Protalaridris punctata

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Protalaridris punctata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Protalaridris
Species: P. punctata
Binomial name
Protalaridris punctata
Lattke, 2018

Protalaridris punctata MIZA0021675 P.jpg

Protalaridris punctata MIZA0021675 D.jpg

This species, along with Protalaridris bordoni, are presently only known from the cloud forests in the vicinity of the Estación Biológica of the Universidad Central de Venezuela in the Coastal Mountains of Venezuela. Most specimens of this species come from a single 1m2 leaf litter sample taken at 1225 m during a study of ant diversity in the Rancho Grande cloud forest (Lattke & Riera, 2012). The same field work uncovered a dealate queen in a soil sample taken at an altitude some 200 m higher.

Identification

Lattke et al. (2018) - Worker: Mandible with dorsal row of 5–8 preapical teeth of varying length, cephalic dorsum without brief longitudinal carina extending posterad from antennal insertion, external scape margin with 8–10 erect hairs. In lateral view mesosomal dorsal margin mostly flat to weakly convex, joining propodeal tooth through broadly convex dorsal margin; propodeal tooth broad, roughly shaped as equilateral triangle.

The labral hairs of this species are apparently not flattened, in contrast with all other Protalaridris, though this could be an artifact of preservation methods. Better resolution could be gained using SEM and dissecting the mouthparts. The mandibles of Protalaridris punctata are relatively shorter than other armata group species and their dorsal margin is not concave in lateral view but straight, forming an obtuse angle with the dorsal cephalic margin. Protalaridris bordoni can be separated from Protalaridris punctata by the following differences, amongst others: The transverse carina of the cephalic dorsum is more prominent and higher than the surrounding integument, and the median clypeal carina is longer and more prominent as well. The posterolateral cephalic border is convex with a weakly impressed median concavity in full-face view. The frontal lobes are smaller in but each has a posterior longitudinal carina that reaches the level of the posterior end of the median cephalic carina. The external margin of the scape has 7 spatulate erect hairs. The mandible presents two large pre-apical teeth; the basal tooth is the largest, ventromesially projecting and crossing with opposing tooth, not apically bifurcate, and with a low preapical denticle; the other tooth projects mesoventrally and is smaller, not touching the opposing tooth when the mandibles are closed. Its labrum is elongate with the apex of each lobe having three flattened lanceolate hairs that twist approximately 90° at mid-length, so the basal plane faces anterad, but the apical plane faces laterad. Also present are 1–2 very short, weakly spatulate hairs along the internal margin of the median labral cleft. The mesosomal dorsum is convex in lateral view and the pronotum has an obliquely transverse anterior carina that defines a steep slope that falls onto the pronotal collar. Besides the characters used in the key Protalaridris armata may be separated from Protalaridris punctata by the broad labral setae that contrast with the narrow setae in the latter species, Protalaridris punctata also has an angularly cleft labrum, not curved as in Protalaridris armata. The mandible in Protalaridris punctata bears a dorsal row of arched, mesially projecting spatulate setae that bear no resemblance to the multitude of slender arching setae along the interior mandibular surface of Protalaridris armata. Protalaridris punctata also has a dorsal row of preapical teeth on the mandible, a feature lacking in Protalaridris armata. In a lateral view the dorsal mandibular margin of Protalaridris armata is sinuous, convex basally and then concave apicad of the basal ventral tooth, but in Protalaridris punctata this margin is mostly straight with no sinuosity. The mesosomal dorsum is flattened in Protalaridris punctata and has slender, sharp propodeal spines that contrast with the broadly triangular spines of Protalaridris armata and its weakly convex mesosomal margin.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Venezuela (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • punctata. Protalaridris punctata Lattke, in Lattke et al., 2018: 288, figs. 9a-d (w.q.) VENEZUELA.

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

Description

Worker

Holotype (paratypes, n = 5): HL 0.63 (0.62–0.67); HW 0.67 (0.63–0.68); ML 0.35 (0.33–0.35); EL 0.05 (0.03–0.04); SL 0.35 (0.32–0.35); PW 0.38 (0.37–0.40); WL 0.62 (0.62–0.62); PH 0.18 (0.17–0.18); PL 0.28 (0.25–0.28); DPW 0.20 (0.18–0.20) mm. CI 1.05 (1.03–1.07); MI 0.53 (0.50–0.53); OI 0.08 (0.05–0.06); SI 0.53 (0.48–0.53); LPI 0.65 (0.63–0.73); DPI 0.71 (0.69–0.77).

