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Species: Myrmelachista joycei   Longino, 2006 

Classification:
Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2018)

Myrmelachista joycei Longino, 2006A PDF: 25, figs. 2, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14 (w.q.m.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Distribution:

  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Costa Rica, Nicaragua
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Neotropical

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica, Nicaragua. In Costa Rica it occurs in cloud forest above 1000m, from the Cordillera de Tilar‡n south to the Cordillera de Talamanca. I have one record of a queen from cloud forest near Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

Biology:

Natural History:

This species is very abundant in cloud forest. It nests in live branches of canopy trees, with columns extending out in galleries beneath epiphyte mats. It is one of the most common arboreal ants in the Monteverde cloud forest, occurring in a high frequency of tree crowns (Longino 2000) and common in canopy fogging samples (Schonberg et al. 2004). Active colony space occurs in hollow stems near shoot tips, but also extends far back in the centers of live branches, such that workers may be found in narrow chambers deep in the center of relatively thick branches, to 10cm diameter or more. Periodic larger chambers contain dense masses of workers, queens, and brood and may be well-protected deep in solid wood. Clusters of workers and brood also occur beneath epiphytes and in small bits of dead wood. Colonies are large and may occupy an entire tree crown. Large colonies are strongly polygynous, with clusters of physogastric queens scattered throughout the colony space. Pseudococcidae and Coccidae commonly occur in the nests and in the surface galleries beneath epiphytes. Colonies have been found in live branches of Sapium oligoneuron, Vismia, Clusia alata, Cecropia angustifolia (formerly polyphlebia), Ficus, Ocotea austinii, hemiepiphytic Araleaceae, Licaria, and Erythrina. A founding queen was found in a live stem of an orchid.

References:

Longino, J. T. (2000). The ants of Monteverde. Monteverde: ecology and conservation of a tropical cloud forest. Nadkarni, N. M. and Wheelwright, N. T. New York, New York, Oxford University Press, 132Ð136.

Longino, J. T. (2006). A Taxonomic review of the genus Myrmelachista (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica. Zootaxa 1141:1-54.

Schonberg, L., Longino, J. T., Nadkarni, N. M., Yanoviak, S. P. and Gering, J. C. (2004). Arboreal Ant Species Richness in primary, secondary forest and pasture habitats of a tropical montane landscape. Biotropica 36, 402Ð409.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Longino, J. T., 2006, A taxonomic review of the genus Myrmelachista (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica., Zootaxa 1141, pp. 1-54

Myrmelachista joyceiHNS NEW SPECIES

Figures 2, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14

Holotype queen: Costa Rica, Prov. Puntarenas, Monteverde GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°48’W, 1500m GoogleMaps, 29 May 1990 (J. Longino #2707) [INBC, specimen code JTLC000006202]. GoogleMaps

Paratypes: workers and queens, from same nest as holotype, specimen codes JTLC000002769, JTLC000006203 - JTLC000006206, distributed to MCZC, USNM, UCDC, LACM, BMNH. GoogleMaps

Diagnosis

Worker with antenna 9-segmented, color red brown. Queen with head black, mandible and clypeus usually smooth and shiny, HW 70.5-1.08mm, CI 87-98, OcI 3-6. Male with digitus elongate, curving, scimitar-shaped.

Worker

Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 5-segmented but terminal segment elongate, sometimes with partial constriction suggestion partial fusion of terminal two palpomeres; mandible, clypeus, and face smooth and shining; in full face view, side and rear margins of head with sparse to abundant subdecumbent pubescence, sometimes with projecting setae on posterolateral vertex; ventral surface of head with very abundant short subdecumbent pubescence, no erect setae; scape with abundant suberect setae, longer setae about equal to width of scape; hind tibia with abundant appressed to suberect setae, relatively uniform length, about 1/4 to 1/2 width of tibia; typically with dark brown head and gaster, mottled dark and light brown mesosoma, sometimes uniformly dark brown, never strongly bicolored (nanitics may be bicolored).

Measurements: HL 0.556-0.655, HW 0.556-0.670, SL 0.302-0.352, EL 0.114-0.137, CI 100-107 (n=5).

Queen

Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 6-segmented; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining with sparse piligerous puncta or weakly punctatorugose; clypeus and face largely smooth and shining with sparse small piligerous puncta; in full face view side and rear margins of head with abundant short appressed to suberect pubescence, without longer erect setae, sometimes with longer erect setae on posterolateral vertex; ventral surface of head with abundant subdecumbent to suberect setae, these similar to or longer than setae on sides of head; scape with abundant suberect setae, longer setae about equal to width of scape; hind tibia with abundant appressed to suberect setae, relatively uniform length, about 1/4 to 1/2 width of tibia; color largely black, sometimes with some degree of lighter red color on anterior face.

Measurements: HL 0.793-1.124, HW 0.747-1.083, SL 0.395-0.531, EL 0.213-0.269, OW 0.024-0.069, OD 0.176-0.220, CI 87-98 (87 for specimen from northern Nicaragua, 89-98 for Costa Rican material), OI 25-29, OcI 3-6 (n=12).

