Comprehensive Description

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Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) HNS

Plate XX, Figures 1 and 2; Text Figures 58 and 59

Faradje, [[worker]], [[queen]], [[male]]; Malela, [[worker]]; San Antonio, [[worker]] (Lang and Chapin); Katala, [[worker]]; Leopoldville, [[worker]] (J.Bequaert).

The following differences between this species and smaragdina HNS may be noted. In the worker the polymorphism is greater, for not only do the individuals of the same colony show a greater range in size (from 3 to 9 mm.) but the minimae differ more from the mediae and maximae in the shape of the thorax and petiole. The head of the worker longinoda HNS is distinctly more triangular than that of smaragdina HNS , being broader behind, with less convex sides; the eyes are distinctly larger, the mandibles shorter, the clypeus more nearly subcarinate behind, its anterior border sometimes feebly and sinuately emarginate in the middle, the pronotum less convex, the petiole decidedly stouter, more thickened behind, with the stigmata much less prominent when the segment is viewed from above and its ventral surface much more convex anteriorly on the ventral side, when viewed in profile. The sculpture, pilosity, and color are very similar in the two species, but in longinoda HNS the integument is more decidedly opaque, the mandibles are somewhat more coarsely striated, always darker, being concolorous with the posterior portion of the head, at least in the large workers and especially in the dark varieties. The transverse furrow on the second and succeeding gastric segments just behind the anterior border is more pronounced in longinoda HNS .

The female of this species measures 12 to 14 mm. (wings 16 mm.) and is, therefore, distinctly smaller than the corresponding sex of smaragdina HNS , which measures 15 to 17 mm. (wings 18 to 19 mm.). The body of the African species is much more opaque throughout, the wing-veins more heavily bordered with dark brown, and the transverse bands at the bases of the second and following gastric segments are broader, darker, and more sharply marked off from the remainder of the segments. The green portions of the typical longinoda HNS female are slightly more olivaceous and less pea-green, and the basal bands of the gaster are more exposed and brownish; the appendages are more brownish.

The male longinoda HNS is scarcely smaller than that of smaragdina HNS , and measures 6 to 6.5 mm., but the head, thorax, and petiole are darker and more blackish; the head is decidedly broader, especially behind, the mandibles, petiole, antennal scapes, and wings are decidedly shorter and the integument is less shining.

Fig. 58. Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) HNS , a, body of worker major in profile; b, head of same: c, body of worker minima in profile; d, head of same.

The workers of the various subspecies and varieties of the two species may be separated by means of the following key.

1. Petiole very slender, its stigmata seen from above very prominent, its ventral surface nearly straight or very feebly convex in profile ( smaragdina HNS )....2.

Petiole stouter and higher, its stigmata seen from above not prominent, its ventral surface strongly convex in profile ( longinoda HNS )..................7.

2. Body ferruginous or testaceous.........................................3.

Gaster and sometimes the head pea-green, head more rounded and less truncated behind; size smaller, petiole somewhat shorter (Queensland, New Guinea, Islands Aru and Key).................subspecies virescens (Fabricius) HNS .

3. Integument opaque or subopaque.......................................4.

Integument more or less distinctly shining..............................5.

4. Color ferruginous (India, Ceylon, Cochin China, Indonesia). smaragdina HNS (typical).

Smaller and more testaceous, mesonotum and petiole a little narrower (Java). variety gracilior HNS Forel.

5. Large forms, integument slightly shining (Papua, Philippines, Melanesia). subspecies subnitida Emery. Smaller forms, integument more shining................................6.

6. Body very shining and slender, color testaceous, head rather elongate (Island of Batjan)..................................... variety gracillima HNS Emery.

Less shining and less slender, head shorter (Celebes). variety selebensis Emery.

7. Ferruginous or testaceous throughout...................................8.

Brown or black........................................................9.

8. Color ferruginous (West Africa)........................ longinoda HNS (typical).

Color paler, more testaceous, petiole shorter, head slightly broader, apical tooth

of mandibles shorter (Zanzibar)............... variety textor HNS (Santschi). 9. At least the thorax and mandibles black................................10.

Body rather uniformly brown (Belgian Congo). variety annectens HNS , new variety .

10. Head dull red, gaster often brownish (Belgian Congo).. variety rubriceps HNS (Forel).

Head and gaster black or dark brown (Belgian Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, Spanish Guinea)................... variety fusca HNS (Emery).

Oe. fusca HNS was originally described by Emery as an independent species, but Forel reduced it to subspecific rank on finding the variety rubriceps HNS , which shows some color variation in the direction of the typical longinoda HNS . The discovery of another variety, annectens HNS described below, connecting rubriceps HNS and longinoda HNS is additional evidence that fusca HNS cannot be maintained as a species. In my opinion it is merely an extreme melanic variety, for I am unable to detect in it any morphological characters of even subspecific value. All of the varieties of longinoda HNS are equally polymorphic in the worker caste and the smallest individuals all agree with the description of Andre's brevinodis HNS , except in color.

The ethological observations of Chun1 and Father Kohl2 refer to this species.

Mr. Lang's photographs reproduced on Pl. XX, figs. 1 and 2, show two of the nests of the typical longinoda HNS from Malela, consisting of the leaflets of a bush skillfully folded and united with the white silk spun by the young larvae. He found that the nests of longinoda HNS and its varieties are most often constructed on bushes and are sometimes only a few feet from the ground. Text Fig. 59 shows a nest of this ant placed in a coffee tree at Avakubi. The habits seem to be the same in all essential particulars as those of smaragdina HNS .

1 1903, 'Aus den Tiefen des Weltmeeres, II, p. 129.

2 1906, 'Zur Biologie der spinnenden Ameisen,' Natur und Offenbarung, LII, pp. 166-169.

Fig. 59. Nest of Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) HNS at Avakubi, October 27. 1909. This nest., 16 cm. long, was placed about four feet from the ground in one of the coffee trees of a deserted plantation. Photograph by H. Lang.

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