Tetraponera merita

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Tetraponera merita
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Tetraponera
Species: T. merita
Binomial name
Tetraponera merita
Ward, 2009

Tetraponera merita casent0012863 p 1 high.jpg

Tetraponera merita casent0012863 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nests have been found on the ground in rotten logs, sticks and tree stumps. A worker from the type series (PSW10943) stung me on my left index finger. The sting was rather painful and left a pustule that lasted more than a week. It reinforced my impression that the conspicuous orange and reddish-brown coloration of workers of Tetraponera merita and related species in the T. grandidieri group is aposematic. (Ward 2009)

Identification

Ward (2009) - This is one of the more distinctive species in the Tetraponera grandidieri group, easily recognized by the presence of a tooth on the basal margin of the mandible and by the undercut median portion of the clypeus. T. merita is usually more or less unicolorous reddish- or orange-brown, without a contrastingly darker head, but in some northern populations (3.9 km S Ambaliha, Foret Antsahabe and Foret Binara) the head is infuscated relative to the rest of the body. This species also tends to be larger than all the others except Tetraponera manangotra (see HW, HL and LHT measurements).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

T. merita is widely distributed in rainforest of eastern and northern Madagascar, overlapping the ranges of all other species in the T. grandidieri group. (Ward 2009)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Worker

Male

Nomenclature

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

  • merita. Tetraponera merita Ward, 2009: 300, figs. 1, 17, 18, 26 (w.q.m.) MADAGASCAR.

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

Description

Worker

(n = 9). HW 1.16-1.59, HL 1.23-1.74, LHT 1.38-1.83, CI 0.90-0.94, FCI 0.11-0.15, REL 0.31-0.34, REL2 0.34-0.38, SI 0.76-0.82, FI 0.28-0.32, PLI 0.49-0.56, PWI 0.46-0.53.

Similar to Tetraponera grandidieri (q.v.). Basal margin of mandible with conspicuous tooth; anterior clypeal margin deflected ventrally; head relatively broad (CI 0.90-0.94); metanotal spiracle visible in lateral view of mesosoma; dorsal face of propodeum broadly convex in posterior view; standing pilosity and appressed pubescence generally sparse; integument mostly sublucid, with fine coriarious/puncticulate sculpture; orange to reddish-brown, appendages paler; head usually concolorous with mesosoma.

Type Material

Holotype worker. MADAGASCAR Toamasina: 1 km SSW Andasibe ( = Perinet), 920 m, 18°56'S 48°25'E, 16.xi.1990, ex rotting tree stump, rainforest, P. S. Ward #10943 (CASENT0012863) (California Academy of Sciences). Paratypes. Series of workers and queens, same locality as holotype, 16.xi.1990 and 12.xii.1990 (P. S. Ward#l0939, 19043, 10944-3, 11144) (The Natural History Museum, CASC, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Philip S. Ward Collection, South African Museum, University of California, Davis).

Identification Clarifications

Although the holotype of T. grandidieri hildebrandti is conspecific with T. grandidieri, material referred to T. g. hildebrandti by Forel (1892: 260) includes T. merita. During earlier examination and identification of museum material I assigned the code name Tetraponera psw92 to this species.

References