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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Genus Leptothorax HNS Mayr, 1855

Leptothorax HNS Mayr, 1855:431.

Type-species: Formica acervorum Fabricius HNS , 1793.

North European species small, worker length 2.3-4 mm. Body hairs clavate, not pointed; pronotum rounded anterolaterally; propodeal spines distinct; antennae 11 or 12 segmented in female castes, with 3 segmented club as long as rest of funiculus. Male has 12 or 13 antennal segments. Mandibles distinctly 5-toothed. Notauli very distinct.

In Europe, there are at least 40 species distinguishable on rather slight characters and their taxonomy is in need of revision. Seven species occur in Scandinavia. The North European species live in small communities of 30 up to 300 individuals under stones, in rock crevices, under bark, in twigs or in peat.

Keys to species of Leptothorax HNS

Workers

1 Robust species with It segmented antennae and very distinct mesopropodeal furrow.......................................................................................................... 2

More slender species with 12 segmented antennae .......................................... 3

2(1) Tibiae and scapes with numerous suberect hairs, antennal club dark brown to nearly black, size larger, 3.2-4 mm (Fig. 92) ................ 17. acervorum (Fabricius) HNS

Tibiae and scapes with occasional adherent hairs only, antennal club yellow brown to brown, size smaller, 2.5-3.5 mm (Fig. 93)...... 18. muscorum (Nylander) HNS

3(1) Antennal clubs pale, concolorous with rest of antenna, distinct mesopropodeal furrow, propodeal spines long and stout (Fig. 96)............. 19. nylanderi (Forster) HNS

Antennal clubs brown to black, no mesopropodeal furrow............................... 4

4 (3) Propodeal spines reduced to very short broad denticles, petiole outline a blunt triangle in profile, antennal clubs pale brown ...................20. corticalis (Schenck) HNS

Propodeal spines distinct, antennal clubs brown to black, distinctly darker than rest of funiculus ............................................................................................ 5

5 (4) Propodeal spines long and curved, petiole in profile sharply angled with anterior face rising steeply to anterodorsal ridge; gaster usually with dark band more or less interrupted in middle and front corners of head blackish (Fig.98) 21. interruptus (Schenck) HNS

Propodeal spines short; petiole with a short truncate dorsal area; dark patches on head and gaster not interrupted medially.................................................... 6

6 (5) Dorsal outline of alitrunk somewhat flattened, often with a slight depression between pronotum and mesonotum; gaster usually with clearly defined dark band across base of first segment. Antennal clubs pale brown to dark brown; anterior and dorsal faces of petiole meet at a distinct angle (Fig. 100) 23. unifasciatus (Latreille) HNS

Dorsal outline of alitrunk convex without a break; gaster pale or dark but not banded; antennal clubs dark brown to black; dorsum of petiole rounded into anterior face without distinct angle (Fig. 99)................... 22. tuberum (Fabricius) HNS

Queens

1 Antennae 11 segmented ................................................................................ 2

Antennae 12 segmented ............................................................................... 3

2(1) Scapes and tibiae with numerous suberect hairs .......... 17. acervorum (Fabricius) HNS

Scapes and tibiae with sparse short adherent hairs....... 18. muscorum (Nylander) HNS

3(1) Antennal clubs pale brown, concolorous with rest of funiculus......................... 4

Antennal clubs distinctly darker than rest of funiculus..................................... 5

4 (3) Propodeal spines robust; petiole high with distinct dorsal area; gaster usually banded; alitrunk yellowish............................................. 19. nylanderi (Forster) HNS

Spines reduced to very short denticles; petiole low rising to an oblique angled peak without dorsal area; body colour including gaster evenly reddish brown 20. corticalis (Schenck) HNS

5 (3) Mesoscutellum striate throughout; petiole with short truncate dorsal area; gaster not banded......................................................... 22. tuberum (Fabricius) HNS

Mesoscutellum diffusely sculptured and shining; petiole angled or peaked in profile; gaster often distinctly banded............................................................. 6

