Overview

Comprehensive Description

Genus Pogonomyrmex Mayr HNS

The species in this genus are seed-harvesting ants, whose nest mounds are often conspicuously decorated with pebbles. The workers are diurnal and have a potent sting.

Several of the taxa belong to difficult complexes, and species boundaries remain unclear. In neighboring Arizona a series of stabilized hybrid lineages has been documented in the P. barbatus-complex HNS (Helms Cahan et al. 2002).

Species identification: keys in Cole (1966), Wheeler and Wheeler (1986g) and Mackay and Mackay (2002). Additional references: Davidson (1977a), De Vita (1979), Gordon (1999), Groark (2001), Helms Cahan et al. (2002), Hölldobler (1976a, 1976c), Johnson (2000a, 2001), Knudtson (1978), Kusnezov (1951e), Lei (2000), MacKay (1980, 1981, 1982), MacKay and MacKay (1989), O’Dowd and Hay (1980), Olsen (1934), Parker and Rissing (2002), Ryti and Case (1988), Schmidt (1998), Shattuck (1987), Snelling(1982a), Taber (1990, 1998), Taber et al. (1987, 1988), Wheeler (1902a, 1914e).

  • Ward, P. S. (2005): A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936, 1-68: 35-35, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/21008/21008.pdf
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Ward, P. S.

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

The species in this genus are seed-harvesting ants, whose nest mounds are often conspicuously decorated with pebbles. The workers are diurnal and have a potent sting.

 

Several of the taxa belong to difficult complexes, and species boundaries remain unclear. In neighboring Arizona a series of stabilized hybrid lineages has been documented in the P. barbatus-complex (Helms Cahan et al. 2002).

 

Species identification: keys in Cole (1966), Wheeler and Wheeler (1986g) and Mackay and Mackay (2002). Additional references: Davidson (1977a), De Vita (1979), Gordon (1999), Groark (2001), Helms Cahan et al. (2002), Hölldobler (1976a, 1976c), Johnson (2000a, 2001), Knudtson (1978), Kusnezov (1951e), Lei (2000), MacKay (1980, 1981, 1982), MacKay and MacKay (1989), O’Dowd and Hay (1980), Olsen (1934), Parker and Rissing (2002), Ryti and Case (1988), Schmidt (1998), Shattuck (1987), Snelling(1982a), Taber (1990, 1998), Taber et al. (1987, 1988), Wheeler (1902a, 1914e).

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Ecology

Associations

Known predators

Pogonomyrmex (harvester ant) is prey of:
Gekkonidae
Phrynosoma
Oreoscoptes montanus
Turdus migratorius
Sialia
Scorpiones
Araneae
Geococcyx velox

Based on studies in:
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • P. G. Howes, The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World: A Brief Biology of the Giant Cactus Forest of Our American Southwest (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, New York; Little, Brown, Boston; 1954), from pp. 222-239, from p. 227.
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Known prey organisms

  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • P. G. Howes, The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World: A Brief Biology of the Giant Cactus Forest of Our American Southwest (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, New York; Little, Brown, Boston; 1954), from pp. 222-239, from p. 227.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:325Public Records:121
Specimens with Sequences:287Public Species:13
Specimens with Barcodes:258Public BINs:20
Species:31         
Species With Barcodes:28         
          
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pogonomyrmex AR01

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pogonomyrmex sp. CIP01

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Pogonomyrmex

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Wikipedia

Pogonomyrmex

Pogonomyrmex is a genus of harvester ants, occurring primarily in the deserts of North and South America. The genus name originated from the Greek language and refers to a beard-like structure, the psammophore, below the head (Greek πώγων/pōgōn, "beard" + μύρμηξ/murmēx, "ant"), which can be found in most species of the subgenus sensu stricto. The psammophore is used for gathering small seeds, helping to increase the efficiency of transportation of fine sand and pebbles during nest construction, or to carry eggs. However, this structure is missing in species of the subgenus Ephebomyrmex (Greek ἔφηβος/ephēbos, "beardless lad"), and these species generally have smaller individuals and colonies.

Pogonomyrmex (sensu stricto) workers have the most toxic venom documented in any insects, with Pogonomyrmex maricopa being the most toxic tested thus far.[2] It has an LD50 of only 0.12 mg/kg, compared to western honey bee venom, at 2.8 mg/kg, and comparable to cobra venom. The venom is presumed to be an antivertebrate defense, specifically against predators that have evolved to selectively feed on them such as horned lizards. Very few insects have had the toxicity of their venoms formally tested, and other insects likely have more potent venoms.

These ants dig very deep nests with many underground chambers in which they keep seeds, from which they derive food for their larvae. The areas around most Pogonomyrmex (sensu stricto) nests tend to be utterly devoid of vegetation, and are easily seen from a distance. In addition to horned lizards, predatory wasps in the genus Clypeadon feed only on Pogonomyrmex workers, paralyzing them with their venom, and carrying them back to a burrow where they will serve as food for the wasp's larva.

Species[edit]

As of 2014, there are 68 extant and 1 fossil species in the genus.[1]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bolton, B. (2014). "Pogonomyrmex". An online catalog of the ants of the world. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  2. ^ W. L. Meyer (1996-05-01). "Chapter 23 — Most Toxic Insect Venom". Book of Insect Records. University of Florida. 
  3. ^ Johnson, R. A., et al. (2013). A new species of seed-harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex hoelldobleri (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), from the Mohave and Sonoran Deserts of North America. Zootaxa 3646(3), 201-27.
  4. ^ a b Cuezzo, F. and S. Claver. (2009). Two new species of the ant genus Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Argentina. Rev. Soc. Entomol. Argent 68(1-2), 97-106.
  5. ^ Johnson, R. A. and R. P. Overson. (2009). A new North american species of Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Mohave Desert of eastern California and western Nevada. Journal of Hymenptera Research 18(2), 305-14.
  6. ^ Lattke, J. E. (2006). A new species of Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from gallery forests of the Orinoco Watershed, Venezuela. Myrmecologische Nachrichten 8, 53-57.
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