Strumigenys talpa Weber, 1934

Booher, Douglas B., 2021, The ant genus Strumigenys Smith, 1860 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in western North America North of Mexico, Zootaxa 5061 (2), pp. 201-248 : 245

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Strumigenys talpa Weber, 1934


Strumigenys talpa Weber, 1934

Distribution. USA; in eastern USA from Florida to New Jersey and west to Missouri; in western USA occurs in Oklahoma and Texas.

Comments. This species is among the most commonly collected Nearctic species. It occurs from Florida to Washington, D.C., and extends west to Oklahoma and Texas ( Brown 1950). Strumigenys talpa tolerates a wide variety of mesic to dry habitats and is less common in wet habitats ( Deyrup 2016). Unlike the wide-ranging species S. missouriensis , S. talpa exhibits little morphological variation across its range. However, there appears to be a smooth morphological transition over geographic space between S. talpa and S. deyrupi . Setae on the anterior margin of the scape are typically directed towards the apex of the scape in S. talpa but some setae are directed towards the base of the scape in specimens collected in Florida from where S. deyrupi was described. Mark Deyrup (for whom S. deyrupi was named), has also come to this realization and we believe S. deyrupi to either be the same species or to hybridize heavily where their ranges overlap (southern half of Georgia into Florida). I have not observed scape setae variation anywhere else across the range of S. talpa except in specimens from Texas and there is no evidence of discrete forms in sympatry. All other setae characters of the Texas specimens are congruent with S. talpa . Texas specimens all have flagellate setae on their mesosoma, pronotal shoulders, abdominal tergites, and femur/tibia.Also unusual are the Oklahoma workers that lack elongate apicoscrobal setae. This character is uniformly present in all other collections across S. talpa ’s range that I have examined including those from Texas. Although these setae could have been abraded, this is unlikely as the specimens examined were in excellent shape and had no missing or broken flagellate setae on other portions of the body. I expect the Oklahoma specimens represent a new species but am grouping them with S. talpa until more specimens are found and S. talpa is examined across its range.

Material examined: USA, Oklahoma, Payne Co., 1 Jun 1963, 2 workers, coll. W.G. Carter, (MCZENT00683080)[ MCZC] ; USA, Texas, Hunt Co., Clymer Meadow , 33.301169, -96.243838, 199 m, 19 Apr 1992, 1 worker & 1 queen, coll. J.R. Morris, [ TAMUIC] GoogleMaps ; USA, Texas, Hunt Co., Clymer Meadow , 33.301169, - 96.243838, 199 m, 19 Apr 1992, 1 worker, coll. J.R. Morris, [ DBBC] GoogleMaps .


Texas A&M University Insect Collection