Azteca

Wheeler, W. M., 1922, The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition., Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45, pp. 39-269: 198-199

publication ID

20597

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/C905AF5E-D11E-19DD-9E89-31C90EF7BF4B

treatment provided by

Christiana

scientific name

Azteca
status

 

Dolichoderinae

A very homogeneous subfamily, comprising comparatively few genera. Worker monomorphic, very exceptionally (certain species of Azteca  HNS  ) more or less dimorphic. Clypeus protruding between the insertions of the antenna:. Antenna: 12-jointed (except in Semonius). The metanotum contributes to the dorsal face of the thorax, being wedged in between the epinotum and mesonotum, and its stigmata are often protuberant. Pedicel formed by the petiole alone, the postpetiole forming the basal segment of the gaster; the following segment without stridulating surface. Sting vestigial, except in Aneuretus  HNS  , where it is well developed and can be protruded. Usually there is one pectinate spur on the middle and hind tibiae, homologous with the median spur of the Ponerinae; sometimes with a second, lateral spur which is much smaller and simple. Female always winged; similar to the worker. Some genera still retain a more generalized wing venation with two closed cubital cells and one discoidal cell: but frequently the venation is more or less reduced, often considerably so in the male. Antennae of the male 13-jointed, even in Semonius.

The Dolichoderinae males with two closed cubital cells can usually be separated by the well-developed mandibles from such Ponerinae as have no constriction behind the postpetiole. The clypeus protruding between the frontal carinae is a good character by which to separate them from the male Formicinae with a similar venation.

Nymphs never enclosed in a cocoon.

The anatomy of the gizzard or proventriculus is very important for the taxonomy of this subfamily; for a description of this organ the student is referred to the writings of Forel1 and Emery.2

The larvae are fed with liquid food, almost always of vegetable origin, regurgitated by the workers; the Azteca  HNS  ; are mostly insectivorous. All the workers possess anal glands, the secretion of which hardens on exposure to the air, becomes sticky, and has a peculiar, often unpleasant odor like that of rotten cocoanuts or rancid butter; it is used as a means of protection against other insects. The habits are rather varied; many species are inconspicuous, shy, and live in small colonies under bark of trees or in dead wood. In the Australian Leptomyrmex  HNS  the worker can store vegetable liquids in its much inflated crop (honey ants). Several species of Iridomyrmex  HNS  , Azteca  HNS  , and Engramma  HNS  inhabit the cavities of various myrmecophytic plants, and are undoubtedly adapted to this peculiar form of symbiosis. Other species of Aztecse build carton nests, often of large size, which may be free, attached to branches or trunks of trees, or may be placed inside cavities; certain species are associated with epiphytes which cover their carton nests; according to Ule, these "gardening ants" carry soil and seeds of these epiphytes in the branches of the trees.

The Argentine ant. Iridomyrmex humilis (Mayr)  HNS  , is one of the most troublesome pests of tropical and subtropical countries. Its original home was South America, whence it has recently spread through a large part of the globe. It is sometimes found in hothouses of temperate regions. In the Ethiopian Region it has thus far been recorded from South Africa only, where its appearance is said to date from the time of the last Boer War, when it was probably introduced with forage (Arnold). It is now a great pest in houses near Cape Town; it is also very injurious to fruit-trees.1