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Figures 32 - 35
Types. Holotype worker, paratype workers and alate queens: USA, 4 mi NNE Vya, 5600 ft. elev., Washoe Co., Nevada, U. S. A., 16. vi. 1971 (G. C. & J. Wheeler, NEV- 2076 & NEV- 2078); additional paratypes (3 workers, 3 alate queens), Florissant , Colorado, no date (W. M. Wheeler). Holotype and paratypes in LACM; paratypes also in CAFR, MCZC, and USNM.
Etymology. Named after George C. and Jeanette N. Wheeler who collected this ant in Nevada.
Worker. Habitus, figures 32, 34. Measurements and indices in Table 3 - 4. Head in full face view, typically large and rounded, with big oval eyes centered on mid-line cutting the lateral margin. Head suboval, slightly longer than broad with convex sides, a convex or slightly straight (larger specimens) preoccipital margin, and very broadly rounded preoccipital corner, malar margin convex. Mandibles large, with 6 - 7 teeth and 1 - 2 denticles. Median half of clypeus some what bulging, lateral wings flattened; anterior margin of clypeus convex, lateral wings flattened. Frontal lamellae rounded, reduced posteriorly to short and outcurved carinae merging to dorsum sculpture. Antennal scape rather long, surpassing the preoccipital corner by the length of the first two funiculus segments; bent basally at right angle, with a moderately to strongly developed, then spoonlike, dorsal lamina surounding the shaft angle, shortly developing laterally and associated with a vertical ridge along basal shaft. In dorsal view shaft narrower along anterior half, about half the maximal width, particularly just after the bend; funiculus segments 3 - 6 less than 1.5 times longer than broad; club of 4 segments.
In profile, when mesometasternum external margin horizontally aligned, mesosoma evenly convex, lower posteriorly; mesopropodeal suture not or very shallowly impressed; propodeal lobes angulate posterodorsally. Strigil of protibia with a basal tooth; middle and hind tibiae with finely pectinated spurs. Propodeal spines rather short and diverging, surpassing slightly the propodeal lobes, usually straight and acuminate, projecting backwards and upwards at about 45 ° to the horizontal. Petiole longer than high and higher than wide, with a short peduncle; seen in profile the anterior face concave, forming a rounded right angle with the dorsal surface which is short, often straight or participating in the arch formed by the posterior surface. Postpetiole distinctly higher and larger than long, about as high than wide, its sternum convex.
Mandibles finely rugulose with ciliated punctures. Sculpture of head delicate and thin; frons and clypeus longitudinally rugulose; reminder of head dorsum with loosely reticulated rugulae, surface between rugulae large, subshining and distinctly punctulate. Antennal fossae with faint rugulae; area of lateral wings of clypeus smooth and shining but rugulose at apex. Mesosoma strongly and deeply striated; rugae with flattened summit, longitudinally aligned, sometimes sinuate on pronotum. Petiole and pospetiole rugose. Gaster smooth and shining. General body color light to dark yellowish-red; gaster somewhat darker and appendages lighter. Erect body hairs moderately abundant and long; gastric pubescence very dilute.
Queen. Habitus, figures 33, 35. Measurements and indices in Table 3 - 4. Basically similar to workers in shape of head, characters of sculpture, color and pilosity of body except the following. Usual distinct mesosomal development of a queen and body size larger. Head with three rather large ocelli. Sculpture of head more developed, anastomoses more abundant except on front and clypeus where carinae remain parallel. Sculpture coarser on lateral parts of pronotum, mesonotum, petiole and postpetiole. Rugulae of mesopleurae obliquely aligned, intersurface distinctly punctate; transverse groove narrow and deeply impressed. Surface between spines subshining, faintly sculptured in upper half, ventral half smooth and shining.
Notes. This is a sister species of Myrmica crassirugisHNS, differing by its striking yellowish color, exceptional for the genus, a more sturdy head and frontal lamellae, but with more delicate and reticulated sculpture, a more developed lamina on scape bend, and diverging spines. Its ecological distribution is probably more southern.
The Wheelers in The ants of Nevada (1986) mentioned in their key to MyrmicaHNS species a concolorous yellowish red form as sp. nov., after my evaluation of their material. It was this new species, but their series was labelled M. tahoensis WheelerHNS.
Range. Presently known only from the type localities in Nevada and Colorado.
Ecology. This attractive ant was collected at an altitude of 1680 m (5600 feet) in Nevada. There are no data for the Florissant specimens. It is probably associated mainly with the upper Sonoran zone.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in sagebrush.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 45 am, returning to apparent ground nest in clump of Elymus cinereus; in a slight draw, where mudcracks suggest seasonal (spring) inundation times ground foragers, 7.
Elevations: collected at 1695 m