Male

Antenna 10-segmented; maxillary palpus 6-segmented; pygostyles minute, in the form of weakly sclerotized papillae; basiparamere with elongate lobe; paramere elongate and linear, with parallel sides; cuspis a small, weakly sclerotized narrowly triangular tooth appressed to the inner surface of the paramere, distant from digitus; digitus elongate, curving, scimitar-shaped; apodeme of penial valve curving into dorsal margin at obtuse angle.

Etymology

The name refers to Frank Joyce, Monteverde biologist and teacher, indefatigable field naturalist, champion for the conservation of tropical biodiversity, and respected friend.

Range

Costa Rica, Nicaragua. In Costa Rica it occurs in cloud forest above 1000m, from the Cordillera de Tilarán south to the Cordillera de Talamanca. I have one record of a queen from cloud forest near Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

Biology

This species is very abundant in cloud forest. It nests in live branches of canopy trees, with columns extending out in galleries beneath epiphyte mats. It is one of the most common arboreal ants in the Monteverde cloud forest, occurring in a high frequency of tree crowns (Longino 2000) and common in canopy fogging samples (Schonberg et al. 2004). Active colony space occurs in hollow stems near shoot tips, but also extends far back in the centers of live branches, such that workers may be found in narrow chambers deep in the center of relatively thick branches, to 10cm diameter or more. Periodic larger chambers contain dense masses of workers, queens, and brood and may be well-protected deep in solid wood. Clusters of workers and brood also occur beneath epiphytes and in small bits of dead wood. Colonies are large and may occupy an entire tree crown. Large colonies are strongly polygynous, with clusters of physogastric queens scattered throughout the colony space. Pseudococcidae and Coccidae commonly occur in the nests and in the surface galleries beneath epiphytes. Colonies have been found in live branches of Sapium oligoneuron, Vismia, Clusia alata, Cecropia angustifolia (formerly polyphlebia), Ficus, Ocotea austinii, hemiepiphytic Araleaceae, Licaria, and Erythrina. A founding queen was found in a live stem of an orchid.

Material Examined

COSTA RICA, Alajuela: Refugio El Aleman, Rio Penas Blancas GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°45’W, 940m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 2 collections) GoogleMaps; Cartago: 10km SE Orosi GoogleMaps, 9°45’N, 83°47’W, 1300m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Guanacaste: Cerro Cacao GoogleMaps, 10°56’N, 85°28’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; 3km N Santa Elena GoogleMaps, 10°20’N, 84°50’W, 1500m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Heredia: 8km N Vol. Barba GoogleMaps, 10°12’N, 84°06’W, 1830m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; 16km SSE La Virgen GoogleMaps, 10°16’N, 84°05’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (ALAS, 12 collections) GoogleMaps; same data (R. Vargas C) GoogleMaps; same data (D. Brenes, 3 collections) GoogleMaps; same data (Longino, 2 collections) GoogleMaps; 10km NE Vara Blanca GoogleMaps, 10°14’N, 84°05’W, 1500m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 5 collections) GoogleMaps; Puntarenas: Monteverde GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°48’W, 1500m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 12 collections) GoogleMaps; same data (N. Nadkarni) GoogleMaps; same data (Yanoviak & Gering, multiple canopy fogging samples) GoogleMaps; San Luis Valley GoogleMaps, 10°17’N, 84°47’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Estacion Biol. Pittier GoogleMaps, 9°02’N, 82°58’W, 1670m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Fila Cruces, nr San Vito GoogleMaps, 8°47’N, 83°03’W, 1200m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; NICARAGUA, Matagalpa: Santa Maria de Ostuma, 1400m (N. L. H. Krauss) [USNM].

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 67 times found in montane wet forest, 13 times found in cloud forest, 9 times found in cloud forest edge, 2 times found in 2nd growth cloud forest, 3 times found in Cloud forest/pasture edge, 2 times found in mature wet forest, 4 times found in primary cloud forest, 3 times found in Wet forest, 1 times found in montane wet forest, 1-day old treefall, 1 times found in secondary cloud forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 9 times ex relict tree in pasture, 1 times ex Cecropia polyphlebia, 9 times Sobre Vegetacion, 1 times Cloud forest. Extensive colony under moss mats on Ocotea cf.austenii branches. H, 3 times treefall at Carlos and Liddys' house, strangler Ficus with attached Clusia, othe, 2 times nesting in Cecropia angustifolia, 3 times ex live stems Licaria, 5 times ex canopy tree, 2 times bajo de M/18, 2 times under epiphytes, 1 times On recent branchfall., ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 50 times Malaise, 19 times search, 14 times fogging, 9 times Sweeping, 4 times flight intercept trap, 2 times Winkler, 2 times Foggin, 1 times beating, 1 times Mini Winkler.

Elevations: collected from 300 - 2010 meters, 1377 meters average

Type specimens: Holotype queen joycei: jtlc000006202; Paratype joycei: jtlc000002769, jtlc000006203, jtlc000006204, jtlc000006205, jtlc000006206



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