Temnothorax allardycei

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Temnothorax allardycei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species: T. allardycei
Binomial name
Temnothorax allardycei
(Mann, 1920)

Temnothorax allardycei casent0104009 profile 1.jpg

Temnothorax allardycei casent0104009 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Synonyms

This species nests in and around marshy areas and swamps in southern Florida and the Caribbean. They are often found living in the culms of sawgrass plants but colonies have also been found in hollow twigs and vines. This ant was once the focus of intensive behavioral caste studies by Blaine Cole [1].

Identification

Usually pale yellow, occasionally brownish yellow. Workers with short robust scapes that do not reach the occiputal margin; funiculus with a three segmented club that can be half of the length of the entire funiculus. Eyes large and convex; situated at middle of sides of head. Spines on propodeum widely separated at base, longer than peduncle, sickle-shaped, curved downward and moderately divergent.

Distribution

This species occurs in the Bahamas, tropical Florida and possibly Cuba (its presence in Cuba needs confirmation). It is a twig nesting species that might have been imported in nursery stock. The first published record is Wheeler 1931. (Deyrup, Davis & Cover, 2000.)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Bahamas (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Habitat

This species is typically found in swamps and areas that are periodically inundated, e.g., nesting in sawgrass culms and at the edge of swamps and in floodplain forests.

Abundance

Colonies occur in relatively low densities even in this ant's preferred habitats.

Biology

Colony Attributes

Cole (1994) states colonies average 60 workers. Kaspari and Vargo (1995) report a mean of 53 ants per colony (n=30) and cite Cole (1984) as the source of this data. The cited paper does not explicitly provide this information but does include a graph of per colony worker number X per colony brood number for 28 colonies.

(Cole 1984) Twenty percent of colonies contain no queen. Colonies exhibit a linear relationship between colony size, i.e., number of workers, and brood number. There is, on average, 1.32 brood per worker.

Nesting Habits

The type specimens were collected from the hollow stem of a sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis) plant. Cole conducted much of his research with Temnothorax allardycei colonies collected from sawgrass culms in the Florida Keys.

Deyrup and Cover (2004) report "Nests are usually in hollow twigs or vines on living trees, occasionally in sawgrass culms at edges of marshes; in Bahamas sometimes in fallen twigs. Often in poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum)."

Behavior

The behavior of this species has been the focus of intensive study by Blaine Cole [1]. The following presents some highlights of the findings from these behavioral studies but does not begin to approach presenting an exhaustive summary of this work.

Cole's insightful research led to discovery that dominance hierarchies can occur within ant colonies (Cole 1982). Of equal significance was showing that the highest ranking individuals were able to solicit more food from other workers than their subordinates. The flow of food through the colony was up the chain of dominance, with no food being given from dominant to subordinate adult workers. Dominate workers also found to exhibit greater ovarian development than their coworkers. Cole was able to show that the dominant workers were producing 22% of the eggs in a colony and that these eggs did developed into normal males.

These studies also examined how workers spend their time and showed (as reported from the abstract of Cole 1986): "Analysis of time budgets indicate that a typical ant spends a large fraction (0.55) of its time quiescent and another large fraction of time (0.32) involved in undifferentiated activity. Dominance activity and brood care together make up about 11% of the total time. The amount of time spent on dominance activity is negatively related to the amount of time spent on brood care, but positively related to the amount of time that an ant is active. The amount of time that an ant has available for brood care which is actually spent on brood care declines with the amount of time spent on dominance activity. The amount of time that a worker spends feeding liquid food to larvae is a function of hierarchy rank; alpha spends the most time, beta less and gamma still less."

Association with Other Organisms

This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Orasema minuta (a parasite) (Heraty, 1990; Baker et al., 2019; Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)
  • Queen type: winged (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (queenless and queen-right worker reproduction)
  • Worker-produced males: present (Cole, 1981; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (queenless and queenright worker reproduction)

Castes

Mann (1920): The most curious thing about the species is the presence of some degree of polymorphism, one worker, the largest in the series, having the head proportionately broader than the others and the epinotal spines bent slightly upward.

Queen

Male

Nomenclature

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

  • allardycei. Macromischa (Macromischa) allardycei Mann, 1920: 414, fig. 3 (w.q.) BAHAMAS. Combination in Leptothorax: Baroni Urbani, 1978b: 415; in Temnothorax: Bolton, 2003: 271. Senior synonym of floridanus: Baroni Urbani, 1978b: 415.
  • floridanus. Antillaemyrmex floridanus Wheeler, W.M. 1931b: 27 (w.) U.S.A. [Unresolved junior secondary homonym of Leptothorax floridanus Emery, above.] Combination in Macromischa: Wheeler, W.M. 1937b: 465. Junior synonym of allardycei: Baroni Urbani, 1978b: 415.

