Metalasius

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Metalasius
Temporal range: 47.8–0 Ma Eocene – Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Alliance: Metalasius genus group
Genus: Metalasius
Boudinot, Borowiec & Prebus, 2022
Type species
Lasius myrmidon, now Metalasius myrmidon
Diversity
1 species
1 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Metalasius contains two known species, the extant Metalasius myrmidon from Greece and the fossil species †Metalasius pumilus (from Baltic amber (Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene) and Bitterfeld amber (Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene)). These species, originally placed in Lasius, are now known to form the sister group to the Prenolepis genus-group (containing Euprenolepis, Nylanderia, Paraparatrechina, Paratrechina, Prenolepis, Pseudolasius and Zatania).

Identification

Total clade definition (worker) (Boudinot et al., 2022).

  1. With characters of Lasiini.
  2. Mandible with 6–8 teeth.
  3. Palp formula 6,4.
  4. Basal and masticatory mandibular margins meeting at a weakly oblique angle.
  5. Clypeus modified for reception of labrum (specifically, clypeus with anterolateral notches; see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 1).
  6. Frontal carinae conspicuous, >0.5 × anteroposterior antennal torulus diameter.
  7. Frontal region of head, between antennal toruli strongly bulging, frontal carinae raised above toruli (see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 2).
  8. Antenna 12-merous.
  9. Third antennomere broader than long (see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 3).
  10. Compound eyes set at about head midlength.
  11. Ocelli absent.
  12. Dorsum of head completely without standing setae or with only a few small setae around each posterolateral head corner (see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 4).
  13. Mesonotum, metanotum and/or propodeum discontinuous, metanotum undifferentiated medially.
  14. Mesopleural anterodorsal margin, near posterolateral region of pronotum, inconspicuously bulging, this weak shoulder a very narrow groove which traverses the mesosternum.
  15. Metapleural gland very small, orifice directed almost completely posteriorly (see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 5).
  16. Propodeal spiracle situated in lower 2/3 of propodeum.
  17. Legs entirely or almost entirely devoid of standing setae.
  18. Petiole with raised squamiform node, without posterior elongation.
  19. Abdominal tergum III vertical, without deep groove for receiving petiole; not concealing petiole when gaster raised (see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 6).
  20. Tergosternal suture of abdominal segment III not raised dorsally before unfusing near spiracle, rather anterior margin of abdominal sternum III directed anteriorly away from helcium before narrowly curving posteriorly (see Boudinot et al. (2022), Note 6).
  21. Pubescence of abdominal terga VI and VII linear.

Metalasius is most easily differentiated from both the Lasius and Prenolepis genus groups by the combination of:

  • mid-set eyes
  • posteriorly directed and reduced metapleural gland orifice
  • raised frontal carinae
  • almost complete lack of standing setae on the head.

In addition, both included species of Metalasius have broad third antennomeres and unusually small bodies relative to Lasius, being <2 mm in total length (Mei, 1998; Dlussky, 2011).

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

 

Distribution

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862

Biology

Castes

Morphology

Phylogeny

Formicinae
Myrmelachistini
Lasiini
Melophorini
Formicini
Gesomyrmecini

Gesomyrmex  (7 species, 12 fossil species)

Oecophyllini

Oecophylla  (15 species, 16 fossil species)

Plagiolepidini
Gigantiopini

Gigantiops  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Santschiellini

Santschiella  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Myrmoteratini

Myrmoteras  (41 species, 0 fossil species)

Camponotini

See Phylogeny of Formicinae for details.

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • METALASIUS [Formicinae: Lasiini]
    • Metalasius Boudinot et al., 2022: 140. Type-species: Lasius myrmidon, by original designation.

References