Overview

Comprehensive Description

Taxonomic History

2 subspecies

Formica gracilis Fabricius, 1804: 405 (w.) CENTRAL AMERICA. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Combination in Leptalea: Erichson, 1839 PDF: 309; in Pseudomyrma: Roger, 1862c PDF: 289; in Pseudomyrmex (Clavanoda): Enzmann, 1944 PDF: 61; in Pseudomyrmex: Kusnezov, 1953f PDF: 214.
Senior synonym of Pseudomyrmex longinoda: Brown, 1949a: 43; Kempf, 1961a PDF: 370; of Pseudomyrmex variabilis: P. subtilissimus species groups, with taxonomic comments on other species. Quaestiones Entomologicae 25:393-468. [1989-12]">Ward, 1989a PDF: 439; of Pseudomyrmex bicolor, Pseudomyrmex canescens, Pseudomyrmex dimidiata, Pseudomyrmex glabriventris, Pseudomyrmex mexicana, Pseudomyrmex pilosula, Pseudomyrmex sericata, Pseudomyrmex velifera, Pseudomyrmex volatilis and material of the unavailable name Pseudomyrmex guayaquilensis referred here: Ward, 1993 PDF: 155; of Pseudomyrmex atrinoda: Wild, 2007B PDF: 55.
Current subspecies: nominal plus Pseudomyrmex gracilis argentinus.
See also: Ward, 1999B PDF: 521.
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Philip S. Ward

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Biology

Befitting its wide distribution and variable phenotype, P. gracilis can be found in a variety of habitats from mangroves and thorn scrub to rainforest. It is often particularly common in disturbed situations such as old fields, roadsides, and secondary forest. Nests are usually located in dead twigs or small branches, belonging to a great variety of woody plants. In Central America (Mexico to Panama) there are a substantial number of records of colonies occupying swollen-thorn acacias. In a few localities P. gracilis is a common acacia inhabitant and under these circumstances it may exhibit local adaptation and phenotypic differentiation (Ward, 1993).
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Philip S. Ward

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Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius HNS 1804).

Formica gracilis Fabricius HNS 1804: 405.

Leptalea gracilis (Fabricius) HNS . Erichson 1839: 309.

Pseudomyrma gracilis (Fabricius) HNS . Roger 1862b: 289.

Pseudomyrma (Clavanoda) gracilis (Fabricius) HNS . Enzmann 1944: 61.

Pseudomyrma gracilis var. atrinoda Santschi HNS 1934: 26. NEW SYNONYMY . [ holotype w examined, NHMB ; Rio Negro , Paraná , Brazil ( Reichensperger )] .

Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius) HNS . Kusnezov 1953: 214.

Pseudomyrmex gracilis var. atrinoda (Santschi) HNS . Kempf 1958: 434.

Pseudomyrmex gracilis var. atrinodus (Santschi) HNS . Kempf 1972: 219.

Ants in the Pseudomyrmex gracilis HNS species complex are ubiquitous in the neotropics, and the species P. gracilis HNS itself presents a confusing array of variation (Ward 1989). Santschi distinguished his variety P. atrinodus HNS on the basis of small size and light coloration on parts of the mesosoma, but I have examined the type material and in both these characters P. atrinodus HNS is well within the normal range of variation of the species. Phil Ward, who is revising Pseudomyrmex HNS , concurs with this synonymy (Ward, pers comm.)

  • Wild, A. L. (2007): A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1622, 1-55: 55-55, URL:http://www.antbase.org/ants/publications/21367/21367.pdf
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Wild, A. L.

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gracilis (Fabricius HNS 1804).

Alto Paraguay/ Boquerón , Alto Paraná , Amambay, Caaguazú , Canindeyú , Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guairá , Itapúa , Misiones, Ñeembucú , Paraguarí , San Pedro, “Paraguay” (s. loc.) (ALWC, BMNH, IFML, INBP, MCSN, MCZC, MZSP, NHMB, PSWC). Literature records: Caaguazú , Central, Cordillera, “Paraguay”(s. loc.) (Emery 1890b, Emery 1896b, Forel 1907d, Forel 1908b, Forel 1909, Fowler 1981, Santschi 1916, Santschi 1934 [as “ atrinodis HNS ”]).

