Temnothorax schaumii

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Temnothorax schaumii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species: T. schaumii
Binomial name
Temnothorax schaumii
(Roger, 1863)

Temnothorax schaumii casent0104047 profile 1.jpg

Temnothorax schaumii casent0104047 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Synonyms

Mackay (2000) - This species nests in the bark of living trees, in branches, logs and oak galls of trees. It occurs in many habitats that range from from desert canyons in trees, to grasslands, to shaded deciduous forests. Smith (1924) found this to be the most common Temnothorax in Mississippi and Wesson and Wesson (1940) found this species to be common in oak trees in Ohio.


Photo Gallery

  • Worker from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo by Tom Murray.
  • Worker returning with prey to its nest.
  • Worker returning with prey to its nest.
  • Typical habitat.

Identification

Mackay (2000) - A member of the Temnothorax schaumii species complex. These ants have 11-segmented antennae and are usually concolorous dark brown, but are occasionally concolorous yellow. The head is nearly completely covered with fine striae, which merge with the dense punctures. Occasionally there is a central strip, which is partly free of sculpture and somewhat shining. The top of the mesosoma is mostly punctate, with a few striae, the side of the mesosoma has numerous striae with punctures between them. The propodeal spines range from tiny angles to small spines, which are dull and rounded. The petiole and postpetiole are punctate and the node of the petiole is weakly truncate, with round edges.

The 11 segmented antenna and tiny propodeal spines separate this species from all other species with 11 segmented antennae in the subgenus, except Temnothorax whitfordi. It can be easily distinguished from Temnothorax whitfordi as the head and pronotum are predominantly punctate (predominantly smooth and shining in Temnothorax whitfordi, but the pronotum may be punctate as in Temnothorax schaumii). The punctures on the pronotum of Temnothorax schaumii are fine and completely cover the surfaces, whereas in Temnothorax whitfordi they are coarse and do not densely cover the surface. The small spines separate it from the others in the schaumii species complex.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

United States: Kansas, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Kentucky,Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington D. C., West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Habitat

Ranges from from desert canyons in trees, to grasslands, to shaded deciduous forests

Abundance

common to abundant

Biology

Not much is known about the the biology of Temnothorax schaumii. We can speculate that the biology of this species is likely to be similar to other North American species of this genus.

Temnothorax is a diverse genus but most species do show a remarkable consistency in some important aspects of their biology. Workers and colonies are small. As a group they nest in many places: small cavities in the soil, under or among stones or in small cavities in living or dead vegetation. Individually, most species have a strong preference for how and where they nest, e.g., there are gall nesting species, soil nesters, arboreal species, those that nest in small downed twigs, etc. Their nest entrances are often a cryptic, tiny hole that is only found by observing a worker exiting or entering the nest. A few common and abundant species are relatively well studied but the majority are rare or are rarely collected. For all but the most common and abundant species finding a nest is difficult because of the combination of their small colony size, small workers, unaggressive behavior, and diminutive, inconspicuous nests. In a few cases where we do know the diet of a species, it consists of sweet exudates and general scavenging of insect pieces and other items. It is presumed most of the unstudied Temnothorax have a similar diet. Aphid tending and hunting small soil arthropods may also be a part of their foraging repertoire. For all the consistency in these characters, individual species exhibit wide variation in others. Habitat affinities are often restrictive at the species level (but overall Temnothorax can be found in places that range from high elevation, high latitude, forests to hot, dry desert regions). Queen number is difficult to predict; there are species that are polygnous, monogynous, and even some species with seasonal polydomy that vary in nesting site queen number over the course of the year. There is also little consistency in color from species to species.

Regional Notes

Texas

Wheeler (1903) in notes about a Temnothorax schaumii synonym T. fortinodis:

"I have found only a single colony of this form at Austin. This had taken up its abode in an abandoned gall of Holcaspis cinerosus Basset on the live-oak (Quercus virginiana). It contained 143 workers, a single deiiJated queen and 35 larval in different stages. The latter were white and not greenish like the larval of L. obturator which inhabits the same kind of galls. The entrance to the fortinodis nest was a small round hole with much worn edges, evidently the modified exit of some parasite on the Holcaspis."

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: polygynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • schaumii. Leptothorax schaumii Roger, 1863a: 180 (w.) U.S.A. Mayr, 1886d: 451 (m.); Wesson, L.G. & Wesson, R.G., 1940: 95 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1960b: 23 (l.). Combination in L. (Myrafant): Smith, D.R. 1979: 1394; in Temnothorax: Bolton, 2003: 272. Senior synonym of fortinodis, gilvus, melanoticus: Creighton, 1950a: 271. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1903c: 232; Mackay, 2000: 403.
  • fortinodis. Leptothorax fortinodis Mayr, 1886d: 452 (w.q.) U.S.A. Combination in L. (Myrafant): Smith, M.R. 1950: 30. Subspecies of schaumii: Wesson, L.G. & Wesson, R.G., 1940: 96. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1903c: 233. Junior synonym of schaumii: Creighton, 1950a: 271.
  • gilvus. Leptothorax fortinodis var. gilvus Wheeler, W.M. 1903c: 235 (w.q.) U.S.A. Junior synonym of schaumii: Creighton, 1950a: 271.
  • melanoticus. Leptothorax fortinodis var. melanoticus Wheeler, W.M. 1903c: 235 (w.q.) U.S.A. Wesson, L.G. & Wesson, R.G., 1940: 94 (m.). Subspecies of fortinodis: Buren, 1944a: 287. Junior synonym of schaumii: Creighton, 1950a: 271.

