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Species: Myrmelachista longiceps   Longino, 2006 

Classification:
Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Myrmelachista longiceps Longino, 2006A PDF: 33, figs. 5, 7, 8, 12, 14 (w.q.m.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Distribution:

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

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica. In Costa Rica it occurs throughout the country in mature wet forest habitats, most commonly from 500-1500m elevation but occasionally lower.

Biology:

Natural History:

This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats, most commonly in montane forests but occasionally lower. It nests in live stems of various plant species. Nests have been found in the live stems of a 2m tall shrub in the Rubiaceae, a large Palicourea-like shrub, Guarea rhopalocarpa, Ocotea, Licaria, Ocotea whitei, Conostegia, and Ficus. Founding queens have been found in Guarea (the undescribed species usually inhabited by M. flavoguarea), in chambers in terminal shoots of sprouts from the base of a G. rhopalocarpa tree, in a small Inga sapling (adjacent to a large mature colony in a Licaria tree), and in a shrub in the Rubiaceae. Coccoidea often occur in the stems.

Notes:

One collection is very similar to longiceps in many respects, but is an outlier with respect to queen size. The queen is much smaller than any longiceps queen. It is currently assigned the morphospecies code JTL-022. It is based on one collection from Refugio Eladio in the Pe–as Blancas Valley, Cordillera de Tilar‡n, Costa Rica. Workers and queens were collected from live branches of a Lonchocarpus tree that had been knocked over by a small landslide. The colony was polygynous, with many dealate queens. There were also Coccoidea with the ants in the stems. The measurements of a queen from this collection are: HL 0.914, HW 0.715, SL 0.416, EL 0.237, OW 0.040, OD 0.178, CI 78, OI 33, OcI 4 (n=1).

References:

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

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 longicepsHNS NEW SPECIES

Figures 5, 7, 8, 12, 14

Holotype alate queen: Costa Rica, Prov. Puntarenas, Monteverde GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°48’W, 1400m GoogleMaps, 24 Jan 1996 (J. Longino #3743) [INBC, specimen code JTLC000006219]. GoogleMaps

Paratypes: workers and queens, from same nest as holotype, specimen codes JTLC000006220 - JTLC000006224, distributed to MCZC, USNM, UCDC, LACM, BMNH. GoogleMaps

Diagnosis

Worker with antenna 9-segmented, color red brown. Queen with head black, elongate, CI 80-86. Male with digitus usually long and paddle-shaped with thickened posterodorsal margin.

Worker

Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 5-segmented but terminal segment elongate, sometimes with partial constriction suggestion partial fusion of terminal two palpomeres; dorsal surface of mandible weakly to strongly rugose or punctatorugose; clypeus and face smooth and shining with variable amount of roughening and larger puncta on anterior malar spaces and anterior clypeus; in full face view, side and rear margins of head with sparse to abundant appressed to subdecumbent pubescence, sometimes with a few projecting setae on posterolateral vertex; ventral surface of head with sparse to 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 subdecumbent setae, relatively uniform length, short, about 1/4 width of tibia; typically with dark brown head and gaster, mottled dark and light brown mesosoma, sometimes uniformly dark brown, never strongly bicolored.

Measurements: HL 0.593-0.779, HW 0.562-0.716, SL 0.312-0.384, EL 0.127-0.147, CI 89-95 (n=5).

Queen

Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 5 or 6-segmented; dorsal surface of mandible moderately to strongly punctatorugose; clypeus and anterior malar spaces roughened and with large puncta, grading to smooth and shining with smaller puncta posteriorly; 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, short, about 1/4 width of tibia; color largely black, sometimes with some degree of lighter red color on anterior face.

Measurements: HL 1.096-1.270, HW 0.904-1.078, SL 0.470-0.551, EL 0.281-0.330, OW 0.045-0.079, OD 0.187-0.232, CI 80-86, OI 29-33, OcI 4-7 (n=10).

Male

Antenna 10-segmented; maxillary palpus 5 or 6-segmented; pygostyles absent; basiparamere with long, needle-like lobe; paramere very elongate and linear, with parallel sides; apodeme of penial valve curving into dorsal margin at obtuse angle. Volsella variable as follows: (collection JTL2280) cuspis very short, closely applied to inner surface of paramere, paddle-shaped, apex with a row of small denticles, only apical row of denticles sclerotized; digitus with short, narrow, downcurved base where dorsal margin close to cuspis, then expanding into large paddle-shape structure, dorsal margin revolute and thickened, forming bulla, large lamina of digitus with several irregular thin spots; (JTL2696) cuspis very short and narrow, parallel sided, distant from digitus, digitus broadly and bluntly scimitar-shaped, but not as grossly expanded, without revolute margin or bulla, irregular thin spots small, faint; (JTL2620) cuspis like JTL2696; digitus like a shorter version of JTL2696, with apical margin greatly thickened and forming pair of bulla, shiny and cream-colored on dried specimen; lamina of digitus lacking thin spots.