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

Description

Worker

Temnothorax-allardycei-Mann.jpg

Head longer than broad, as broad in front as behind with feebly convex sides and occipital border. Mandibles with five teeth. Clypeus convex, tricarinate; anterior border straight. Antenna short, scapes extending about two-thirds the distance to occipital corners in the smallest workers and three-fourths in the largest; first funicular joint more than twice as long as the two following joints together; joints three to eight twice as broad as long; club well-defined, as long as the rest of funiculus, with the first and second joints only slightly longer than broad and the terminal joint distinctly longer than the other two together. Eyes large and convex; situated at middle of sides of head. Thorax robust, without sutures, slightly tapering from greatest width (at anterior part of pronotum) to the epinotal declivity. Epinotal spines widely separated at base, longer than peduncle, sickle-shaped, curved downward and moderately divergent. Petiole with a thick peduncle, shorter than the node, armed anteroventrally with a strong, elongate tooth; node longer than high, dorsal surface broad (in profile but slightly convex), anterior and posterior surfaces sloping; from above evenly tapering into the peduncle, with two minute lateral tubercles a little in front of middle. Postpetiole a little broader than the petiole and broader than long, slightly narrowed in front, with moderately rounded sides. Gaster short and broad. Sting very feeble. Femora and tibiae somewhat swollen.

Shining throughout. Mandibles striate. Head, thorax, epinotum, and petiole reticulately carinulate, with the intermediate spaces foveolately punctate and rugulose. Postpetiole rugulose. Gaster and legs minutely punctate and more shining than the rest.

Erect, stiff, acuminate, yellowish hairs moderately abundant on head, body and appendages.

Color uniformly testaceous.

Queen

Head about as long as broad, broadest behind. Epinotal spines stout, triangular, shorter than their distance apart at base. Petiolar node shorter and deeper than in the worker, and more declivous in front. Postpetiole twice as broad as long.

Head, epinotum, petiole and postpetiole sculptured as in the worker. Mesonotum and scutellum with very fine longitudinal strife and sparse, foveolate punctures.

Color darker than the worker, with the mesonotum and gaster and a spot at the ocelli, ferruginous, and the margins of the mesonotum and scutellum fuscous.

Male

Males have been collected but this caste has not been formally described.

Type Material

Bahamas: New Providence. "on the borders of a swamp on the road between Grants Town and the Blue Hills." Presumably in the National Museum of Natural History

Etymology

Patronym. "dedicated to Sir William Allardyce, Governor of the Bahamas, a naturalist himself and a friend of naturalists"

Other Resources

References

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Baroni Urbani C. 1978. Materiali per una revisione dei Leptothorax neotropicali appartenenti al sottogenere Macromischa Roger, n. comb. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomol. Basil. 3: 395-618.
  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • Deyrup M., C. Johnson, G. C. Wheeler, J. Wheeler. 1989. A preliminary list of the ants of Florida. Florida Entomologist 72: 91-101
  • Deyrup M., L. Davis, and S. Buckner. 1998. Composition of the ant fauna of three Bahamian islands. Proceedings of the seventh symposium on the natural history of the Bahamas. 23-32. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas
  • Deyrup, M. 2003. An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 86(1):43-48.
  • Deyrup, M. and S. Cover. 2004. A new species of the ant genus Leptothorax from Florida, with a key to the Leptothorax of the southeast (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Floridae Entomologist 87(1):51-59
  • Deyrup, Mark A., Carlin, Norman, Trager, James and Umphrey, Gary. 1988. A Review of the Ants of the Florida Keys. The Florida Entomologist. 71(2):163-176.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Ferster B., Z. Prusak, 1994. A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Everglades National Park. Florida Entomologist 77: 508-512
  • Field Museum Collection, Chicago, Illinois (C. Moreau)
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Mann W. M. 1920. Additions to the ant fauna of the West Indies and Central America. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 42: 403-439.
  • Moreau C. S., M. A. Deyrup, and L. R. David Jr. 2014. Ants of the Florida Keys: Species Accounts, Biogeography, and Conservation (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Insect Sci. 14(295): DOI: 10.1093/jisesa/ieu157
  • Morrison L. W. 1998. A review of Bahamian ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) biogeography. Journal of Biogeography 25: 561-571.
  • Smith M. R. 1933. Additional species of Florida ants, with remarks. Florida Entomologist 17: 21-26.
  • Smith M. R. 1939. Ants of the genus Macromischa Roger in the United States (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 32: 502-509.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1931. New and little-known ants of the genera Macromischa, Creosomyrmex and Antillaemyrmex. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 72: 1-34.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1932. A list of the ants of Florida with descriptions of new forms. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 40: 1-17.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1937. Ants mostly from the mountains of Cuba. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 81: 439-465.