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José María Gómez Durán

José María Gómez Durán

Naturalist

About

93
Publications
11,307
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51
Citations
Introduction
I am interested in ant behaviour, taxonomy and biology of the genus Leptanilla, and cultural aspects of Myrmecology. My ant blog: http://historiasdehormigas.blogspot.com.es/
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (93)
Data
The transport of liquid, viscous or soft food by means of solid items has been described for a few species of ants belonging to four genera: Aphaenogaster, Pogonomyrmex, Solenopsis and Messor (subfamily Myrmicinae). Here we report, for the first time, soft food transport by means of solid items in Tapinoma nigerrimum (subfamily Dolichoderinae). Thi...
Data
The estimated volume of the long sperm‐thread ejaculated by the male of Leptanilla SPA‐02 in experimental conditions, and the estimated volume of the spermatheca of the queen of Leptanilla japonica, proved to be very similar, suggesting that Leptanilla queens are strickly monandrious. Since the sperm‐threads are ejaculated in less than 10 seconds,...
Data
Full-text available
Live Leptanilla males introduced in vials with 70% ethanol ejaculate long solid sperm-threads over the liquid surface when moving compulsively during several seconds before death. Some features of these threads and its spermatozoa are studied, pointing out the possibility that Leptanilla males transfer true spermatophores to the queens.
Working Paper
Full-text available
Self-grooming behaviour in workers of the ant Leptanilla sp collected at Madrid, Spain, is described and compared with that of Leptanilla japonica previously studied by K. Masuko (1990). Both grooming behaviours are much similar, showing some differences relating to the antennal, head and thorax grooming. Images and videos of self-grooming in Lepta...
Data
Cretaceous worker ants of the genus Zigrasimecia (Burmese amber) show a conspicuous transverse striation in the stout dentiform setae located in the anterior margin of the clypeus and in the labrum.
Data
This video shows the assembling of a solar Berlese prototype for the extraction of subterranean ants and other small arthropods in field situations where no electricity is available. Materials: A foldable plastic box 47,5 x 35,2 x 23,5 cm (weight about 1 kg). 1.2 x 1.3 mm stainless steel mesh (folded in wave shape). Reflective stripes from a ca...
Method
Full-text available
An effective horizontal set-up of the Berlese-Tullgren technique is commented. For field situations where no electricity is available, a solar Berlese prototype is proposed.
Data
During their attacks on other ants, the major workers of Messor barbarus perform a stereotyped, compulsive, repetitive, and very fast movement (approximately 36 milliseconds), sometimes without the close presence of the attacked workers, and which could be framed in the so-called displays or threatening exhibitions. On occasion, they manage to capt...
Article
LeptanillaEmery, 1870 includes 47 species of strictly endogean ants, distributed through Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia, characterized by many peculiarities, such as their tiny size (between 1.0–2.5 mm long), lack of pigmentation, lack of eyes and very narrow elongate bodies. Queens are apterous and dichthadiigynes. Males have wings and eyes. T...
Data
It has been claimed for about 50 years that a few myrmicine ant species belonging to the genera Aphaenogaster, Pogonomyrmex, Novomessor and Solenopsis, are able to use tools for retrieving liquid or viscous food. The ants drop solid items (soil grains, twigs, debris) on the liquid food, take the embedded items out and carry them to the nest. Obse...
Data
A worker of Ceratomyrmex in Burmese amber, carrying a solid item, gives the opportunity to explore the function of its cranio-mandibular system and make suggestions about the diet of the genus.
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Images of the "larval hemolymph tap" of Leptanilla (Formicidae: Leptanillinae) were taken with a light microscope without the need of making histological sections. 1 larva of Leptanilla sp (Madrid, Spain) was submerged in a 10% KOH solution for 5 hours. The transparency obtained by this method allowed to clearly see the U-shaped duct of this organ...
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
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Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
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Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
Data
Self-grooming in workers of Leptanilla SPA-02 (in slow motion). L1: fore leg, L2: mid leg, L3: hind leg
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Peristaltic movements in a larva of Leptanilla SPA-02 under a light microscope (200x).
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Video showing group recruitment in the ant Camponotus cruentatus. Madrid, Spain, May 2017
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A total of 1650 oils, watercolors, drawings, ceramics, posters and sketches of the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) were scrutinized. In 79 of them (4.8%) ants were depicted. A brief account of Dalinian ant morphology is given. Interestingly Dalí, during his first years (1929-1931), drew the ants with 4 legs. Then, in 1932, he c...
Data
Although little known to mymecologists, ants were widely represented in Classical Antiquity. Basically they were carved in jasper, amethyst, agate, carnelian, marble or chalcedony stones of 1 to 2 cm, sometimes to be set in decorative rings or as gems or cameos, but also with symbolic or magical meanings. The symbolism stands out especially in the...
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René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683-1757), one of greatest entomologists in the XVIII century, made observations on ants for more than 10 years. He abruptly interrupted his manuscript Histoire des Fourmis (Octuber 1742-Jannuary 1743), intended to be part of the volumen VII of his celebrated Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire des insectes (1734-1...
Data
Full-text available
A colony of Leptanilla SPA-02 containing 227 workers and 7 males (collected in Madrid in 2014), allowed to confirm the existence of developed and similar arolia in the three pairs of legs of each caste. Images of folded and unfolded arolia of the hind leg of a male, as well as a video showing the process of unfolding, are provided. Some considerati...
Data
Full-text available
In August 2014 I collected 4 workers of Leptanilla at Madrid, Spain, from a 20 kg soil sample using the Berlese method. 3 of the workers were Leptanilla charonea, with pale yellow colour. The fourth worker was whitish translucent colour and significantly smaller, measuring a total lengh of 0.97 mm from the anterior margin of the clypeus to the tip...
