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Genus: Ancyridris   Wheeler, 1935 


Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2015)

2 species

Ancyridris Wheeler, 1935a PDF: 1 . Type-species: Ancyridris polyrhachioides, by original designation. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Genus Ancyridris references
Taylor, 2009 PDF: 24 (notes).

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Taylor, R. W., 2009, Ants of the genus Lordomyrma Emery (1) Generic synonymy, composition and distribution, with notes on Ancyridris Wheeler and Cyphoidris Weber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae)., Zootaxa 1979, pp. 16-28

The status of AncyridrisHNS Wheeler

AncyridrisHNS Wheeler, 1935: 1. Type species (by monotypy): A. polyrhachioides WheelerHNS, 1935: 2 (Mt Misim, PAPUA NEW GUINEA).

A. polyrhachioides WheelerHNS, 1935: 2, fig. 1, a-c; Mt. Misim, PAPUA NEW GUINEA.

A. rupicapra (Stitz)HNS, 1938: 99, fig. 1, a-d; 'DEUTSCH NEU-GUINEA' ( Pheidole (Pheidolacanthinus)HNS (sic!) rupicapraHNS) (Combination: Bolton, 1995: 62).

AncyridrisHNS (Figs 19, 20) is the only putatively endemic ant genus known from New Guinea. It was provisionally cited as a junior synonym of LordomyrmaHNS by Brown (1973: 178), but subsequently listed by him with generic status (Brown, 2000: 47). The suggested synonymy was not followed by Bolton (2003, et al.), and is declined here. Recent studies investigating DNA affinities among a number of myrmicine ants could indicate that the AncyridrisHNS species comprise a sister group to the rump of LordomyrmaHNS (Lucky, Sarnat & Ward pers.coms). Its species could, however, be considered a lineage within the Lordomyrma cladeHNS.

The genus is singularly morphologically distinctive and surprisingly species-rich, yet its taxa are structurally only modestly interspecifically diversified. AncyridrisHNS appears to be limited to elevations above about 1,500 m. in the New Guinean cordillera, often at altitudes above those where ants are otherwise generally well represented. It includes a compact set of at least six undescribed species (ANIC) in addition to L. polyrhachioidesHNS and L. rupicapraHNS. Its members are very alike, with considerable interspecific size variation; usually largely blackish-brown in color (though the 'red goat', A. rupicapraHNS, is reddish-brown) and generally strongly shining, with at most very weak sculpturation, sparse pilosity and strongly developed, elongate, divergent, apically hooked propodeal spines. The anterior clypeal border carries a median point, the frontal carinae and antennal scrobes are vestigial, the petiole strongly and distinctively dorsolaterally bispinose and the postpetiole usually conical above, the antennae are 12-merous and the palpal formula 3:2 in 4 examined species. The clypeal structure, hooked propodeal spines, paired petiolar spines and dorsally extended postpetiole distinguish AncyridrisHNS from LordomyrmaHNS. Differently configured bilateral petiolar spines are present in Lordomyrma rouxiHNS (Figs 17, 18), but they almost certainly represent a homoplasy.

Available specimens are from scattered sites in Papua New Guinea, with very few known from Indonesian West Papua. Sets of up to four sympatric or near-sympatric species are represented, and sympatric associations with LordomyrmaHNS species are unknown. AncyridrisHNS species are as distinctive and bizarre as some of the derivative lowland New Guinean LordomyrmaHNS species. Despite this, their interspecific morphological diversity is relatively low and quite different in degree from that seen among the structurally diverse lowland New Guinean and New Caledonian LordomyrmaHNS species. The genus compares most closely in the nature of its diversity to the Fijian Lordomyrma faunaHNS (see above).

One species from moss forest on Mt Kaindi near Edie Creek (07o21'S, 146o40'E) is a morphologically specialized workerless parasite collected from the nest of another free-living species. Two additional sympatric free-living species are found in the vicinity.

The prospects for discovery of further such sympatric assemblages of AncyridrisHNS species, including additional undescribed taxa, could relate directly to the large number of myrmecologically unexplored high mountain blocs on New Guinea. This significant group is surely not yet well represented in collections.

(-1 examples)

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