Temporal range: Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene Baltic amber, Baltic Sea region
(Wheeler, W.M., 1915)
Dlussky (1997) postulated that this species likely did not belong in Iridomyrmex and that it “... most probably should be placed into another genus ...” However, he did not erect a new genus for it as he only had Wheeler’s (1915) drawing available and did not feel this was sufficient to establish a new genus. It is clear that this species does not belong to Iridomyrmex, and is, in fact, so distinct that assignment to a separate, and new, genus seems straightforward. This genus, Eldermyrmex, was established by Shattuck (in Heterick & Shattuck, 2011).
Key to the species of the genus Eldermyrmex
Key based on Dubovikoff et al. (2019).
- Head long (CI 158), with subparallel sides and straight occipital margin. Basal surface of propodeum is more long than declivous (Pl. 1, figs. 1, 2). Petiole with small conical node inclined forward => Eldermyrmex oblongiceps
- Head shorter (CI 120), with convex sides and deeply concave occipital margin. Basal surface of propodeum distinctly shorter than declivous. Petiole with high vertical conical node (Pl. 1, figs. 5, 6) => Eldermyrmex exsectus
This taxon was described from Baltic amber (Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- †oblongiceps. †Iridomyrmex oblongiceps Wheeler, W.M. 1915h: 93, fig. 45 (w.) BALTIC AMBER (Eocene). Provisionally retained in Iridomyrmex: Shattuck, 1992a: 16. Combination in †Ctenobethylus: Dlussky & Rasnitsyn, 2009: 1036; in †Eldermyrmex: Shattuck, in Heterick & Shattuck, 2011: 170.
- Dlussky, G.M. 1997. Genera of ants from Baltic Amber. Paleontological Journal, 31(6), 616–627.
- Dlussky, G.M. & Rasnitsyn, A.P. 2009. Ants in the Upper Eocene amber of central and eastern Europe. Paleontological Journal 43: 1024-1042.
- Dubovikoff, D.A., Dlussky, G.M., Perkovsky, E.E., Abakumov, E.V. 2019. A new species of the genus Eldermyrmex Shattuck, 2011 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from Bitterfeld Amber (Late Eocene) with species key of the genus. Paleontological Journal 53, 994–997 (doi:10.1134/S0031030119100046).
- Heterick, B.E. & Shattuck, S.O. 2011. Revision of the ant genus Iridomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2845: 1–174.
- Shattuck, S.O. 1992. Review of the dolichoderine ant genus Iridomyrmex Mayr with descriptions of three new genera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. Entomol. Soc. 31: 13-18.
- Wheeler, W. M. 1915. The ants of the Baltic Amber. Schr. Phys.-Ökon. Ges. Königsb. 55: 1-142.