Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2021)
Distribution: Geographic regions
(According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists): Americas: Bolivia
, Costa Rica
, El Salvador
, Venezuela Biogeographic regions
(According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists): Neotropical
USA (southern Texas) to Costa Rica. Uncertain: Brazil (Rio de Janeiro).
This is a very rare species, known from 6 specimens from 6 widely-spaced localities, plus a questionable record from southern Brazil. Collections have been in dry forest or second-growth wet forest habitats. Longino (2013) knew the species from 5 workers, all from Berlese or Winkler samples of forest floor litter and rotten wood. At that time the northernmost record was the holotype from Tabasco state, Mexico. Soon after publication, Brendon Boudinot identified a E. pilulifera
queen from near Brownsville, Texas!
A distinctive feature that is unique to E. pilulifera
, at least among New World species, is an absence of differentiated setae projecting from the anterior margin of the scape. The dorsal surface of the scape is uniformly covered with scale-like, fully appressed setae. These setae also line the anterior edge but do not project on stalks or differ in any other way from those on the dorsal surface. Other species of Eurhopalothrix
generally have projecting setae on the anterior margin. Eurhopalothrix pilulifera
is most similar to E. alopeciosa
and E. clypeata
, sharing the small size; a similar arrangement and number of erect setae, these almost circular, nearly as broad as wide; and abundant ground pilosity that is strongly flattened and conspicuous. It has a simple clypeus, without an arcuate transverse carina (present in E. clypeata
). The propodeal spine is in the form of a rectangular lamella extending down the posterior face of the propodeum (propodeal spine acute in E. alopeciosa
, with narrow infradental lamella). Eurhopalothrix pilulifera
may also be confused with E. xibalba
, which is larger and has thinner ground pilosity.
The holotype differs from four other workers examined in Longino (2013) in being slightly larger and having a relatively more elongate head (CI 89 versus 95–96). Brown and Kempf (1960) described a paratype queen from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This record should be considered suspect, pending fuller characterization of the fauna in southern Brazil.
The mandible of a Peruvian specimen has a double tooth row. The outer teeth of the masticatory margin are very low and inconspicuous, barely visible. There is an inner row of 6 long, spine-like teeth.
Specimen Habitat Summary
Found most commonly in these habitats: 2 times found in tropical dry forest, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, 1 times found in Bamboo forest, 1 times found in forest, 1 times found in garden, 1 times found in lowland rainforest, 1 times found in montane wet forest bordering river, 1 times found in tropical moist forest.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 6 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times sifted litter (lear mold, rotten wood), 1 times leaf litter, 1 times ex nuts & debris u. Bactris palm, 1 times ex ficus litter with friuts, 1 times cacao pod litter.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 4 times Berlese, 4 times MaxiWinkler, 2 times winkler, 1 times Winkler sample.
Elevations: collected from 5 - 920 meters, 251 meters average
Collect Date Range: collected between 1945-08-16 and 2016-07-16
Type specimens: Holotype Eurhopalothrix pilulifera: jtl698247
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