6 (5) Propodeal spines reduced to short denticles, shorter than half the space between; alitrunk yellowish brown............................ 23. unifasciatus (Latreille) HNS

Propodeal spines well developed, as long as space between; alitrunk brown to dark brown............................................................... 21. interruptus (Schenck) HNS

Males

1 Antennae 12 segmented; scapes shorter than second funiculus segment............ 2

Antennae 13 segmented; scapes longer than second funiculus segment............. 3

2(1) Tibiae with numerous long suberect hairs; large robust species. Length 4-4.5 mm .......................................................................... 17. acervorum (Fabricius) HNS

Tibiae bare or with very short hairs only; slender species. Length 3-3.5 mm (Fig. 95).................................................................... 18. muscorum (Nylander) HNS

3(1) Space between notauli smooth; funiculus segments 2 to 5 twice as long as broad 4 Space between notauli sculptured; funiculus segments 2 to 5 less than twice as long as broad ................................................................................................ 5

4 (3) Whole alitrunk smooth and shining ............................... 20. corticalis (Schenck) HNS

Sides of promesonotum finely striated ............................ 19. nylanderi (Forster) HNS

5 (3) Antennal segments 2 to 5 not longer than broad; propodeal spines very distinct; body uniformly dark and closely sculptured................ 21. interruptus (Schenck) HNS

Antennal segments 2 to 5 slightly longer than broad; propodeal spines absent or reduced to faint tubercules; body colour pale to dark brown, general appearance more shining............................................................................... 6

6 (5) Area between notauli with rugulose sculpture throughout; petiole scarcely longer than high, ratio 10:8.2; scape as long as 4 following funiculus segments; appendages very pale brown (Fig. 101) .......................... 22. tuberum (Fabricius) HNS

Area between notauli with dilute sculpture, the striae almost obsolete in centre; petiole longer than high, ratio 10:7.2; scape as long as 3 following segments; appendages almost colourless ................................... 23. unifasciatus (Latreille) HNS

  • Collingwood, C. A. (1979): The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 8, 1-174: 68-70, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/6175/6175.pdf
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Genus Leptothorax Mayr HNS

The ant genus Leptothorax HNS formerly comprised a large and heterogeneous assemblage of species but Bolton (2003) redefined it to include only those species closely related to L. acervorum Fabricius HNS . Most California species previously placed in Leptothorax HNS are now assigned to Temnothorax Mayr HNS (see below), with two species remaining in Leptothorax HNS .

  • Ward, P. S. (2005): A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936, 1-68: 13-13, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/21008/21008.pdf
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Leptothorax HNS sp. CA-01

Represents one or more species in the muscorum HNS complex.

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

Most species formerly placed in this genus have been reassigned to Nesomyrmex HNS and Temnothorax HNS , leaving Leptothorax HNS much more narrowly and precisely circumscribed (Bolton 2003). Nevertheless, the species-level taxonomy of the North American Leptothorax HNS remains in a state of chaos. There are at least two species in California: one can be easily identified as L. calderoni HNS (see “Taxonomic Changes” above), while the remaining collections -here assigned the code name Leptothorax HNS sp. CA-01 -cannot be identified with certainty. They belong to the muscorum-complex HNS , which is widespread in temperate North America and Eurasia, and within which species limits are ill-defined. References: Bolton (2003), Brown (1955a), Buschinger and Heinze (1993), Cole (1954d), Creighton (1950a), Douwes and Stille (1987), Francoeur (1986b), Francoeur et al. (1985), Heinze (1989b, 1991, 1998), Heinze et al. (1996), Loiselle et al. (1990), Möglich (1979).

  • Ward, P. S. (2005): A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936, 1-68: 33-33, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/21008/21008.pdf
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Represents one or more species in the muscorum complex.

