Azteca constructor Emery

Longino, J. T., 2007, A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group., Zootaxa 1491, pp. 1-63: 26-30

publication ID

21311

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:C31A1226-724D-4D1A-8471-E6BB441EE3EF

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/BA2077F3-95E6-DA9B-1FAF-94C173779338

treatment provided by

Thomas

scientific name

Azteca constructor Emery
status

 

Azteca constructor Emery  HNS  1896

Figures 2,3,4A,5,6D,7.

Azteca constructor Emery  HNS  1896:2. Syntype workers, queens, males: Costa Rica, Atlantic and Pacific slopes (Alfaro) [label: Jimenez, C. R. v.95] [ MCSN]  (examined).

Azteca emmae Forel  HNS  1904b:702. Syntype workers, females, males: Costa Rica, Chanas Gudas [Prov. Puntarenas: Canas Gordas? ] (Pittier) [ MHNG MCZC]  (examined). Synonymy by Longino 1991b: 1585.

Azteca constructor var. guianae Wheeler  HNS  1942:226. Syntype workers, queen: Guyana, Kartabo (Wheeler) [ MCZC]  (examined). Synonymy by Longino 1991b: 1585.

Queen characters. Measurements (n=12): HLA 1.75 (1.56-1.79,6), HW 1.61 (1.45-1.73), SL 0.87 (0.79-0.94), CI 94 (91-98,6), SI 51 (49-53,6).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible roughened, dull, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta short, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level (medial lobe not projecting anteriorly); head quadrate, with sides somewhat convex, weakly cordate posteriorly; petiolar node low, triangular, acute, but apex rounded, not sharp; posteroventral petiolar lobe evenly convex, shallow, not strongly developed, ending before posterior margin of sternite, leaving small rim formed by posteriormost portion of sternite; scape with abundant erect setae, about as long as one half to two thirds maximum width of scape; middle and hind tibia with abundant erect setae, longest of these about as long as maximum width of tibia (MTSC 20- 35); sides of head with erect setae variably abundant, from nearly absent to moderately abundant; posterior margin of head with abundant very long setae; pronotum with abundant long setae on posterior third; mesoscutum, scutellum, and propodeum with dense brush of abundant setae; petiolar node with variable number of long setae on apex, abundant long setae on posteroventral lobe; all gastral terga with abundant erect setae; color black.

Worker characters. Measurements (n=10): HLA 1.36 (1.24-1.44,3), HW 1.01 (0.68-1.35), SL 0.76 (0.53-0.89), CI 94 (94-101,3), SI 64 (60-69,3).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible faintly roughened, not smooth and shining, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta short to long, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level, medial lobe at most weakly projecting beyond lateral lobes; head with convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; mesosoma in lateral profile with promesonotum forming a broad convexity, promesonotal suture weakly impressed, such that pronotum and mesonotum tend toward being separate convexities, mesonotum more strongly convex than pronotum; metanotal groove broad; petiole in profile with node less massive than sternal lobe, perpendicular distance from tergosternal suture to apex of node less than distance to ventral margin of sternal lobe (in contrast to A. xanthochroa  HNS  , on which the petiolar node is larger relative to sternal lobe); scape with abundant erect setae, length of setae about one half maximum width of scape; mid and hind tibia with abundant erect setae, longest setae about one half maximum width of tibia; sides of head with abundant short erect setae from mandibular insertions to level of eye, becoming sparse to absent posterior to eye; posterior margin of head with abundant long curved setae; mesosomal dorsum with abundant erect setae, those on pronotum long, on mesonotum shorter, on dorsal face of propodeum very short, grading into pubescence; color brown.

Similar species. The queens of A. constructor  HNS  are very distinctive and not easily confused with any other species. Workers of A. constructor  HNS  and A. xanthochroa  HNS  are very similar. Large workers of A. constructor  HNS  retain a chocolate brown color, while large workers of A. xanthochroa  HNS  become more mottled orange. The petiolar node of A. constructor  HNS  workers is relatively low, while the posteroventral lobe is relatively deep and strongly convex. Workers of A. xanthochroa  HNS  are the reverse, with relatively taller node and shallower ventral lobe.

Range. Guatemala south through Central America to north coastal Colombia, Venezuela, and Guyana.

Biology. The taxonomy and biology of A. constructor  HNS  are reviewed in Longino (1989b, 1991a, b). The species is an obligate Cecropia  ant. It inhabits a broad range of habitats and elevations. It is often associated with forest gaps or edges where there are relatively larger and older Cecropia  trees. Mature colonies occupy a single carton nest in the bole of the tree. The nest is spindle-shaped and causes a deformation of the trunk. All larvae and alate sexuals are concentrated in this single nest. Branch tips, which all communicate internally with the carton nest, contain only workers and Hemiptera. Workers of this species are extremely aggressive, and respond to any disturbance by pouring out of large fissures near the carton nest and blackening the trunk surface (Longino 1991a).

Alate queens of this species and another common Cecropia  ant, A. xanthochroa  HNS  , are relatively common in Malaise trap samples from the Atlantic slope rainforests of Costa Rica. No other Azteca  HNS  species are common in Malaise traps, even though they are common in the environment. Even the other common Cecropia  ants, A. alfari  HNS  and A. ovaticeps  HNS  , are not common in Malaise samples. This implies that there is something distinctive about the behavior of queens of these two species that makes them more susceptible to capture.

Material examined. See Longino (1991b).

MCSN

Italy, Genova, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale "Giacomo Doria"

MHNG

Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle

MCZC

USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Arthropoda

Class

Insecta

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Formicidae

Genus

Azteca