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Holotype worker, male and gyne deposited at QCAZ. Type locality: Ecuador, Cotopaxi Province, Bosque Integral Otonga GoogleMaps, 1978m, 79°0.197'W; 00°25.158'S, 24-Jun-2004, D.A. Donoso Leg. Under log. GoogleMaps Some paratypes pinned and stored in the following museums: CASC, MCZC, MZSP and UCDC. Additional paratypes are stored in 95% ethanol at ambient temperature at QCAZ museum. GoogleMaps See Figures 3-4, 11-28.
Etymology: The Latin word nubecula literally means little cloud and was chosen in reference to the cloud forest where this species was first collected. This is a noun in apposition.
Diagnosis: Relatively large and slender ants. Polymorphic in color pattern. Without genal teeth. Anterior clypeal margin and the lamella apron triangular. Hypostomal teeth inconspicuous. Postpetiole relatively small. Abdominal segment 4 about the same length as following segments combined.
Description: Head elongate and subrectangular (CI 75-79), slightly wider anteriorly. Lateral margins of head nearly straight and parallel. Posterior corners rounded and posterior border concave. Clypeus short with anterior margin triangular. Clypeal apron translucent and triangular pointed anteriorly projecting some setae. Frontal carina very short. Frontal lobes distinct, merging between antenna. Gena without teeth. Hypostomal teeth present but inconspicuous on ventrum of head. Mandibles slender, with distinct basal and apical portions separated by a rounded angle. Masticatory margin edentate, although bearing several small denticles. Eyes absent. Antenna 12 segmented. Antennal scape slender and extending further than medial distance to posterior margin. First funicular segment longer than broad, submoniliform. Antenna gradually increases in size toward apex but without forming a distinctive antennal club.
Mesosoma elongate, not slender and flattened. Pronotal suture conspicuous and flexible. Metanotal groove obsolete. Propodeum unarmed, rounded and long. Propodeal declivity very short and rounding into dorsal face. Propodeal spiracle conspicuous and rounded, slightly below the middle of the sclerite. Metapleural gland noticeable, with flanges rounded posteriorly.
Petiole in dorsal view longer than postpetiole, both segments subequal in width and slightly narrowed from front to rear, lateral borders straight. In profile, segments heart shaped, tergites always bigger than sternites. Petiolar sternite bearing large rounded process. Postpetiole ventral process not as large as petiole process. Petiolar spiracle situated at the anterior margin of the tergite (Figures 11-14).
Metasoma short and compact. Abdominal segment 4 about the same length as following abdominal segments combined. Abdominal segment 5 not ring-like but conceals abdominal segment 6. Abdominal segments 4-5 and 5-6 separated by constrictions. Spiracle of abdominal segment 4 conspicuous and located at 1/3 length of tergite. Spiracle of abdominal segment 5 conspicuous and located more anteriorly. Spiracle of abdominal segment 6 easily seen and located very anterior in the tergite. Pygidium concealed by preceding segment and displaying typical U-shape.
Legs long (FL 0.53-0.56). Tibia enlarged apically. Tibia of foreleg with a long and pectinate spur. Metatibial gland absent. Claws simple.
Body color varies from testaceus to reddish brown, always shining. Head and mesosoma always darker than gaster. Head foveolate. Mesosoma and abdomen finely and sparsely foveolate. Head, body and appendages with abundant short, erect, light hairs.
Measurements (in mm) and indices: (holotype, min.-max. of 5 specimens): HL 0.69, 0.69-0.72; HW 0.54, 0.54-0.56; SL 0.42, 0.42-0.44; FL 0.54, 0.53-0.56, LHT 0.60, 0.59- 0.65; WL 0.87, 0.86-0.90; PL 0.17, 0.15-0.17; PPL 0.11, 0.11-0.15; CI 78, 75-79; SI 78, 76-81.
Diagnosis: Subdichtadiigyne. Approximately 1/4 larger than workers. Head rounded, lateral borders convex. Compound eyes present and comprised of about 10 facets. Mandibles subtriangular, masticatory margin edentate. Clypeal lamella apron present. Apterous, wings and wing buds absent. Petiole enlarged, taller and broader but similarly proportioned to worker petiole but without dorsal or lateral horns typical of ecitonine and doryline gynes. Distinct postpetiole absent, third abdominal segment broadly attached to following segments, with tergosternal fusion. Petiolar and postpetiolar spiracles located as in workers. Promesonotal suture present and articulated. All segments covered with dense pubescence. See Figures 27-28.
Measurements (in mm) and indices: (one gyne measured): HL 0.78; HW 0.74; SL 0.44; LHT 0.75; WL 1.08; PL 0.20; CI 94; SI 59.
Diagnosis: Similar to workers but lighter in color and lacking a separate postpetiole (Figure 21-22). Gaster enlarged. Ovarioles present but not active. See Figures 15-24.
Measurements (in mm) and indices: (min.-max. of 3 specimens measured): HL 0.62- 0.65; HW 0.53; SL 0.41-0.42; LHT 0.59-0.60; WL 0.78-0.81; PL 0.11-0.12; CI 85-81; SI 77-80.
Diagnosis: Mandibles falcate and overlapping at closure. The masticatory margin edentate. Genal teeth and hypostomal teeth lacking. Pronotum U-shaped in dorsal view and reduced anteromedially to a thin horizontal strip, set well below the level of the mesonotum. Pronotum triangular in profile, with pointed posterior apex; metapleural gland reduced and inconspicuous; propodeal spiracle small, circular, positioned at about midheight of propodeum. Medial vein diverging from radial vein more anteriorly than in L. mckennaeHNS; hindwing lacking closed cells. Integument mostly smooth and shiny, with scattered piligerous punctures; pilosity common on most of body, head and mandibles, suberect to decumbent. See Figures 25-26.
Measurements (in mm) and indices: (One male measured): HL 0.32; HW 0.32; SL 0.14; EL 0.14; FL 0.36; LHT 0.40; WL 0.64; PL 0.11; CI 100; SI 41; REL 45.
Comments: The type series was a colony found at 2000 hr under a rotten log. A second colony, with males, was found on a second excursion to the same study site. The diagnosis of the ergatogynes may be incomplete in reference to color and other age-related traits, as the collected ergatogyne individuals were teneral, showing pale coloration, absence of abdominal fat bodies, and undeveloped ovaries.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in cloud forest.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times ex sifted litter.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 1 times search, 1 times Davis sifter.
Elevations: collected from 1978 - 2000 meters, 1982 meters average