Pseudomyrmex subater

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Pseudomyrmex subater
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Pseudomyrmex
Species: P. subater
Binomial name
Pseudomyrmex subater
(Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914)

Pseudomyrmex subater casent0173777 profile 1.jpg

Pseudomyrmex subater casent0173777 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Known from Central America, the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas. Ward (1996) notes there is not much known about this ant's biology, but field observations in dry forests of western Mexico (Jalisco) and the Dominican Republic suggest that it is a rather aggressive species that is both polygnynous and polydomous. He also found that P. subater can sometimes be found nesting together with Pseudomyrmex cubaensis, but the nature of their relationship is unclear and this species may be either a temporary social parasite of P. cubaensis" or a facultative slave maker.

Identification

Ward (1985) - P. subater, originally described as a subspecies of Pseudomyrmex elongatus, was recognized as a distinct species by Creighton (1955). It may be distinguished from P. elongatus and Pseudomyrmex cubaensis by the shinier integument, conspicuous pilosity (grading insensibly from appressed pubescence to fine suberect and erect setae), broad head (CI 0.83-0.88), short eyes (REL2 0.54-0.58 in P. subater, > 0.62 in P. elongatus and P. cubaensis), distinct petiolar shape (gradually inclined anterior face rounded into a sharply declining posterior fact: so that NI 0.61-0.72), and conspicuous anteroventral tooth on the postpetiole. Apart from two "cotype" workers in the MCZ from Haiti, I have seen material of P. subater (misidentifif:d as P. elongatus) from the Bahamas (Andros Island, Nassau) and the same, or a closely related species, from Jamaica (Kingston). Wheeler's (1905) record of "elongatus" from the Bahamas appears to be based on a combination of P. subater and P. cubaensis, judging from material in the MCZ.

Recent collections of P. subater from the Bahamas by Blaine Cole show that this species has striking bright orange queens, which look superficially like those of Pseudomyrmex pallidus. Cole also made a collection from a single Cladium culm which contained both P. subater and P. cubaensis workers. These findings suggest that Wheeler's (1905) and Mann's (1920) records of dulotic associations between "flavidula" and "elongata" may have been based in part on pure colonies of P. subater, or mixed colonies of P. subater and P. cubaensis.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Greater Antilles, Guatemala, Haiti (type locality), Mexico, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Ward (1996) - Queens are unusually small for the genus, being about the same size as the workers.

Worker

Queen

Male

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • subater. Pseudomyrma elongata subsp. subatra Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914: 19 (w.) HAITI. Combination in Pseudomyrmex: Kempf, 1972a: 224. Raised to species: Kempf, 1972a: 224. See also: Ward, 1985b: 228; Ward, 1990: 486.

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

Description

Worker

Length 4-4.5 mm.

Differing from the typical elongata and the preceding variety in having the head somewhat shorter, the base of the epinotum shorter, more convex, and more rounded, so that it passes into the declivity with a much less distinct angle. The petiole and postpetiole are somewhat more slender, the former narrower behind, the latter slightly longer than broad. The surface of the body, behind the anterior portion of the head, much more shining, the punctures distinct but finer than in the other forms of elongata and the color much darker, being black, with the anterior portion of the head dark brown and the mandibles, clypeus and antennae paler brown. The legs, including the tarsi, are black throughout.

Type Locality Information

Described from several workers taken at Diquini in the stems of bamboo.

References