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Bolivia, Brazil (Amazonas, Bahia, Goi‡s, Par‡, Pernambuco), Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Trinidad, Venezuela. Costa Rica: Atlantic slope. Range maps (South America) (Costa Rica).
Procryptocerus pictipes has been collected from wet forest areas, typically as workers from low vegetation, canopy, or recent treefalls. One nest series was collected in Venezuela, from a dead twig in a treefall. The species is relatively common in canopy fogging samples from La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica.
The sculpture on the first gastral tergite varies geographically, as follows: 1) Central America and Ecuador: distinctly striate; striae moderately regular; underlying micropunctate sculpture weak, giving somewhat shiny appearance; 2) Amazonian Peru, Bolivia: striae pronounced and regular; underlying micropunctate sculpture strong, giving granular appearance; 3) central Amazonian region to coast, Guyana, Venezuela: striae weak, poorly organized; micropunctate sculpture strong, giving granular appearance; 4) two isolated specimens, Colombia, R’o Porce, and Brazil, Goi‡s, Jata’: striae and micropunctate sculpture both nearly effaced. The R’o Porce specimen is shinier than the Jata’ specimen. The former appears derived from typical Central American stock, while the latter appears derived from Amazonian stock. Striae are nearly always visible at the posterior border, even when largely effaced elsewhere. Sculpture on the second gastral tergite varies on small spatial scales (e.g., within Costa Rica). The tergite is often uniformly striate, but striae may be effaced medially or entirely.
Species with which P. pictipes is phenetically similar are P. belti, P. hirsutus, P. convexus, and P. lepidus. One specimen (Brazil, MT: Sinop, 12¡31'S 55¡37'W, Dec. 1974 [M. Alvarenga] [MZSP]), as yet unidentified and probably a new species, shares characters of P. belti and P. convexus. The face is shallowly areolate, like P. convexus. The frontal carinae are closely appressed to the torulus and the clypeus is not at all produced, like P. convexus and P. pictipes. The first gastral tergite is densely micropunctate, with abundant long erect and decumbent setae, like P. belti. The entire promesonotum is irregularly foveate, like P. belti.
A phylogenetic hypothesis leads from P. rudis-group species to P. belti/hirsutus to the Sinop specimen to P. convexus and finally to P. pictipes. In this series, one can see the gradual evolution of foveate facial sculpture, starting with the pronounced clathrate sculpture of the P. rudis-group. In this scenario, the high clathrate sculpture and elevated frontal carinae are plesiomorphic. Speciation produces P. belti, with character shifts toward smaller size, dense punctate sculpture on the first gastral tergite, and dense erect and appressed setae on the first gastral tergite. As the lineage spreads from a Central American or Andean origin into the Amazon, it becomes larger and develops longitudinal striae on the mesonotum. This is P. hirsutus, parapatric with P. belti. Somewhere within the range of P. belti/hirsutus, speciation produces a new form in which the frontal carinae become closely appressed to the dorsum of the torulus, resulting in a somewhat shorter clypeus, and the clathrate face sculpture becomes very shallow. This is the specimen from Sinop. This new lineage is capable of coexisting with the P. belti/hirsutus lineage. As it spreads, it loses the dense setae on the gaster, leaving only sparse erect setae, clustered near the postpetiolar insertion. One form loses the punctate sculpture, and becomes P. convexus. Another form develops the beginning of facial foveae. The polygons of the shallow clathrate sculpture become more rounded, as the walls thicken, and the floors of the foveae lose the shininess and develop microareolate sculpture. Also, the punctation on the first gastral tergite begins to align and incipient striae are formed. This form, P. pictipes, is very successful and spreads throughout the Amazon and into the Andes and up to Costa Rica. As it moves, the first gastral tergite becomes more regularly striate, and the underlying punctation weakens.
It may be that P. convexus and the Sinop form represent peripheral populations that speciated through allopatry, generating P. pictipes, which then spread northward and westward. This would follow the traditional view of speciation occurring at the edges of ranges. Alternatively, we could be seeing the results of "centripetal speciation" of Brown, in which successive waves of new forms spread from the center. Procryptocerus pictipes may be the newest lineage, spreading and displacing earlier P. pictipes-like forms. The Sinop form and P. convexus would then represent ancestral forms, previously with larger ranges, and now occurring as relicts at the edges of the range of P. pictipes.
The relationship with P. lepidus is unclear. Procryptocerus lepidus occurs in southeastern Brazil, and may be a parapatric version of P. pictipes. One series (Brazil: Minas Gerais: Lavras, 20 Oct 1978 [W. D. Fronk] [MCZC]), appears intermediate between P. pictipes and P. lepidus. This series has the first gastral tergite striate and punctate, much like Bolivian and eastern Peruvian P. pictipes, but the face sculpture is more linearly arranged rather than foveate.
[[ worker ]] Per la forma di tutte le parti del corpo e per la scultura del torace e dell'addome, rassomiglia moltissimo alla specie precedente, ma e molto piu piccola. Le tibie, parte dei tarsi, lo scapo e la base del flagello sono rosso ferrugineo chiaro, il resto nero. Sul capo, la scultura fondamentale e piu debole, il vertice alquanto lucido; non vi sono rughe longitudinali, le fossette rotonde sono molto piu grandi e superficiali, appena impresse sul vertice; le guanee sole rugose. I segmenti posteriori dell'addome sono obliquamente striati. I peli sono sottili, giallognoli, clavati, quelli del metanoto piu luughi, quelli del capo piu corti di tutti. L. 3 1 / 4 mm.
Suerre presso Jimenez, Costa Rica; un esemplare E la piu piccola specie del genere.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 2 times found in tropical moist forest, 3 times found in CCL 700m., 5 times found in rainforest, 1 times found in LOC, 1 times found in lowland wet forest, 1 times found in mature rainforest, 1 times found in mature wet forest, 1 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in Primary forest and second growth habitats, 1 times found in CC 1200 m., ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times ex dead twig, 1 times on low vegetation, 2 times in fresh treefall, 2 times copa de árbol, 2 times Canopy sample, Luehea seemannii, 1 times on low vegn., edge of secondgrowth rainforest., 1 times on large barkless log, 1 times mature forest, 1 times flight intercept trap, 1 times ex dead twig, recent treefall, edge of secondgrowth rainforest., 1 times Canopy fogging, sample #01/110/03., ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 28 times fogging, 9 times search, 2 times Malaise trap, 2 times canopy fogging, 1 times COPAS canopy ~35m up in dead twig, 1 times Dead twig above ground & in same branch as #3433, 1 times FIT, 1 times Malaise, 1 times Nest in dead branch in tree fall, 1 times Baiting.
Elevations: collected from 42 - 1020 meters, 147 meters average
Type specimens: Lectotype of Procryptocerus pictipes: casent0904897