Type Material

Mackay (2000) - Pennsylvania. The types could not be located in Roger's collection (Museum fur Naturkunde Zentralinstitutder Humboldt-Universitiitzu Berlin), and probably no longer exist. Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Description

Worker

2.5 Millim. lang, rothlich gelb, Hinflerleib an der Spitze etwas braunlich; die abstehenden Harchen sind keulenformig, kurz wie bei corticalis. Fuhler eilfgliedrig, ganz gelb. Mandibeln 4 – 5 zahnig, sehr undeutlicb gerunzelt. Clipeus ohne glanzenden Langseindruck. Kopf schwach langs gerunzelt, seitlich und hinten fein verworren oder fingerhutartig punktirt, schwach glanzend. Thorax dem von corticalis ganz ahnlich, oben ohne irgend einen Quereindruck, fingerhutartig punktirt, wenig glanzend, hinten in 2 kurze, an der Basis breite, 3-eckige Zahuchen endend. Stielchenglieder wie gewohnlich, das erste unten nit einem zahnformigen Vorsprung. Abdomen glatt, glanzend, Schienen onbehaart.

(Wheeler 1903) Length 2.5-2.75 mm, Mandibles 5-toothed. Clypeus convex witho:ut median impression; its anterior border rather straight. Antennre 11-jointed; scape reaching hardly to half way between the eye and the posterior angle of the head, funiculus with a distinctly 3-jointed club; first funicular joint almost as long as joints 2-5 together; joints 2-7 distinctly broader than long; terminal joint fully as long as the two preceding joints. Thorax rather short, flattened dorsally and laterally, broader in front than behind, with distinct and rather sharp humeral angles, and with a constriction at the mesoepinotal suture. Epinotal spines very short, dentiform, not longer than broad at their bases. Petiole seen from above oblong, 1 ½ times as long as broad, its sides parallel except at the peduncle which is narrower; in profile the anterior dorsal slope is concave and about the same length as the straight or somewhat convex posterior slope; ventral surface with a distinct tooth directed forward. Postpetiole scarcely half again as broad as the petiole, distinctly broader than long, oblong, with distinct though rounded anterior angles. Its dorsal surface is evenly semicircular in profile. Gaster of the usual shape, with small but distinct anterior angles.

Clypeus with sharp longitudinal rugae, two of which, near the middle, are more prominent than the others. Mandibles with distinct longitudinal rugae. Head, clypeus and mandibles with a silky luster, the first traversed by fine parallel rugae separated by rows of foveolate punctures, which are clearest in certain lights on the posterior lateral surfaces and cheeks. Thorax, petiole and. postpetiole opaque, covered uniformly with foveolate punctures. Gaster smooth and shining.

Hairs moderately numerous on the body, white, erect, clavate; short on the head and thorax, much longer on the gaster and of intermediate length on the pedicel. Hairs on the antennae and legs minute, non-clavate, appressed.

Yellowish-red, the edges of the mandibles black. Gaster in some specimens dark-brown thcroughout, in others yellow or with much of the base of the first segment yellow. Antennae and legs yellow, club and sometimes also the scape of the former, infuscated.

Male

(Wheeler 1903) Length 3.2 mm

Mandibles dentate, touching each other with their blades. Antennae 12-jointed, scape about as long as the first three joints of the funiculus together; funiculus from the second joint to the end of uniform thickness, filiform; second joint a little shorter than the third, shorter, in fact, than any of the succeeding joints. Instead of spines or teeth, the epinotum bears two indistinct elongate swellings. Radial cell of wings short and closed.

Mandibles rather smooth and shining, with scattered punctures near their inner edges. Clypeus moderately shining and very delicately longitudinally rugose. Cheeks and region between antennal insertions and eyes sharply striated longitudinally; front with delicate longitudinal rugae; vertex finely reticulate punctate. Thorax rather smooth and shining, median and posterior portions of mesonotum finely longitudinally rugose and in part obliquely. Petiole, postpetiole and gaster smooth and shining.

Pilosity sparse, tibim without suberect hairs.

Blackish-brown, pedicel and gaster darker. Mandibles, antennae except the brown scape, joints of legs, tarsi, and in part also the joints of the pedicel, yellow or reddish-yellow. Wings clear, hyaline.

Karyotype

  • n = 9 (USA) (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983) (as Leptothorax schaumii).

Etymology

Commemorative. For the collector of the types, Prof. Schaum.

References

  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 272, Combination in Temnothorax)
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 271, Senior synonym of fortinodis, gilvus and melanoticus)
  • MacKay, W. P. 2000. A review of the New World ants of the subgenus Myrafant, (genus Leptothorax) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 36: 265-444 (page 403, see also)
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 451, male described)
  • Roger, J. 1863a. Die neu aufgeführten Gattungen und Arten meines Formiciden-Verzeichnisses nebst Ergänzung einiger früher gegebenen Beschreibungen. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7: 131-214 (page 180, worker described)
  • Smith, M. R. 1924. An annotated list of the ants of Mississippi (Hym.). Entomological News. 35:47-54.
  • Smith, D. R. 1979. Superfamily Formicoidea. Pp. 1323-1467 in: Krombein, K. V., Hurd, P. D., Smith, D. R., Burks, B. D. (eds.) Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico. Volume 2. Apocrita (Aculeata). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Pr (page 1394, Combination in L. (Myrafant))
  • Wesson, L. G.; Wesson, R. G. 1940. A collection an ants from southcentral Ohio. Am. Midl. Nat. 24: 89-103 (page 95, queen described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1960b. Supplementary studies on the larvae of the Myrmicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 62: 1-32 (page 23, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1903d. A revision of the North American ants of the genus Leptothorax Mayr. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. 55: 215-260 (page 232, see also)

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