Cyphomyrmex morschi Emery

Kempf, W. W., 1964, A revision of the Neotropical fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex Mayr. Part I. Group of strigatus Mayr (Hym., Formicidae)., Studia Entomologica (N. S.) 7, pp. 1-44: 25-28

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Cyphomyrmex morschi Emery


7. Cyphomyrmex morschi Emery  HNS 

(Figs. 11, 24, 29, 54)

Cyphomyrmex morschi Emery  HNS  , 1887: 36(1 (Worker; Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul: Sao Lourenco). - v. Ihering, 1894: 360, 385 (Worker; Bion.). - Kempf, 1962: 34, figs. 32-34 (Worker; se. Brazil).

Cyphomyrmex  HNS  sp. (= morschi Emery  HNS  ), Mayr, 1887: 556 (Key).

Cyphomyrmex (Mycetosoritis) personatus Santschi  HNS  , 1923: 268-269 (Female; Argentina, Buenos Aires: Monte Hermoso). - NOV. SYN.

Cyphomyrmex personatus Santschi  HNS  , 1925: 164.

Types. - Workers from Sao Lourenco do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, collected by Prof. Hermann von Jhering, in the Emery collection at Genova; not seen. A single specimen from the same locality, belonging to: the H. v. Ihering collection (now DZSP), is presumably a syntype or ai least a topotype. A slightly damaged, and alate female, from Monte Hermoso, Buenos Aires, holotype of personatus Santschi  HNS  (NHMB).

Worker (syntype?). - Total length 3.0 mm; head length 0.72 mm; head width 0.64 mm; thorax length 0.93 mm; hind femur length 0.80 mm. Medium brown; front, vertex and gaster darker; opaque. Antennal scrobe reticulate-punctate; slightly shining.

Head as shown in Fig. 11. Mandibles finely striate, serially dentate, with 8-9 small teeth. Clypeal border not conspicuously excised in middle. Clypeal apron lacking small teeth next to origin of frontal carinae. The latter little expanded in front, moderately constricted at level of eyes, then gently diverging caudad and becoming more or less vestigial before reaching occipital corner. Preocular carina fading out at some distance behind eyes; posterior end of scrobe vestigially delimited. Paired carinules of vertex present. Supraocular tubercle marked by a low, very blunt tuberosity. Occipital corners (Fig. 54) narrowly rounded. Occiput excised. Scapes in repose surpassing the occipital border by a distance which approximates its maximum width. Funicular segments 2-6 longer than broad.

Thorax as shown in Fig. 24. Three pronotal tubercles present, the median one very weak, vestigial; antero-inferior corner of pronotum acutely dentate. Two pairs of mesonotal tubercles, the anterior pair more prominent but low, the posterior pair much feebler. Basal face of epinotum without anterior tubercles or longitudinal ridges, lacking a well-defined longitudinal furrow: posterior corners minutely dentate. Femora and tibiae.; not prismatic, rather slender; hind femora not dilated nor ventrally carinate and angulate at basal third.

Petiolar node (Figs. 24, 29) trapezoidal in dorsal view, broader in front than behind, anterior "corners rounded; posterodorsal border with a distinct, obliquely raised, short, transverse laminule. Postpetiole about as long as broad, with subparallel sides, lacking dorsal ridges and tubercles; tergum completely appressed to sternum; disc with a shallow postero-median pit. Gaster with sides of tergum I scarcely marginate, lacking an anteromedian short furrow.

Appressed hairs small, fine, glittering, sparse; denser and more evident on head, gaster and appendages.

Female. - Total length 3.5-3.8 mm; head length 0.80- 0.83 mm; head width 0.69-0.72 mm; thorax length 1.07-1.15 mm; fore wing 3.2 mm; hind femur length 0.85-0,98 mm. Resembling the worker, except for the differences of the caste. Posterior portion of antennal scrobe usually more distinctly carinate behind. Carinae of vertex prominent, bearing on lateral face the small posterior ocelli. Midpronotal tubercle obsolete; lateral teeth prominent, antero-inferior corners of pronotum conspicuously dentate. Mesonotal scutum flat, with shallow Mayrian furrows; antero-median area between arms of furrows laterally subcarinate, with a weak median longitudinal furrow. Scutellum flat, posteriorly feebly dentate. Basal face of epinotum short, scarcely distinguishable from declivous face, epinotal teeth small or obsolete. Postpetiole relatively shorter and broader, paired tubercles on posterior border more conspicuous.

Distribution. - C. morschi  HNS  occurs on the Atlantic shore from Buenos Aires in the Argentine to southeastern Brazil, from Rio Grande do Sul State to Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro State.

Specimens examined: Argentina, Buenos Aires: Monte Hermoso (E. Carette) 1 female (holotype of personatus Santschi  HNS  ) (NHMB). - Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul State: Sao Lourenco do Sul (H. v. Jhering) 1 worker (syntype?) (DZSP); Sao Paulo State: Itanhaem (H. Luederwaldt, H. Guedes and F. Grossmann) 10 workers, 1 female (DZSP, WWK), Mongagua (W. W. Kempf) 1 worker (WWK), Boqueirao (W. W. Kempf) 2 workers (WWK), Sao Sebastiao (1. Krebsbach, B. Fleddermann) 5 workers, 2 males (WWK), Caraguatatuba (K. Lenko) 1 worker, 2 females (DZSP); Rio de Janeiro State: Cabo Frio (T. Borgmeier) 1 worker (WWK).

Variation. - The worker measurements vary as follows: Total length 2.5-3.0 mm; head length 0.64-0.72 mm; head width 0.52-0.64 mm; thorax length 0.75-0.93 mm; hind femur length 0.61-0.80 mm. Body color variable from light brown to fuscous brown. A small but rather indistinct tooth on clypeus next to the origin of frontal carinae, present in a few larger specimens. Carinules of vertex occasionally very weak. Supraocular tumulus indistinct in smaller specimens. Median pronotal tubercle often weak to obsolete. Anterior pair of mesonotal tubercles sometimes connected by a transverse and semicircular welt. Postero-dorsal laminule of petiolar node vestigial in smaller specimens. Postpetiole usually about as long as broad.

Discussion. - Due to the feebly developed, yet complete, antennal scrobe, which is only feebly to vestigially delimited on posterior third of head, this species is quite distinct from all other forms of the genus and resembles somewhat Mycetophylax conformis (Mayr)  HNS  . But in the latter (worker and female), the frontal lobes are short, strongly constricted behind, and do not continue obliquely caudad as distinct carinae (or, if they do, then only as a feeble margination for a very short distance); the preocular carina disappears at the level of the posterior orbit of the eyes. Furthermore, Mycetophylax conformis  HNS  does not show a distinct antennal scrobe reaching back to the occipital corner.

Synonymy. - Santschi's personatus  HNS  , based on a callow and alate female, was at first erroneously placed in subgenus (now genus) Mycetosoritis  HNS  . Upon direct comparison of the type with authentic females of morschi  HNS  , it proved to be a synonym of the latter.

Bionomics. - According to H. von Jhering (1894: 385), the nest of C. morschi  HNS  consists of a cavity in the soil, the small opening at the surface being surrounded by a crater-like well of loosely heaped-up earth crumps. The fungus-garden has the size of a small orange and is made up of mould-covered vegetable debris, as in mcst Attini.

So far, this species has been found only at sea level along the Atlantic shore line. On the long beach "Praia Grande", southwest of the city of Santos (Boqueirao, Mongagua, Itanhaem), morschi  HNS  is seemingly quite common in the sand dunes along the shore, although no intensive collections have yet been made.