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Genus Pseudomyrma , Guer.

Antennae sub-clavate, 13-jointed in the females, 12-jointed in the workers, the antennae slightly thickened towards their apex, not quite so long as the head and thorax, inserted on the anterior part of the face, near the mouth, on each side of a short elevated carina. Mandibles triangular, denticulated on their inner margin. Eyes elongate-ovate, very large, occupying a large portion of the head: ocelli three, placed in a triangle on the vertex. Thorax elongate, compressed at the sides; the anterior wings having one marginal and two complete submarginal cells, the second receiving the first recurrent nervure near its base; one discoidal cell; legs short and stout. Abdomen ovate; the first segment forming an elongate pedunculated node, the second large and globose.

The name Pseudomyrma is proposed for the insects comprised in this genus by Lund, in the Annales des Sciences Naturelles, 1831; but the only character there given is the extraordinary size of the eyes; the genus is fully characterized by Guerin in the Iconographie du Règne Animal.

The observation of the habits of these curious ants given by Lund is, that they are to be found running on the trunks and leaves of shrubs and trees; our indefatigable and observant countryman, Mr. H. W. Bates, sends me the following account of one of the species, P. oculata : " Its colonies I have hitherto found only in the tumuli of different species of Termes ; in some instances I found them in spacious elliptical chambers, in the outer walls of the Termitaria; one colony to each chamber; the chambers wide apart and having no connection with each other; the number of individuals few in each colony; the pupae are not enclosed in cocoons. In some instances I have found them with their larva and pupae within the same chambers as the Termes , in different parts of the Termitarium; the workers are sometimes found in numbers, coursing rapidly over trees and herbage. Another species constructs its Formicarium in the pith tube of dried twigs, the colonies are not numerous." We may from these circumstances perceive that they are insects of varied habit, and that, like those of the genera Formica and Myrmica found in this country, some prefer to construct their habitations under ground, others in decaying trees, whilst at least one species chooses part of the same mound or tumuli, as a species of Termite; in the same manner we find species of Myrmica scabrinodis occupying one side of a little hillock, and Formica flava the other.

I have a very strong suspicion that some of the species described in this paper belong to the genus Condylodon , proposed by Lund, whilst others would fall into that of Pseudomyrma ; the distinctions between these being merely indicated by that author in his communication to his friend Audouin; but as the species which presents the greatest disparity to the type ( P. advena ) is one of which I possess the winged female, and as 1 find the neuration identical with that of the typical species, I retain them all in one genus.

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Plazi

Source: Plazi.org

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