Aenictus artipus

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Aenictus artipus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Aenictus
Species: A. artipus
Binomial name
Aenictus artipus
Wilson, 1964

Aenictus artipus casent0281956 p 1 high.jpg

Aenictus artipus casent0281956 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Jaitrong et al. (2010) - Little is known about the bionomics of A. artipus. Nothing is mentioned by Wilson (1964) on it. However, judging from the specimens examined this species mainly inhabits forests located in continental Southeast Asia. This species has been collected in various habitats such as hill evergreen forest, savanna forest, evergreen forest, disturbed forest and agricultural area located near natural seasonal forest. Jaitrong and Wiwatwitaya (2006) found A. artipus (mentioned as Aenictus sp. C) only in the highland (more than 800 m alt.), while our data show that it is occasionally collected also in the lowland (200-500 m alt.). Most colonies of this ant were collected from foraging columns on the forest floor. The single exception was the colony that was collected from a bivouac found under a stone in a dry evergreen forest in the Sakhaerat Ecological Research Station (NE. Thailand) in October (winter). The colony contained larvae but no pupa. So far we have no information about the prey.

Identification

A member of the wroughtonii group. This species is closely related to Aenictus sagei; and Aenictus wroughtonii, all sharing the rounded propodeal junction and smooth and shiny body. A. artipus, however, is distinguished from the latter two by the subpetiolar process with clearly angulate anteroventral corner and denser punctuation in the upper portion of meso- and metapleura.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: Thailand (type locality), Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: China.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about the biology of Aenictus artipus. The genus is comprised of species that live an army ant lifestyle. Aenictus typically prey on other ants, from other genera, or other insects such as wasps or termites. There are reports of Aenictus preying on other insects as well and even have been observed collecting honeydew from homopterans (Santschi, 1933; Gotwald, 1995) but this appears, at least from available evidence, to be uncommon. Foraging raids can occur day or night across the ground surface. Occasionally raids are arboreal. During a raid numerous workers attack a single nest or small area, with several workers coordinating their efforts to carry large prey items back to the nest or bivouac. Aenictus have a nomadic life style, alternating between a migratory phase in which nests are temporary bivouacs in sheltered places above the ground and a stationary phase where semi-permanent underground nests are formed. During the nomadic phase bivouacs move regularly, sometimes more than once a day when larvae require large amounts of food. Individual nests usually contain up to several thousand workers, although nest fragments containing only a few hundred workers are often encountered. Queens are highly specialised and look less like workers than in most ant species. They have greatly enlarged gasters (dichthadiform) and remain flightless throughout their life. New colonies are formed by the division of existing colonies (fission) rather than by individual queens starting colonies on their own.

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Wilson 1964 Army Ant fig 58-63

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • artipus. Aenictus artipus Wilson, 1964a: 449, fig. 60 (w.) THAILAND. See also: Jaitrong, et al. 2010: 36.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Description

Worker

Holotype: HW 0.46mm, HL 0.55 mm, SL 0.63 mm, Sl 137. Closely resembling the syntypes of wroughtoni Forel (q. v.), but differing in the strikingly longer scapes. Also, the diameter of the propodeal spiracle is greater (about 0.06 mm maximum diameter); pedicel somewhat more elongate; pilosity somewhat sparser, especially on mesosoma; and certain areas of mesosoma weakly microreticulate (albeit still feebly shining), namely the dorsal 1/4 of mesopleuron, a narrow strip embracing propodeal-mesopleural junction and posterior 1/2 of the sides of propodeum.

Paratypes: 8 workers, evidently from the same colony as the holotype. HW 0.45-0.47 mm. Two workers chosen at random have the following measurements : HW 0.46 mm, HL 0.57 mm, SL 0.65 mm, Sl 141; HW 0.45 mm, HL 0.58 mm, SL 0.64 mm, Sl 142.

Jaitrong et al. (2010) - Measurements (5 non-type workers). TL 3.2-3.3 mm; HL 0.60-0.63 mm; HW 0.50-0.53 mm; SL 0.65-0.70 mm: ML 1.03-1.05 mm; MTL 0.65-0.68 mm; PL 0.25 mm: CI 80- 84; SI 130-140.

Head in full-face view dearly longer than broad, with its sides slightly convex and posterior margin almost straight. Antennal scape long, extending beyond posterolateral corner of head: antennal segments II-X each longer than broad; II as long as III or less; III as long as IV and V combined; VI shorter than II; VII as long as VI: VIII and IX combined as long as the terminal segment (X). Frontal carina short, not reaching level of posterior margin of torulus. Clypeus short, with its anterior margin bearing 7-10 denticles. Mandible with the apical tooth large and curved, followed by 10-12 minute teeth on masticatory margin. Mesosoma narrow and elongate, seen in profile pronotum convex dorsally: promesonotum sloping gradually to metanotal groove; propodeum slightly lower with its dorsal outline almost straight. Propodeal junction rounded: declivity of propodeum slightly convex. Petiole very narrow, seen from above almost parallel-sided, in profile slightly longer than high, rounded dorsally, with rather flat dorsal face: subpetiolar process weaklyproduce below; its anteroventral corner bluntly angulate; postpetiole slightly shorter than petiole, with its node elevated posteriorly.

Head and antennal scape smooth and shiny. Mesosoma almost entirely smooth and shiny except for upper portion of meso- and metapleura; a groove present between mesopleuron and metapleuron; area between propodeal spiracle and metapleural gland bulla with punctures and rugae.

Body with relatively sparse, obliquely standing hairs mixed with short hairs over the surface; length of the longest pronotal hair 0.13-0.15 mm. Entire body deep yellow to pale brown, with mandible, part of antenna and legs paler.

Type Material

Jaitrong et al. (2010) - Holotype and six paratypes from Chiengmai [Chiang Mai], Siam [Thailand], X-27-20 (Museum of Comparative Zoology, examined).

References

  • Jaitrong, W., Yamane, S. & Wiwatwitaya, D. 2010. The Army Ant Aenictus wroughtonii and related species in the Oriental region, with descriptions of two new species. Japanese Journal of Systematic Entomology 16: 33-36. PDF
  • Jaitrong, W. & Yamane, S. 2011. Synopsis of Aenictus species groups and revision of the A. currax and A. laeviceps groups in the eastern Oriental, Indo-Australian, and Australasian regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Aenictinae). Zootaxa, 3128, 1–46. PDF
  • Liu, C.; Guénard, B.; Hita Garcia, F.; Yamane, S.; Blanchard, B.; Yang, D.-R.; Economo, E. 2015. New records of ant species from Yunnan, China. ZooKeys 477:17-78.
  • Wilson, E. O. 1964a. The true army ants of the Indo-Australian area (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dorylinae). Pac. Insects 6: 427-483 (page 449, fig. 60 worker described)