Temnothorax almeqeri

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Temnothorax almeqeri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species group: laurae
Species: T. almeqeri
Binomial name
Temnothorax almeqeri
Sharaf, 2019

The holotype specimen of this species was found under a stone next to Acacia (Fabaceae) and Tamarix (Tamaricaceae) in the Alheifa Park, Tanuma and collected by sifting soil/litter.

Identification

Temnothorax almeqeri is diagnosed by the combination of the following characters: eyes relatively large (EL 0.17, OI 31); scapes when laid back from their insertions surpass posterior margin of eyes by about length of the first funicular segment; pro mesonotum and mesosoma in profile meet in an elevated ridge; propodeal spines sharp, acute, outward direct ed, and about twice longer than its base; postpetiolar trapezoidal in dorsal view with dorsum strongly irregularly rugulose, and sides sharply granulate; mesosomal, petiolar and postpetiolar dorsum strongly irregularly reticulate-rugulose.

This species is a member of the T. laurae species group of Afrotropical Region (Prebus, 2015). It is closest to Temnothorax cenatus from Kenya regarding the relatively long scape that surpass level of posterior margin of eyes by about length of the first funicular segment; the trapezoidal dorsal view of postpetiole, and the shallowly impressed metanotal groove. However, T. almeqeri is readily separated from T. cenatus by the following characters:

  • promesonotum and mesosoma in profile meet in an elevated ridge
  • propodeal spines sharp, long and outward directed, about twice longer than its base (PSLI 33)
  • mesosomal sculpture strong
  • body pilosity more abundant, finer and distinctly longer especially on mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole
  • head, mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole and posterior 3/4 of first gastral tergite brown
  • mandibles, appendages, anterior 1/4 portion of first gastral tergite and end of gaster clear yellow

Temnothorax cenatus has indistinct promesonotal suture; acute and moderately long propodeal spines (PSLI 28); distinctly weaker mesosomal sculpture; fewer, stout, and blunt body pilosity; and body dull yellow with brown tint on cephalic dorsum, petiole and post-petiole. This distinctive species is readily separable from all other described Arabian species by its long, sharp and curved propodeal spines.

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

The single specimen of Temnothorax almeqeri was collected by sifting litter and soil under a stone. Further collecting efforts in the type locality, however, yielded no additional specimens. Possible reasons for this apparent species rarity may be: First, the small size of Temnothorax colonies, which usually are less than 100 workers per nest (Beckers et al. 1989). Other reports reveal that a number of Temnothorax species are known only from a limited number of specimens. These include Temnothorax liviae (4w, 1q), Temnothorax brevidentis (1w), Temnothorax cenatus (2w), Temnothorax rufus (2w), Temnothorax almeqeri (1w), and Temnothorax elmenshawyi (2w). Second, the absence of any knowledge of the species biology and habitat preference, hindering an understanding of the best time and loci to search for T. almeqeri. Third, the collecting technique we employed was inappropriate and other collecting methods, such as pitfall or bait traps for workers, and malaise traps for sexual castes might be better. Hopefully, future studies in the region will be more successful in both obtaining more specimens and revealing something of the biology and ecology of the new species.

Castes

Queen and male unknown.

Nomenclature

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

  • almeqeri. Temnothorax almeqeri Sharaf, in Sharaf & Aldawood, 2019: 604, figs. 1(A–F), 2(A–C) (w.) SAUDI ARABIA.

Type Material

Description

References