postpetiole brownish yellow.

Type Material

Holotype worker: India, Kerala, Silent Valley National Park (11°53′N, 76°26′E), 900 m, Winkler method, 24.x.2011, Shahid A. Akbar leg. Paratype: 1 worker, with same data as holotype. Holotype in Punjabi University Ant Collection and Paratype will be deposited in The Natural History Museum.

Etymology

The new species is named after Prof. Philip S. Ward.

References

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Dad J. M., S. A. Akbar, H. Bharti, and A. A. Wachkoo. 2019. Community structure and ant species diversity across select sites ofWestern Ghats, India. Acta Ecologica Sinica 39: 219–228.