Temnothorax ambiguus ( Emery, 1895 )

Shattuck, Steve & Cover, Stefan, 2016, Taxonomy of some little-understood North American ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Zootaxa 4175 (1), pp. 10-22: 19-20

publication ID

http://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4175.1.2

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:011B74BE-40C0-4606-9354-C637F83C3E43

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/03E5E90B-FF81-2332-FF3C-9A25FD0D744D

treatment provided by

Plazi

scientific name

Temnothorax ambiguus ( Emery, 1895 )
status

 

Temnothorax ambiguus ( Emery, 1895)  

Leptothorax curvispinosus ambiguus Emery, 1895: 320   . Syntype workers, Hill City [43°56′N 103°34′W] GoogleMaps   , South Dakota, 8 July 1890 (Pergande) [https://www.antweb.org/specimen/CASENT0904763]; Cleveland [41°28′N 81°40′W] GoogleMaps   , Ohio (Wasmann)   ; New York [40°44′N 73°56′W] GoogleMaps   , New York (Schmelter) (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa).  

Leptothorax foveata Smith, M.R., 1934: 211   . Holotype worker, Plainfield [41°36′N 88°12′W], Illinois, 25 May 1933 (Mary Talbot) (National Museum of Natural History, not seen). New synonym. GoogleMaps  

Leptothorax ambiguus pinetorum Wesson & Wesson, 1940: 97   . 12 worker, 1 dealate queen, 2 alate queen, 5 male syntypes, Jackson County [39°01′N 82°37′W], Ohio, 10 July 1938 (not seen). New synonym. GoogleMaps  

Smith (1934) described T. foveatus   based on a single worker from Illinois. At the time he considered it “so different from all of the Leptothorax   [now Temnothorax   ] with which I am familiar that I am somewhat hesitant in trying to assign it to its proper taxonomical position.” However, some time later he reconsidered this view and Creighton (1950) reports that Smith “now regards the insect which he described as the species foveata   in 1934 as very closely related to ambiguus   if not actually a synonym of that species.” We concur with Smith’s later interpretation and consider T. foveatus   to be a synonym of T. ambiguus   . Note that Smith had two workers of this taxon, one of which was clearly abnormal. The abnormal worker has been imaged and placed in the USNM’s Ant Type database. The description makes clear that Smith did not consider it a type. Excepting its deformity in the structure of the petiole and postpetiole, it is otherwise a typical worker of Temnothorax ambiguus   .

Wesson & Wesson (1940) established T. ambiguus pinetorum   from specimens collected in Ohio, separating it from T. ambiguus   based on the longer propodeal spines and less conspicuous mesosomal rugae. The queen and male were also described, the queen being separated from the queen of T. ambiguus   by its smaller body size and longer propodeal spines, while the male was reported as differing from T. ambiguus   in being smaller and less hairy.

Modern collecting has revealed T. ambiguus   to be a geographically widespread species. There is variation in propodeal spine length, color, and queen size, and this is accompanied by comparable (but independent) geographic variation in nest site preference, colony size, and habitat selection. In the context of this bigger picture, the characters cited by Wesson & Wesson (1940) fall well within the observed variation in T. ambiguus   . The types of T. pinetorum   appear to come from a colony where the workers have somewhat longer propodeal spines and finer mesosomal sculpturing than average. Because of this we have no hesitation in considering T. pinetorum   to be a junior synonym of T. ambiguus   .

This taxon is known to occur from eastern and central Canada south to New Jersey, the Great Lakes region, and the northern Great Plains in the United States   .

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Arthropoda

Class

Insecta

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Formicidae

Genus

Temnothorax

Loc

Temnothorax ambiguus ( Emery, 1895 )

Shattuck, Steve & Cover, Stefan 2016
2016
Loc

Leptothorax ambiguus pinetorum

Wesson 1940: 97
1940
Loc

Leptothorax foveata

Smith 1934: 211
1934
Loc

Leptothorax curvispinosus ambiguus

Emery 1895: 320
1895