  • Wild, A. L. (2007): A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1622, 1-55: 40-40, URL:http://www.antbase.org/ants/publications/21367/21367.pdf
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Wild, A. L.

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Distribution

Pseudomyrmex gracilis is a widespread New World species, ranging from southern United States to Argentina and Uruguay. It is present as an introduced species in Hawaii and Florida.
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Argentina to Mexico, into many southern states of the US, recently discovered in South Carolina (personal experience)

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Taxonomic Treatment

Wild, A. L., 2007:
  Alto Paraguay/ Boquerón , Alto Paraná , Amambay, Caaguazú , Canindeyú , Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guairá , Itapúa , Misiones, Ñeembucú , Paraguarí , San Pedro, “Paraguay” (s. loc.) (ALWC, BMNH, IFML, INBP, MCSN, MCZC, MZSP, NHMB, PSWC). Literature records: Caaguazú , Central, Cordillera, “Paraguay”(s. loc.) (Emery 1890b, Emery 1896b, Forel 1907d, Forel 1908b, Forel 1909, Fowler 1981, Santschi 1916, Santschi 1934 [as “ atrinodis ”]).
 Formica gracilis Fabricius 1804: 405.
 Leptalea gracilis (Fabricius) . Erichson 1839: 309.
 Pseudomyrma gracilis (Fabricius) . Roger 1862b: 289.
 Pseudomyrma (Clavanoda) gracilis (Fabricius) . Enzmann 1944: 61.
 Pseudomyrma gracilis var. atrinoda Santschi 1934: 26. NEW SYNONYMY . [ holotype w examined, NHMB ; Rio Negro , Paraná , Brazil ( Reichensperger )] .
 Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius) . Kusnezov 1953: 214.
 Pseudomyrmex gracilis var. atrinoda (Santschi) . Kempf 1958: 434.
 Pseudomyrmex gracilis var. atrinodus (Santschi) . Kempf 1972: 219.
  Ants in the Pseudomyrmex gracilis species complex are ubiquitous in the neotropics, and the species P. gracilis itself presents a confusing array of variation (Ward 1989). Santschi distinguished his variety P. atrinodus on the basis of small size and light coloration on parts of the mesosoma, but I have examined the type material and in both these characters P. atrinodus is well within the normal range of variation of the species. Phil Ward, who is revising Pseudomyrmex , concurs with this synonymy (Ward, pers comm.)
 
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Identification

Worker:
  • masticatory margin of mandible with 7-10 teeth
  • median clypeal lobe laterally rounded
  • eyes large and elongate (REL2 0.54-0.60)
  • pronotum dorsolaterally submarginate
  • petiole long and slender (PLI 0.46-0.57) with a well developed anterior peduncle
  • head and mesosoma densely and finely punctulate-coriarious to coriarious-imbricate, subopaque to sublucid (not matte) in appearance
  • standing pilosity abundant, fine, predominantly pale silvery-white (not black), common on mesosoma dorsum and on external faces of tibiae
  • size and color extremely variable (HW 1.39-2.07), varying from unicolorous black (appendages lighter) to unicolorous orange-brown, with many intermediate and bicoloured combinations
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Diagnosis of worker among Antkey species. Head ovoid. Antenna 10-segmented. Antennal club indistinct. Antennal scrobe lacking. Antennal insertion not surrounded by a raised sharp-edged ridge. Antennal scapes do not extend beyond posterior margin of head. Eyes extremely large (approximately half length."" class=""lexicon-term"">head length); 3 ocelli present. Mandibles triangular. Propodeum lacking spines or teeth. Either bicolored red and black or uniformly black.


Although Pseudomyrmex gracilis has a 2-segmented waist like myrmicines, it is immediately recognizable Among Antkey species by the combination of its enormous eyes and short antennal scapes. It has a wasp-like behavior, frenetically moving its antennae.

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Formica gracilis Fabricius 1804: 405.

 

Leptalea gracilis (Fabricius) . Erichson 1839: 309.

 

Pseudomyrma gracilis (Fabricius) . Roger 1862b: 289.

 

Pseudomyrma (Clavanoda) gracilis (Fabricius) . Enzmann 1944: 61.