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Most species formerly placed in this genus have been reassigned to Nesomyrmex and Temnothorax , leaving Leptothorax much more narrowly and precisely circumscribed (Bolton 2003). Nevertheless, the species-level taxonomy of the North American Leptothorax remains in a state of chaos. There are at least two species in California: one can be easily identified as L. calderoni (see “Taxonomic Changes” above), while the remaining collections -here assigned the code name Leptothorax sp. CA-01 -cannot be identified with certainty. They belong to the muscorum-complex , which is widespread in temperate North America and Eurasia, and within which species limits are ill-defined. References: Bolton (2003), Brown (1955a), Buschinger and Heinze (1993), Cole (1954d), Creighton (1950a), Douwes and Stille (1987), Francoeur (1986b), Francoeur et al. (1985), Heinze (1989b, 1991, 1998), Heinze et al. (1996), Loiselle et al. (1990), Möglich (1979).

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Les genres Leptothorax et Temnothorax ne peuvent plus êtreséparés , les deux espècesnigrita Emery et Delapartin. sp. formant toutes les transitions possibles du premier au second, tant par la massue des antennes que par la forme de plus en plus renflée et élevée du devant du thorax par rapport au métanotum , que par les poils du corps de plus en plus longs et pointus, que par le pétiole de plus en plus long du 1er article du pédicule et que par la forme de plus en plus grêle du corps et des membres. Le Leptoth . nigrita est encore un Leptothorax , mais le L. Delaparti est au moins autant Temnothorax que Leptothorax , tout en étanttrès voisin du nigrita . On peut conserver les Temnothorax comme sous-genre en laissant la position du Delapartiindécise . Le L. nigrita se distingue déjà des autres Leptothorax par la massue plus grêle de ses antennes, par son thorax plus élevé et plus voûté dans sa moitiéantérieure , par ses poils à peine dentelés et simplement obtus, non claviformes, par la portion antérieure plus allongée du 1er nœud de son pédicule .

 

Chez le L. Rottenbergi , le premier nœud du pédicule est aussi longuement pétiole et surtout arrondi et épaisderrière ; mais à tous les autres égards , c'est un pur Leptothorax .

 

Ces faits me font penser que mon Aphaenogaster (?) Schaufussi (Nunquam otiosus, 1879) est un Leptothorax .

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Nests are dynamic: Temnothorax ants
 

The colonies of Temnothorax ants adjust to colony growth or dimunition by shedding and reconstructing their nests.

   
  "The ontogeny of wall building by colonies of the ant Temnothorax [formerly Leptothorax] albipennis involves discontinuous rebuilding events that are reminiscent of moulting in insects…Our results suggest for the first time that history influences wall building in ants when worker density decreases (e.g. with colony diminution) as well as when it increases (e.g. with colony growth) as shown by earlier work. Furthermore, we found that ants used a greater number of the larger building blocks (big sand grains) both after cavity expansion and, more surprisingly, also after cavity contraction. The pattern of nest 'moulting' we experimentally manipulated and analysed should provide insights into possible trade-offs between the various functions and structural properties of the nest that these animals may have to optimize." (Aleksiev et al. 2007:567)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Aleksiev, A.S.; Sendova-Franks, A.B.; Franks, N.R. 2007. Nest ‘moulting’ in the ant Temnothorax albipennis. Animal Behaviour. 74: 567-575.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Leptothorax sp. 01

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Leptothorax CA01

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: Leptothorax muscorum_complex

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

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 660
Specimens with Sequences: 537
Specimens with Barcodes: 462
Species: 29
Species With Barcodes: 19
Public Records: 129
Public Species: 7
Public BINs: 6
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Leptothorax

Leptothorax is a large genus of small ants with mainly Holarctic distribution. The genus is notable for its widespread social parasitism, i.e. they are dependent on the help of workers from other ant species during a part or the whole of their life cycles.[citation needed]

Closely related genera are Cardiocondyla, Stereomyrmex and Romblonella.[2]

Species[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bolton, B. (2014). "Leptothorax". AntCat. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Taylor, Robert W. (1991). "Notes on the ant genera Romblonella and Willowsiella, with comments on their affinities, and the first descriptions of Australian species. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae)". Psyche 97: 281–298. 
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