Head in frontal view shaped as irregular hexagon (L ≈ W): lateral angle broadly convex; anterolateral margin more than twice as long as posterolateral margin; posterior margin broadly cleft, forming bluntly angular lateral occipital lobes. Eye reduced but distinct, anteroventrally oriented, separated from antennal fossa along lateral cephalic margin by 3 diameters. Cephalic dorsum mostly areolate-rugulose; dominated by broadly posteriorly convex, blunt, transverse crest that originates laterally just posterad of eye, and separates elevated posterior cephalic region from lower anterior region by anterior facing slope, the latter larger than the former; small smooth area present just posterad of posteromedian clypeal apex, frons with median longitudinal carina present on weakly raised longitudinal crest, both fading just anterad of transverse crest. Cephalic dorsum with mesially facing oblong appressed hairs, apically cuspidate; frontal lobe with similar hairs but facing anterad, and broader; occipital carina fine and arched, width less than pronotal width, occiput areolate, posterolateral region areolate-rugulose. Cephalic ventrum mostly areolate to areolate-rugulose, posterolaterally densely punctulate.

Mandibles form complex cradle or cage bound by the main axis of each mandible as well as prominent ventral tooth. Mandible in full length view slender, progressively tapering towards apex, slightly arched until close to 2/3 length, at which mandibles cross, each bending approximately 40 degrees mesad. Base of mandible, close to cephalic insertion, expands into flange with smooth rim and areolate dorsal surface. Mandible dorsally and dorsolaterally with scattered rugulae and decumbent oblong pilosity directed apicad; ventrally, ventrolaterally, and internal surface smooth and shining. Mandible apicad of crossing dark brown, smooth and exquisitely pointed. Mandible extends anterodorsally at a 45° angle relative to the dorsal cephalic surface in lateral view, ventral tooth tapers posteroventrally, slightly arched, its length about 1/3 that of lateral mandibular length. Mandibular cross-section at midlength crescent-shaped, dorsal margin with 5–8 teeth of varying lengths, longest at mandibular mid-length, length of each tooth not more than mandibular width at base of tooth; dorsal mandibular margin with series of apically truncate spatulate hairs, each longer than longest preapical tooth and arching mesad. Ventral internal mandibular margin with 3 small teeth close to mandibular crossing point. Mandible with prominent ventromedially directed tooth, situated closer to mandibular base than apex in mandibular full length view; ventral tooth in dorsal view tapering apicad, posterior margin edentate and broadly concave; length approximately equal to length of smooth apex of mandible in full length view. In anterior view, ventral tooth relatively straight with 1–2 small decumbent, acute teeth along anterodorsal margin; apex of tooth expanded into asymmetrical fork with stout dorsal preapical tooth, at least 3x longer than smaller teeth, apical tooth with broad base and broadly concave dorsal margin. Dorsal surface of ventral tooth smooth and shining with single long hair at mid-length. With mandibles closed the apex of each ventral tooth cross; apical and large preapical tooth ferruginous brown, smooth and shining.

Lateral extremities of labrum not visible in dorsal view with mandibles closed, basal ridge weakly but distinctly sinuous; anteromedially a deep incision forms an acute angle over one-half the length of the labrum, dividing it into two lobes. Ventral surface mostly smooth and shining, dorsal surface sculpted, not smooth and shining. Anterolateral margin of each lobe with four long aciculate hairs, each on low triangular lobule, second hair from labral median cleft the longest. Two hairs closest to cleft parallel and directed ventrally, anterolateral hairs weakly diverging and directed lateroventrally; two to four minute hairs may be present within cleft. Labral hairs parallel to ventral tooth in lateral view and of same length as tooth. Palpal formula unknown. Scape in dorsal view longitudinally rugulose with apical two-thirds mostly straight and parallel, anterobasal lobe weakly expanded anterad, short decumbent hairs present on scape. Cross-section of scape at midlength flattened, external margin wider than internal margin, dorsal margin broadly convex, ventral margin mostly straight. External scape margin defined by narrow longitudinal lamellae, one along ventral margin and another along dorsal margin; external scape margin bears 8–10 weakly spatulate, erect hairs that stem from anteroventral margin, apically either truncate, bifid or trifurcate; one hair close to basal angle, usually third or fourth from anterior margin noticeably longer than others and parallel-sided, in oblique view spatulate hairs weakly arched.

Mesosomal dorsum in lateral view straight to broadly convex, sometimes pronotum and mesonotum each form weak convexity, dorsal propodeal margin straight to weakly convex; declivitous margin anteriorly concave, confluent with lamellate, triangular and sharply pointed propodeal tooth, posterior declivitous margin straight to concave. Mesosomal dorsum rugulose, with numerous decumbent, weakly spatulate hairs; promesonotal suture present as shallow transverse sulcus. Lateral pronotum, mesometapleura, and propodeum densely punctulate, wanting pilosity; pronotum lacking transverse crest or carina delimiting pronotal collar from rest of sclerite, coarse areolae present along dorsolateral region, besides appressed hairs; transverse rugulae present on katepisternum. Promesonotal surface overhanging lateral pronotal surface; propodeal dorsum not as wide as lateral surface, lateral metapleural – propodeal surface visible in dorsal mesosomal view.

