Temnothorax oxynodis

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Temnothorax oxynodis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species: T. oxynodis
Binomial name
Temnothorax oxynodis
(Mackay, W.P., 2000)

Temnothorax oxynodis castype17706 profile 1.jpg

Temnothorax oxynodis castype17706 dorsal 1.jpg

Mackay (2000) reports the type label state "Emerged fr.: Knob-cone pine IV-1958" and that the ants were likely extracted from pine needle litter. Additional workers have been collected in a Pinus attenuata forest by Phil Ward and Brian Fisher.

Identification

Leptothorax oxynodis is readily separated from other Temnothorax with an 11-segmented antenna by the sharply acute petiolar node.

Mackay (2000) - A member of the Temnothorax nitens species complex. This species is distinct and easily recognized as it has an 11-segmented antenna, and the node of the petiole is sharply acute. Additionally, the head is finely rugose, the mesosoma is densely punctate and the propodeal spines are tiny, blunt angles. The area on the dorsum of the mesosoma at the mesopropodeal suture is depressed below the remainder of the mesosoma. The mesosoma has abundant blunt-tipped hairs (nearly spatulate), those on petiole are finer.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

United States: California.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).


Distribution based on AntMaps

AntMapLegend.png

Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Habitat

Workers collected in Pinus attenuata forest.

Abundance

Only known from a few collections.

Biology

Not much is known about the the biology of Temnothorax oxynodis. We can speculate that the biology of this species is likely to be similar to other North American species of this genus.

Temnothorax is a diverse genus but most species do show a remarkable consistency in some important aspects of their biology. Workers and colonies are small. As a group they nest in many places: small cavities in the soil, under or among stones or in small cavities in living or dead vegetation. Individually, most species have a strong preference for how and where they nest, e.g., there are gall nesting species, soil nesters, arboreal species, those that nest in small downed twigs, etc. Their nest entrances are often a cryptic, tiny hole that is only found by observing a worker exiting or entering the nest. A few common and abundant species are relatively well studied but the majority are rare or are rarely collected. For all but the most common and abundant species finding a nest is difficult because of the combination of their small colony size, small workers, unaggressive behavior, and diminutive, inconspicuous nests. In a few cases where we do know the diet of a species, it consists of sweet exudates and general scavenging of insect pieces and other items. It is presumed most of the unstudied Temnothorax have a similar diet. Aphid tending and hunting small soil arthropods may also be a part of their foraging repertoire. For all the consistency in these characters, individual species exhibit wide variation in others. Habitat affinities are often restrictive at the species level (but overall Temnothorax can be found in places that range from high elevation, high latitude, forests to hot, dry desert regions). Queen number is difficult to predict; there are species that are polygnous, monogynous, and even some species with seasonal polydomy that vary in nesting site queen number over the course of the year. There is also little consistency in color from species to species.

Nomenclature

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

  • oxynodis. Leptothorax (Myrafant) oxynodis Mackay, W.P., 2000: 385, figs. 63, 146 (w.) U.S.A. Combination in Temnothorax: Bolton, 2003: 272.

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

Description

Worker

Anterior border of clypeus straight, clypeus with well developed medial carina and several lateral carinae; vertex concave; mesosoma with none of the sutures breaking surface, although the mesosoma is slightly depressed at the mesopropodeal suture, which is obvious on dorsum of mesosoma; propodeal angles small; petiole with very sharp apex as seen in profile.

Erect hairs scattered over surface, maximum length 0.6mm, blunt or weakly spatulate, absent from antennae and legs, which have decumbent hairs.

Sculpture generally rough, head with fine rugae, surface shining between rugae, mesosoma densely punctate, punctures on side in rows forming weak striae, side of petiole punctate, forming striae which pass vertically to top of node, side of postpetiole punctate, posterior face of petiolar node with rugae which pass from the base to node, lateral edges of top of postpetiole with fine rugae, top mostly punctate, gaster smooth and shining.

Color: medium brown, gaster infuscated, eye black.

Worker measurements: HL 0.76, HW 0.64, SL 0.52, EL 0.17, WL 0.83, PW 0.17, PL 0.15, PPWO.24, PPL 0.20. Indices: CI84, SI 68, PI 113, PPI 120.

Queen

No Queens known for this species.

Male

No males known for this species.

Type Material

Holotype worker. USA. California, Santa Cruz Co., near Big Basin, ix-1957, D. Giuliani. California Academy of Sciences

Etymology

Morphological. From Greek oxys, sharp, acute, referring to the acute apex of the petiolar node.

References

  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 272, Combination in Temnothorax)
  • MacKay, W. P. 2000. A review of the New World ants of the subgenus Myrafant, (Genus Leptothorax) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology. 36:265-444.
  • Snelling, R.R., Borowiec, M.L. & Prebus, M.M. 2014. Studies on California ants: a review of the genus Temnothorax (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 372, 27–89. doi:10.3897/zookeys.372.6039