Data
Full-text available
First images of the queen of Leptanilla charonea are provided. The specimen was collected in Madrid, together with 49 workers, in the summer of 2013.
Data
Full-text available
The microscope inspection of 50 specimens of Leptanilla males collected at Madrid and belonging to several species pending of description, has revealed an interesting cuticular structure on both the tergite and the sternite of the 4 th abdominal segment. The structure consists of several valleys and ridges near and paralell to the anterior margin o...
Data
Full-text available
Leptanilla males were attracted at night to ultraviolet light from a flashlight during an experiment conducted in Madrid in early August 2014. Later a simple and effective trap was constructed using an anti mosquito solar lamp provided with a day-night sensor. In two weekends in late August (Saturday and Sunday nights) a total of 5 and 3 Leptanilla...
Data
Full-text available
7 males have been found associated with 227 workers and 4 larvae of Leptanilla sp Madrid-B. The colony was extracted from the soil sample by means of Berlese method. No queen appeared in the sample. This is the second time, after Ogata et al (1995), that such a male-worker association is found in the subfamily Leptanillinae.
Data
Full-text available
According to the scientific literature, honey ants were first described by Pablo de la Llave (1832) and Constantin Wesmael (1838). Here we mention four authors who dealt with honey ants in the XVI century (Sahagún), in the XVIII century (Clavijero and Alzate), and in the begining of XIX century (Berlandier).
Data
New observations on the wasp Tracheliodes quinquenotatus, a predator of worker ants of the genus Tapinoma. Several slow motion videos have revealed new details on the wasp hunting behaviour.
Data
Full-text available
Observations on the hunting behavior of the wasp Tracheliodes quinquenotatus, a predator of ants of the genus Tapinoma
Data
Full-text available
During 7 months (March to september) Leptanilla workers and queens were searched by excavating 100 square meters of land at Madrid. At the same time, in 4 nearby pools (4 x 2 meters) placed 50 metrs away from the excavation area, males were regularly collected from July to September. A total of 536 workers belonging to 3 species, 379 males belongin...
Data
Full-text available
Prior to start the raids, workers of Polyergus rufescens intensively rub their six tarsi upon their pygidial gland. Slow motion videos and descriptions are provided. We propose that the pygidial gland secretion, spread on the soil by means of the tarsi, serves to mantain the marching groop close, as well as a feromone trail for returning from the F...
Data
The phorid fly Microselia southwoodi is cited for the first time in Spain. By means of slow motion video, its oviposition in the ant Camponotus vagus is analysed, revealing a different strategy from that used by other species of Microselia
Data
Full-text available
Se describe en Polyergus rufescens un comportamiento de frotamiento de los tarsos delanteros contra los escapos antenales, sugiriéndose la posibilidad de que los tarsos queden impregnados con la secreción de las glándulas antenales de Polyergus.
Data
Full-text available
The flight of a male of Leptanilla sp (from Madrid) is described by analyzing a video filmed at a rate of 600 frames per second. The flight shows regular dorsal impacts of the wings, or “clap and fling” behaviour (Weis-Fogh, 1973), which may increase the lifting capacity. The flight speed of the male is 0.2 m/sec, flapping its wings 150 times per s...
Data
En julio y agosto de 2012 recolecté en Madrid, en un área de 100 metros cuadrados, un centenar de machos de Leptanilla. La mitad los doné a Xavier Espadaler, de la Universidad de Barcelona. La otra mitad, unos 50 ejemplares, los preparé en bálsamo de Canadá, apreciando varias morfologías diferentes.
Data
Full-text available
Nest plugging is described for the first time in the ant Tapinoma nigerrimum
Data
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A method based on gel analysis software (ImageJ) is proposed to measure the funicular bands of ants
Article
Full-text available
A few ant species belonging to three genera of the subfamily Myrmicinae (Aphaenogaster, Pogonomyrmex and Solenopsis) cover the liquid or viscous foods with diverse solid items which they later extract imbibed or soaked for carrying them to the nest. We describe this behavior for the first time in the genus Messor Forel, 1890, and, through the analy...
Article
Full-text available
The oviposition behaviour of four ant parasitoids was observed and filmed for the first time. The movies are available from YouTube (search for Elasmosoma, Hybrizon, Kollasmosoma and Neoneurus). Two of the observed species (Neoneurus vesculussp. n. and Kollasmosoma sentumsp. n.) are new to science. A third species (Neoneurus recticalcarsp. n.) is d...
Data
In 1896 the eminent Swiss myrmecologist and psychiatrist Auguste Forel (1848-1931) visited Colombia, Venezuela, Jamaica and several islands of the Lesser Antilles. He was accompanied by Felix Santchi, Edouard Bugnion, Comte de Dalmas and Comte de Brettes. During the travel he discovered nearly 50 new species of ants, and made interesting observatio...
Book
One of the earliest New World naturalists, Jose Celestino Mutis began his professional life as a physician in Spain and ended it as a scientist and natural philosopher in modern-day Colombia. Drawing on new translations of Mutis' nearly forgotten writings, this story of scientific adventure in eighteenth-century South America retrieves Mutis' contr...
Data
Full-text available
The Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes mentioned for two times in his Quixote (1615) the following proverb: " The ant got wings to her own destruction ". This proverb was in place in Spain for five centuries (from the 15th to the 19th century), and was likely brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Arab. As long ago as the 9th century this proverb...
Article
Se propone una definición naturalista del concepto de función biológica que sea operativa y cercana a los hechos de observación.
Article
The Amphisbaenian Blanus cinereus produces short and differentiated sounds, slightly audible. A description and possible functions of these sounds are provided. [Blanus cinerus produce sonidos ligeramente audibles, breves y diferenciados. Se da una descripción de los mismos y se plantea su posible función].
Book
Full-text available
I finished writing this little book in 31 January, 1977, when I was sixteen years old. During four years, living at Seville, Spain, I spent countless hours observing the wall lizards of my neighborhood. To my surprise, this work won the 9th European Philips Contest for young scientists and inventors, celebrated in Paris in the summer of 1977. Thes...

