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Species: Liometopum occidentale   Emery, 1895 

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See Also:

Liometopum occidentale luctuosum, Liometopum occidentale occidentale

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2017)

Liometopum microcephalum var. occidentale Emery, 1895d PDF: 330 (w.m.) U.S.A. Nearctic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Wheeler, 1917a PDF: 522 (q.).
Raised to species: Wheeler, 1917a PDF: 521.
See also: Del Toro, et al. 2009: 330.

Taxon Page Images:

Liometopum occidentale velvety tree ant workers tending larvae of the copper butterfly Lycaena xanthoides. The caterpillars produce a substance attractive to the ants, and the ants provide protection from predators and parasites. Kern County, California, USA.
Image © Alex Wild.


Nearctic Region: California, Oregon, Utah, Washington
Neotropical Region: Aragua, Venezuela

Distribution Notes:



Typically associated with deciduous trees (not conifers), often oaks (Quercus spp.).


In the North American fauna, L. occidentale may be recognized by its bicolored pattern, abundantly hairy gastral dorsum, and distribution (see map).

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 35 times found in oak woodland, 38 times found in riparian woodland, 12 times found in valley riparian woodland, 9 times found in chaparral, 8 times found in gully riparian woodland, 5 times found in Quercus-Pinus-Pseudotsuga forest, 3 times found in Quercus-Pinus-Pseudotsuga, 4 times found in riparian vegetation, 1 times found in open, grassy area, 1 times found in chaparral/oak woods, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 25 times ground foragers, 22 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), 11 times on tree trunk, 5 times on Arctostaphylos, 3 times on trunk of valley oak, 5 times on low vegetation, liometopum huge columns moving around and on base of oak tree (prob. Q. lo times 1830, 3 times ex rotten log, 3 times foraging on trunk of oak, 3 times pitfall trap, 1 times on oak tree, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 25 times tunafish bait, 15 times hand collecting, 13 times pitfall trap, 7 times Bay Area Ant Survey (BAAS), 4 times search, 4 times malaise trap, 3 times light trap collecting, 0 times Under rock, 3 times Winkler sifter, 0 times Base of tree, 1 times Pitfall traps, ...

Elevations: collected from 2 - 3114 meters, 483 meters average

Type specimens: Lectotype of Liometopum microcephalum occidentale: casent0905042

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