 

Pseudomyrma gracilis var. atrinoda Santschi 1934: 26. NEW SYNONYMY . [ holotype w examined, NHMB ; Rio Negro , Paraná , Brazil ( Reichensperger )] .

 

Pseudomyrmex gracilis (Fabricius) . Kusnezov 1953: 214.

 

Pseudomyrmex gracilis var. atrinoda (Santschi) . Kempf 1958: 434.

 

Pseudomyrmex gracilis var. atrinodus (Santschi) . Kempf 1972: 219.

 

Ants in the Pseudomyrmex gracilis species complex are ubiquitous in the neotropics, and the species P. gracilis itself presents a confusing array of variation (Ward 1989). Santschi distinguished his variety P. atrinodus on the basis of small size and light coloration on parts of the mesosoma, but I have examined the type material and in both these characters P. atrinodus is well within the normal range of variation of the species. Phil Ward, who is revising Pseudomyrmex , concurs with this synonymy (Ward, pers comm.)

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Alto Paraguay/ Boquerón , Alto Paraná , Amambay, Caaguazú , Canindeyú , Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guairá , Itapúa , Misiones, Ñeembucú , Paraguarí , San Pedro, “Paraguay” (s. loc.) (ALWC, BMNH, IFML, INBP, MCSN, MCZC, MZSP, NHMB, PSWC). Literature records: Caaguazú , Central, Cordillera, “Paraguay”(s. loc.) (Emery 1890b, Emery 1896b, Forel 1907d, Forel 1908b, Forel 1909, Fowler 1981, Santschi 1916, Santschi 1934 [as “ atrinodis ”]).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Pseudomyrmex gracilis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 5 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

TCATCAATAAGAATAATTATTCGAATTGAATTAGGATCCTGTGGATCCATTATTAATAAT---GACCAACTGTATAACTCTATCGTAACAGGACATGCATTTATCATAATTTTCTTTATAGTTATACCATTTATAATCGGAGGATTTGGTAACTTTTTAATTCCACTAATA---ATTGGGTCACCAGATATAGCTTACCCCCGTATAAATAACATAAGATTTTGACTCTTACCCCCATCAATTATACTACTCACCTTAAGAAGATTTATTAATTCAGGTGCGGGAACTGGTTGAACTGTATACCCTCCCTTATCCTCAAGAATTTTCCATAGGGGAGCCTCAGTAGATTTA---GCAATTTTCTCTCTCCATATTGCAGGTATTTCATCAATCATAGGAGCTATCAACTTCATCTCTACAATTATTAACATAACCCATAAAAATCTTTCAATAGATAAAACCCCTCTCATAGTATGATCTATTCTAATTACAGCAGTCCTTCTCCTCCTTTCCCTTCCTGTATTAGCCGGA---GCAATTACAATACTACTAACAGATCGAAACCTTAATACTTCATTTTTTGACCCAGCAGGGGGAGGAGATCCTATTCTTTACCAACATTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGACACCCAGAAGTTTATATTTTAATCCTCCCAGGATTTGGAATAATCTCCCACATTATTATAAGAGAAAGGGGTAAAAAA---GAAACATTTGGATCACTAGGAATAATTTATGCAATAATAGCTATTGGATTCCTAGGATTTATTGTCTGAGCTCACCACATATTTACAATTGGAATAGATGTAGATACACGAGCATACTTCACTTCAGCAACAATAATTATTGCTGTACCCACAGGAATTAAAGTCTTTAGATGAATTACA---ACATTACATGGAACC---AAAATAAATCTAAACTCCACTATACTATGATCATTAGGATTTGTATTTATATTCACCATAGGAGGATTAACTGGAATTATACTATCTAACTCATCAATTGATATTGTATTA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 15
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Potentially painful sting, but not considered a significant pest species.

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Wikipedia

Elongate twig ant

The elongate twig ant, Pseudomyrmex gracilis, is a large, slender species native to Mexico. The workers are about 8–10 millimeters (0.31–0.39 in) in length and generally wasp-like in appearance and style of movement. Worker ants are bi-colored; the head and gaster are dark, while the antennae, mouthparts, thorax and legs are dull orange with dark shading. They often may be seen on vegetation, foraging for live insects or collecting honeydew from sap-sucking insects.

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