Questions

Questions (5)
Question
I have a rounded piece of Burmese amber (15 mm diameter, 5 mm thick) with 2 alate hymenopterans possibly of the same species (Figs. 1, 2, 3). The tips of their abdomens are very close, and I thought of the possibility of intercourse. The specimens are damaged and many important characters are difficult to explore.
The presence of conspicuous petioles and the general aspect of the mesosoma made me think of alate ants, but I can't be sure! Both gasters have a constriction between the 1st and 2nd gastral segments, and specimen B presents a prora or sternal projection in the 1st gastral segment (Fig. 4). These two characters appear in some species of Gerontoformica.
As said before, the tips of both abdomens are very close. Fig. 5 shows in specimen A two fine spines projecting posteriorly from the gaster and presumably touching the gaster of specimen B.
Specimen A is likely a male. No spines appear in specimen B.
The eyes are large and oval, the ocelli are well detected in specimen A. The labial palps are at least 5-segmented, the maxillary palps are at least 3-segmented. The mandibles are narrow, apparently ending in a single apical tooth. The antennae are long, the pedicel being very short, and the rest of funicular segments longer than the scape and of similar length (Figs. 6, 7), reminding the antenna of Baikurus.
Question
While looking at the forewing articulation of some undescribed males of Spanish Leptanilla, I have seen two sclerites that could fit the definition of tegula. The first, labeled as (1) in the images attached, is a clavate/hairy lobe, basal to the humeral plate, and so close to it that can be easily overlooked. This lobe can also be appreciated in some AntWeb photographs of the Leptanillinae genera Yavnella and Phaulomyrma, and interestingly in the Dorylinae genus Leptanilloides (the last image attached). I believe this small lobe (whose connections within the axillary area would be worth studying) may be the tegula.
Below and anterior to the supposed tegula, and located at the postero-lateral corners of the scutum, there is a strap, likely demiovate sclerite, labeled as (2), that bears several bristles and resembles, at first sight, the pretegular carina of Eumeninae wasps, but that projects laterally from the thorax, as can be seen in the dorsal views of the images attached. This second sclerite could be called pretegula…
As far as I know, the majority of ants have a single tegula covering the base of the forewing articulations. Then, which of the two sclerites above mentioned is the true tegula of Leptanilla males? Which homologous structures can be suggested for the sclerite (2)?
Question
Live Leptanilla males, when introduced into vials containing alcohol, make strong premortem movements during which they use to secrete a long sperm-thread. This sperm-thread quickly solidifies and is much elastic and robust. I have not been able to isolate the spermatozoa, that form a dense network along the thread, as can be seen in the second and third images.
Any idea to get the isolation of those spermatozoa?
Question
I have a small piece of Burmese amber with a worker of the stem ant Gerontoformica sp. When focusing the head using incident light, it can be seen a white bilateral structure with several lateral lobes (the third image attached). Could this structure belong to the brain?

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Exploring the evolution and diversity of European ants using barcoding and phylogenomic analysis.
Project
The objective is to bring together several observations on the biology of Leptanilla ants
Project
Leptanilla males are easier to collect than workers and queens. I am currently trying to collect them in several Spanish regions. They may give a good idea of the real diversity and distribution of this fascinating ant genus.