Simopone wilburi

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Simopone wilburi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Simopone
Species: S. wilburi
Binomial name
Simopone wilburi
Weber, 1949

Simopone wilburi casent0004516 p 1 high.jpg

Simopone wilburi casent0004516 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen labels

Specimens have been collected as ground foragers and on low vegetation in rainforest.

Identification

A member of the schoutedeni species group. Closely related to Simopone vepres but separated by the characters in the key. In addition, in the little material available, EL/HW tends to be a little lower in vepres. S. wilburi is known to be size-variable in the worker, an observation that may apply throughout the schoutedeni group. A short series of six wilburi workers from near Minvoul, in Gabon (CASC) produced both the largest and smallest examples of the species noted above (e.g. HW 0.94–1.08), the latter the same size as the holotype; all others fell between these extremes, but of course it is not known if these include the actual minimum and maximum sizes possible. Brown (1975) synonymised wilburi under Simopone schoutedeni, and indeed the two do seem very closely related. But direct comparison of the holotypes of the two shows distinct differences in the size of the eyes and in the shape of AII. These features were consistent in all specimens assigned to wilburi here, and consistently different from the holotype of schoutedeni, still the only known specimen of that species. (Bolton and Fisher 2012)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Democratic Republic of Congo (type locality), Gabon.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about the biology of most species of Simopone. Specimens are rarely collected, and the number of species known only from workers is telling in regards to a lack of nest samples. Species are almost entirely arboreal but on occasion foraging workers are found on the ground or in rotten logs. Prey records are extremely sparse. They consist only of Crematogaster brood by Simopone vepres, and the brood of Terataner by Simopone sicaria. Nevertheless, these two records support the general supposition by Brown (1975) that most or all members of tribe Cerapachyini prey on other ants, or more probably the brood of other ants, but actual records are extremely rare. (Bolton and Fisher 2012)

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • wilburi. Simopone wilburi Weber, 1949a: 7, figs. 6, 7 (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 41 (q.). Junior synonym of schoutedeni: Brown, 1975: 36. Revived from synonymy: Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 40.

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

Description

Worker

Bolton and Fisher (2012) - HL 0.94–1.08, HW 0.64–0.75, SL 0.32–0.40, EL 0.34–0.40, PW 0.47–0.55, AIIW 0.48–0.55, AIIL 0.49–0.58, AIIIW 0.57–0.67, AIIIL 0.58–0.72, WL 1.14–1.36, MFL 0.58–0.69, CI 67–71, SI 50–54, EL/HW 0.51– 0.53, EP 0.86–1.00, AIIW/AIIL 0.93–0.98, AIIIW/AIIIL 0.94–1.00 (7 measured).

With head in full-face view the outlines of the outer margins of the eyes conspicuously project beyond the outlines of the sides of the head through at least the median third of their lengths. ES 0.30–0.35 and width of head across broadest part of eyes 0.67–0.76; minimum distance between eyes 0.28–0.36. Frontal carinae extend back to level of anterior margins of eyes and are weakly divergent posteriorly. Cephalic dorsum with scattered broad, shallow punctures. Ground sculpture is present between the eyes, organised into roughly longitudinal fine costulae or striolae between the punctures; ground sculpture fades out behind the level of the eyes. Leading edge of scape with a few setae, inclined toward the scape apex. Sides of head below and behind eyes with projecting short setae, inclined anteriorly. Cephalic dorsum with numerous short, curved setae and with a few pairs of longer setae present; longest setae occur on the frontal carinae and above the eye. Ventral surface of head with short setae. Mesosoma in dorsal view narrowest across the mesonotum (maximum width 0.46–0.54), broadest across the propodeum (maximum width 0.51–0.62). Anterior margin of pronotum weakly, finely carinate. Propodeum with a fine weak carina between dorsum and declivity. Entire dorsum of mesosoma with widely spaced broad, shallow punctures, somewhat less dense on pronotum than elsewhere. Mesopleuron with a few punctures and a distinct transverse sulcus. Propodeal declivity smooth except for a narrow band of disorganised superficial sculpture immediately below the dorsal carina. In profile, dorsal surfaces of mesosoma and all abdominal tergites with numerous posteriorly curved setae. Standing setae are sparsely present on middle and hind tibiae. AII (petiole) in dorsal view with a weak transverse carina both anteriorly and posteriorly, the sides convex and divergent posteriorly, broadest just behind the midlength; the width across the anterior margin is less than across the posterior margin. Dorsum of AII with large, shallow punctures whose diameters are usually equal to or greater than the distances that separate them. On tergite of AIII the punctures are of similar size and distribution. AII and AIII both usually slightly longer than broad, AIV distinctly broader than long (width 0.68–0.78, length 0.56–0.73; AIVW/AIVL 1.07–1.20). Head capsule and body black; scapes and funiculi dull yellow; femora brown; tibiae and tarsi yellow.

Queen

Bolton and Fisher (2012) - (dealate gyne; not previously described). Answers the description of the worker. About the same size as the largest worker but with a full complement of flight sclerites. HL 1.08, HW 0.74, SL 0.39, EL 0.37, PW 0.56, AIIW 0.54, AIIL 0.58, AIIIW 0.70, AIIIL 0.75, WL 1.44, MFL 0.70, CI 69, SI 53, EL/HW 0.50, EP 0.90, AIIW/ AIIL 0.93, AIIIW/AIIIL 0.93; mesoscutum maximum width 0.64, maximum length 0.40.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Democratic Republic of Congo (“B. Congo” on data label): Ituri F., Beni-Irumu, 17 mi. north of Beni, 24.ii.1948, #2119 (N.A. Weber) (American Museum of Natural History) [examined]. (Bolton and Fisher 2012)

References

  • Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2012. Taxonomy of the cerapachyine ant genera Simopone Forel, Vicinopone gen. n. and Tanipone gen. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 3283, 1–101.
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1975. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. V. Ponerinae, tribes Platythyreini, Cerapachyini, Cylindromyrmecini, Acanthostichini, and Aenictogitini. Search Agric. (Ithaca N. Y.) 5(1 1: 1-115 (page 36, junior synonym of schoutedeni)
  • Weber, N. A. 1949a. New African ants of the genera Cerapachys, Phryacaces, and Simopone. Am. Mus. Novit. 1396: 1-9 (page 6,7, figs. 6, 7 worker described)