Petiolar node in lateral view convex, anterior petiolar margin mostly straight to weakly concave, anteroventral process shaped as low angular lobe, postpetiolar dorsal margin in lateral view broadly convex, convexity increasing posterad. Postpetiole transverse in dorsal view, with shallow median longitudinal sulcus separating low lateral convexities, anterior margin concave and shorter than convex posterior margin, dorsum of petiolar node and postpetiole areolate- rugulose with posteriorly directed appressed and slender lanceolate hairs. Dorsal margin of abdominal tergum IV broadly convex in lateral view, ventral margin markedly convex, with greatest height just anterad of gastral mid-length; densely punctulate, space between depressions less than their diameters; pilosity consisting of sparse arched subdecumbent flattened hairs, and some 25–32 suberect, weakly spatulate, truncate hairs forming 6–8 ill-defined longitudinal rows, most hairs situated on posterior two-thirds of tergite, pilosity not obscuring sculpturing. Abdominal tergum IV with transverse carina along anterodorsal margin, separating dorsum from anterior surface. First gastral ventrum with dense, scalloped punctures, abruptly impressed anterad and gradually impressed posterad, sparsely clothed by short decumbent hairs pointing posterad, and sparse suberect hairs. Sting stout.

Tarsal claws simple, long and slender; legs stout, not elongate; protibial apex with spatulate hair anterolaterally, plus two flattened linear hairs laterally and posterolaterally, lateral hair longest; rest of hairs on protibia short, arched. Mesotibial apex with spatulate hair, lateral surface of meso- and metatarsi each with two longitudinal rows of spatulate hairs, apex of lateral surface of each with single spatulate hair, apically wider than that of protibia. Body mostly ferruginous, darker tint on transverse cephalic carina and cephalic dorsum posterad of carina, apex of mandible and ventral mandibular tooth, mesosomal dorsum and propodeal lamella, including tooth, and gaster throughout.

Queen

HL 0.70; HW 0.37; ML 0.13; EL 0.37; SL 0.55; PW 0.95; WL 0.22; PH 0.33; PL 0.23; DPW 0.23 mm. CI 1.07; MI 0.49; OI 0.18; SI 0.49; LPI 0.65; DPI 0.70.

The queen bears great resemblance to the worker save characters typical for a queen. Head with frontovertexal carina better developed in full-face view, head posterior to transverse carina gradually protruding dorsad mesially, highest point at ocelli, ocelli inconspicuous, compound eye weakly convex but distinctly visible in full face view. Mesoscutum dorsally flattened with shallow posteromedian concavity, mostly with longitudinal roughened costulae; transscutal articulation posteriorly convex, finely impressed but distinct; scutoscutellar suture anteriorly convex, deeper and broader than transscutal articulation; axilla transverse, shaped as elongate scalene triangle; scutellum extends posterad as a blunt lobe. Pronotum with vertical anterior face in lateral view of mesosoma, separated from lateral face by blunt vertical ridge, lateral face mostly smooth with abundant punctae and posterior margin that projects into anepisternum as rounded lobe. Anapleural suture broad and deep. Dorsal mesosomal margin, from scutum to scutellum, horizontal, abruptly dropping posteriorly. Propodeal spiracle facing posterad, declivity areolate. Gastral tergum I with more than 50 erect hairs.

Type Material

Holotype worker. VENEZUELA. Aragua: Parque Nacional Henri Pittier, Rancho Grande via La Cumbre, 10°21´17˝N, 67°40´55˝W, 1225 m, 26.i.2008, M. Riera 160, R. Luján, J. Valera, leg. One point-mounted worker to be deposited in Instituto de Zoologia Agricola but presently in Coleção Entomológica Pe. Jesus Santiago Moure. Paratypes. Same series as the holotype: 2 workers to be deposited in National Museum of Natural History, 2w California Academy of Sciences, 2w Museum of Comparative Zoology, 2w DZUP 548782, 3w MIZA, 2w Insect Collection, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, 2w Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. One MIZA paratype is point-mounted on the same pin as the holotype, but the holotype has its point stained red. As with the holotype, the MIZA paratypes will be temporarily kept in DZUP.

Etymology

The species epithet is derived from the Latin punctus, to prick or puncture, in allusion to the exquisitely pointed and smooth mandibular apex, suggesting impalement of its prey.

References