Etymology

The name refers to the relatively elongate head of queen and worker.

Range

Costa Rica. In Costa Rica it occurs throughout the country in mature wet forest habitats, most commonly from 500-1500m elevation but occasionally lower.

Biology

This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats, most commonly in montane forests but occasionally lower. It nests in live stems of various plant species. Nests have been found in the live stems of a 2m tall shrub in the Rubiaceae, a large Palicourea-like shrub, Guarea rhopalocarpa, OcoteaHNS, Licaria, Ocotea whitei, Conostegia, and Ficus. Founding queens have been found in Guarea (the undescribed species usually inhabited by M. flavoguareaHNS), in chambers in terminal shoots of sprouts from the base of a G. rhopalocarpa tree, in a small Inga sapling (adjacent to a large mature colony in a Licaria tree), and in a shrub in the Rubiaceae. Coccoidea often occur in the stems.

Comments

One collection is very similar to longicepsHNS in many respects, but is an outlier with respect to queen size (Fig. 7). The queen is much smaller than any longicepsHNS queen. It is currently assigned the morphospecies code JTL-022. It is based on one collection from Refugio Eladio in the Peñas Blancas Valley, Cordillera de Tilarán, Costa Rica. Workers and queens were collected from live branches of a LonchocarpusHNS tree that had been knocked over by a small landslide. The colony was polygynous, with many dealate queens. There were also Coccoidea with the ants in the stems. The measurements of a queen from this collection are: HL 0.914, HW 0.715, SL 0.416, EL 0.237, OW 0.040, OD 0.178, CI 78, OI 33, OcI 4 (n=1).

Material Examined

COSTA RICA, Alajuela: Refugio Eladio, Rio Penas Blancas GoogleMaps, 10°19’N, 84°43’W, 800m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 5 collections) GoogleMaps; Rio Agua Gota GoogleMaps, 10°23’N, 84°42’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (E. Bello) GoogleMaps; 2km N Volcan Arenal GoogleMaps, 10°29’N, 84°42’W, 600m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Guanacaste: Estacion Cacao GoogleMaps, 10°55’N, 85°30’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (J. S. Noyes) GoogleMaps; Heredia: Refugio El Plastico, 17km S Pto. Viejo GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°02’W, 550m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 3 collections) GoogleMaps; 22km N Volcan Barba GoogleMaps, 10°20’N, 84°04’W, 500m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; La Selva Biological Station GoogleMaps, 10°26’N, 84°01’W, 50m GoogleMaps (ALAS) GoogleMaps; 16km SSE La Virgen GoogleMaps, 10°16’N, 84°05’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (ALAS, R. Vargas C, M. Paniagua, D. Brenes, J. Longino, multiple collections) GoogleMaps; Puntarenas: Monteverde GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°48’W, 1500m GoogleMaps (Yanoviak & Gering, multiple canopy fogging samples) GoogleMaps; same data (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Wilson Botanical Garden, 4km S San Vito GoogleMaps, 8°47’N, 82°58’W, 1200m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; 3km W Las Alturas GoogleMaps, 8°56’N, 82°52’W, 1360m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Fila Cruces, nr San Vito GoogleMaps, 8°47’N, 83°03’W, 1200m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; San José: Carrillo, Braulio Carrillo Nat. Park GoogleMaps, 10°09’N, 083°55’W, 500m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 10 times found in wet forest, 12 times found in montane wet forest, 3 times found in Entre SHO y SSE, 5 times found in cloud forest edge, 2 times found in rainforest, 2 times found in Wet forest clearing, 1 times found in tropical montane moist forest, 1 times found in CC 1200m, 1 times found in CC 1350 m., 1 times found in wet forest/pasture edge, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times moist forest; in live stems Ocotea, 5 times ex relict tree in pasture, 4 times Sobre Vegetacion, 1 times ex live stems Coussapoa, 1 times in live stems Meliaceae, 1 times ex Rubiac., arbusto del bosque, 2m, 2 times copa de árbol, myrmelachista nest in live tree stem times 1200, 1 times nest in live stems of large, Palicourea-like rubiac, 1 times Moist forest along trail to river. Recent treefall. In live branch., 1 times in live stems Guarea rhopalocarpa, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 11 times search, 11 times fogging, 9 times Malaise, 4 times Sweeping, 1 times sweep net.

Elevations: collected from 50 - 1500 meters, 930 meters average

Type specimens: Holotype queen longiceps: jtlc000006219; Paratype longiceps: jtlc000006220, jtlc000006221, jtlc000006222, jtlc000006223, jtlc000006224



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