Aphaenogaster araneoides Emery

Longino, J. T. & Cover, S. P., 2004, A revision of the Aphaenogaster phalangium complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae)., Zootaxa 655, pp. 1-12: 8-9

publication ID


publication LSID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Aphaenogaster araneoides Emery


Aphaenogaster araneoides Emery  HNS 

Aphaenogaster araneoides Emery  HNS  1890:48, pl. 5, fig. 8. Syntype workers: Costa Rica [ labeled Alajuela, assumed mislabeled, true locality Jimenez ] (Alfaro) [ MCSN] (examined, worker here designated LECTOTYPE).  Also described as new by Emery 1894:54. Description of male (incorrectly identified as phalangium  HNS  ): Emery 1890:47. Description of male: Borgmeier 1949:206. Combination in Aphaenogaster (Ischnomyrmex)  HNS  : Forel 1899:60; in Stenamma  HNS  : Forel 1907:4; in Aphaenogaster (Deromyrma)  HNS  : Emery 1915:71.

Aphaenogaster (Ischnomyrmex) phalangium var. brevicollis Forel  HNS  1899:59. Syntype worker, male: Panama, Volcan de Chiriqui (Champion).  Combination in Aphaenogaster (Deromyrma)  HNS  : Emery 1921:65. NEW SYNONYMY

Emery (1890) described the first two taxa in the complex. Aphaenogaster phalangium  HNS  was described first, based on a syntype worker and male from "Alajuela, Jimenez." The worker was described as having a shiny fourth abdominal tergite, and the illustration showed somewhat convex neck and a non-tuberculate propodeum. Aphaenogaster araneoides  HNS  was described from a syntype worker, also from "Alajuela, Jimenez." It was described as having an opaque gaster, and the illustration shows a tapered neck and a tuberculate propodeum. The published locality data for both species, "Alajuela, Jimenez," is a composite of two collecting localities frequented by Anastasio Alfaro, who sent the material to Emery. Alajuela is a city in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, and is the likely source of the phalangium  HNS  workers. Jimenez is a small town in the Atlantic lowlands very near La Selva Biological Station, and is the likely source of the A. araneoides  HNS  workers. The senior author examined the syntypes at MCSN in 1990. Under A. araneoides  HNS  were (1) a pin with one worker, labeled "Alajuela", and a "Typus" label; and (2) a pin with two workers and an "Alajuela" label. Under A. phalangium  HNS  were (1) a pin with one worker, labeled "Costa Rica, Alfaro", and with a "Typus" label; (2) a pin with two workers and a "Costa Rica, Alfaro" label, (3) a pin with one worker and an "Alajuela, Alf." label; and (4) a pin with a male labeled "Jimenez." The types were examined before the significance of leg pilosity was understood, and the status of this character was not recorded. However, the worker material under A. araneoides  HNS  had tapered necks, opaque abdominal tergites, and tuberculate propodeums, while the workers under A. phalangium  HNS  had convex necks, shiny abdominal tergites, and non-tuberculate propodeums. The MCZC has a pin with two workers, labeled " Ischnomyrma phalangium Em  HNS  , Costa Rica. from Emery." The specimens and the label look like part of the A. phalangium  HNS  syntype series, and the specimens have pilose femora. We suspect there were labeling errors, and that all the A. phalangium  HNS  syntype workers were from one collection from Alajuela, and all the A. araneoides  HNS  syntype workers and the one A. phalangium  HNS  syntype male were from one collection from Jimenez. We have requested that the MCSN add labels to these specimens with the suggested corrections. For A. araneoides  HNS  and A. phalangium  HNS  we have selected the single workers with Emery's "typus" labels as the lectotypes.

Borgmeier's (1949) description of the male was based on two specimens from Hamburg Farm, a site in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica, where A. araneoides  HNS  is almost certainly the ony species present.

The syntypes of Forel's A. brevicollis  HNS  come close to bridging the gap between A. araneoides  HNS  and A. phalangium  HNS  . The workers are quite robust, there is a row of about five setae on the posterior border of the mesepisternum, the pilosity is abundant and coarse (approaching the more pilose condition of A. phalangium  HNS  ), and the fourth abdominal tergite is smooth and shining. The pilosity on the hind femur is relatively coarse compared to other A. araneoides  HNS  and yet is clearly appressed on the dorsal surface and strongly contrasting with all known A. phalangium  HNS  workers.


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