Myrmica elmesi , Bharti, Himender & Sharma, Yash Paul, 2011

Bharti, Himender & Sharma, Yash Paul, 2011, Myrmica elmesi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) a new species from Himalaya, ZooKeys 124, pp. 51-58: 51

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Myrmica elmesi

sp. n.

Myrmica elmesi  ZBK  sp. n. Figs 1-3Table 1

Type locality.

India, Jammu and Kashmir, Machedi, 32.72364°N, 75.669464°E, 2000 meters above mean sea level. Collected 3rd August, 2008 by Yash Paul Sharma.


Worker from type locality, triangle mounted. Deposited in Department of Zoology (Dr Himender Bharti’s Collections- DST-YEG-562), Punjabi University Patiala, India.


1 worker (with same data as of holotype) and 10 workers from India, Jammu and Kashmir, Sarthal, 32.812947°N, 75.762503°E, 2200 metres above mean sea level, all paratype triangle mounted. Collected 15th June, 2009 by Yash Paul Sharma. Deposited in Department of Zoology (Dr. Himender Bharti’s Collections-DST-YEG-292, 293, 294, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 344, 345, 561) Punjabi University Patiala, India. One of the paratypes will be deposited at Natural History Museum, London.


(worker).Worker measurements: FLW 0.40, FW 0.39, HL 1.10, HW 0.88, SL 0.94, PL 0.51, PPL 0.41, PW 0.24, PPW 0.34, PH 0.30, PPH 0.34, AL 1.57, TL 5.26.

Head distinctly longer than broad, with parallel sides and straight occipital margin. Mandibles with 9 teeth (apical and preapical ones are the largest), masticatory margin black, whole mandible finely longitudinally costulate, rugulose and punctated. Clypeus convex, longitudinally rugulose, anterior clypeal margin prominent and rounded medially, spaces between rugae minutely punctated but appear shiny. Frontal triangle somewhat deep, smooth and shiny. Frontal carinae short, partially cover the condylar bulb, almost straight, curving outwards to merge with rugae that surround antennal sockets. Antennae 12 segmented, funicular segments densely punctated, but two basal segments finely punctated; scape slender, narrow, weakly curved at base, without any trace of angle or carina, running towards apex just extending beyond upper margin of head; antennae with oblique short semi-erect hairs, with pubescence developed only on 3 apical segments, antennal club 3 segmented. Eyes large, situated slightly below the midlength of head. Head dorsum longitudinally rugose, 11 rugae between frontal carinae at the level of eyes, occiput with reticulate sculpture, opaque; anterior clypeal margin fringed with setae; head, clypeus and mandibles with long hairs.

Promesonotal dorsum feebly convex, forming regular arch, not saddle shaped, promesonotal suture indistinct. Promesonotum transversally sinuously rugose in dorsal view, pronotum transversally striate laterally; metanotal groove broad, deep and longitudinally striate. Propodeal dorsum longitudinally striated, declivity smooth and highly polished, mesonotum and propodeum longitudinally striate laterally, propodeal lobes rounded apically; propodeal spines long, sharp, projected upward and divergent. Tibiae of hind and middle legs with well-developed pectinate spur.Petiole with short anterior peduncle, petiolar dorsum rounded; whole petiole punctated and finely reticulated, appears dull. Postpetiole slightly longer than broad, finely punctated and longitudinally striated. In profile, petiole high and narrow with a short tooth like subpetiolar process. Alitrunk, petiole and postpetiole with long hairs, except for propodeum.

Gaster smooth, highly polished and shiny, with long, erect hairs.


The species is dedicated to Dr Graham Elmes for his contribution to the investigation of genus Myrmica  .

Distribution and habitat.

North-west Himalaya (India, Jammu and Kashmir).


Species has been collected from leaf litter in both the habitats. The collection site at Machedi has a patchy Cedrus  forest along with agricultural land surrounding the site; moreover the area has lot of anthropogenic activities with a dry type of environment (mean temperature during collection period 32°C, relative humidity 36.62%, annual rain fall 970mm and thickness of leaf litter 2.1cm). The collection site at Sarthal has dense Cedrus  forest with abundant leaf litter, no agricultural land, it remains snow clad from November to beginning of March and has very limited anthropogenic activities with only nomads visiting the area (mean temperature during collection period 22°C, relative humidity 66.38%, annual rain fall 1476mm and thickness of leaf litter 3.9cm) with comparatively wet environment.

This zone where the species is distributed is a transitional zone between sub temperate and temperate Himalaya and geographically it penetrates in to the Palearctic zone (whose boundary in Southern Asia is largely altitudinal, where an altitude of 2000-2500 meters above mean sea level forms the boundary between Palearctic and Indo-Malayan ecozones). Besides, Himalayan ecology is temperature-dependent. The snow line occurs at an average of 6000 meters above mean sea level and the timber line at an average of 3000 meters (the highest altitude at which the forest ends). With this sort of environment, the micro-climate plays an important role for ants like Myrmica  which prefer to live under stones or in rare cases in leaf litter, as the soil temperature is comparatively higher to ambient temperature in these habitats ( Bharti 2008b).

Conservation status.

Yet to be ascertained, but population level could be low as collected from leaf litter only.


Myrmica elmesi  sp. n. (Figs 1-3) which belongs to pachei group, and is significantly different from all other described species of this group due to its transversally striated promesonotum (seen in dorsal view), longitudinally striated propodeal dorsum and PI1 1.64. In all the known species of pachei group hitherto, either the pronotal and propodeal dorsum are transversally striated, or the whole alitrunk dorsum has transverse rugae, or the mesonotal and propodeal dorsum has coarse/fine transverse rugosity. A PI1> 1.5 has been recorded in only one other species of the pachei group (i.e. PI1=1.68 for Myrmica weii  Radchenko & Zhou, 2008 in Radchenko et al. 2008). Myrmica elmesi  can be placed in to the recent key provided by Radchenko and Elmes (2010, page 736) in the following way 1-2-3 and at couplet 3;

(Then couplet 5 onwards Myrmica pachei  Forel, 1906, Myrmica inezae  Forel, 1902 and Myrmica villosa  Radchenko & Elmes, 1999 can be keyed out as given in the above mentioned key of Radchenko and Elmes 2010).