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A New Social Parasite in the Ant Genus Ectatomma F. Smith (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ectatomminae)

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Ectatomma parasiticum Feitosa & Fresneau, a new ant species socially parasitic on Ectatomma tuberculatum (Olivier), is described from gynes discovered in Apazapan, state of Veracruz, Mexico, and reared in the laboratory. Ectatomma parasiticum is the first social parasite described in the Ectatomminae. This species can be distinguished from its host by morphological and behavioral features characteristic of the inquilines known in other ant subfamilies including reduced size, thickened petiole, and agonistic interactions with host species.
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Accepted by J.Longino: 17 Jan. 2008; published: 27 Feb. 2008 47
ZOOTAXA
ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition)
ISSN 1175-5334 (online edition)
Copyright © 2008 · Magnolia Press
Zootaxa 1713: 4752 (2008)
www.mapress.com/zootaxa/
A new social parasite in the ant genus Ectatomma F. Smith
(Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ectatomminae)
RODRIGO M. FEITOSA1, RIVIANE R. HORA2, 3, JACQUES H. C. DELABIE4, 5, JORGE VALENZUELA6
& DOMINIQUE FRESNEAU2
1Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Nazaré 481, 04263-000, Ipiranga, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
E-mail: rfeitosa@usp.br
2Laboratoire d’Ethologie Expérimentale et Comparée (CNRS UMR 7153), Université Paris-Nord, 99, Avenue J. -B. Clément, 93430,
Villetaneuse, France. E-mail: Dominique.Fresneau@leec.univ-paris13.fr
3Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. P.H. Rolfs s/n, 36570-000, Viçosa, MG, Brazil.
E-mail: rivianer@hotmail.com
4Laboratório de Mirmecologia, Convênio UESC/CEPEC, Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau, C.P. 7, 45600-000, Itabuna, BA, Brazil.
E-mail: delabie@cepec.gov.br
5Departamento de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, 45650-000, Ilhéus, BA, Brazil.
6Instituto de Ecologia, A. C., Km 2.5, antigua carretera a Coatepec, A.P. 63, 91000, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.
E-mail: jorge.valenzuela@inecol.edu.mx
Abstract
Ectatomma parasiticum Feitosa & Fresneau, a new ant species socially parasitic on Ectatomma tuberculatum (Olivier),
is described from gynes discovered in Apazapan, state of Veracruz, Mexico, and reared in the laboratory. Ectatomma
parasiticum is the first social parasite described in the Ectatomminae. This species can be distinguished from its host by
morphological and behavioral features characteristic of the inquilines known in other ant subfamilies including reduced
size, thickened petiole, and agonistic interactions with host species.
Key words: Ectatomminae, Ectatomma tuberculatum, Social parasitism, Taxonomy, Mexico
Introduction
The ant genus Ectatomma includes 14 relatively large species occurring predominantly in the Neotropical
Region, with the widespread species Ectatomma tuberculatum (Olivier) also occurring in the Neartic Region
(Bolton et al. 2006; Fernández & Ospina 2003). These ants occur in a variety of warm habitats, and because
they are often abundant and conspicuous, they figure prominently in ecological studies (Kugler & Brown
1982). Species of Ectatomma are generalized predators of a variety of small arthropods and earthworms in
addition to collecting honeydew from homopterous insects and nectar from plant sources (e.g. Weber 1946;
Wheeler 1986; Dejean & Lachaud 1992; Pie 2004).
Instances of social parasitism in ants have a patchy taxonomic and geographic occurrence, being well
known among north temperate ants in the subfamilies Formicinae and Myrmicinae (Wilson 1971; Hölldobler
& Wilson 1990). Hora et al. (2005) demonstrated the parasitic nature of microgynes found in colonies of a
Mexican population of E. tuberculatum. These individuals concentrate their reproductive efforts almost exclu-
sively on the production of sexual offspring, and they are genetically distinct and reproductively isolated from
their hosts.
FEITOSA ET AL.
48 · Zootaxa 1713 © 2008 Magnolia Press
In the present paper we describe the microgyne from Hora et al. (2005) as a new species, Ectatomma par-
asiticum Feitosa & Fresneau, a social parasite. It is the fifteenth species described in the genus and represents
the first case of social parasitism in the subfamily Ectatomminae.
Material and methods
The species described in the present study was obtained while collecting colonies of E. tuberculatum during
fieldwork in Apazapan, in the state of Veracruz, Mexico (19º19’38”N; 96º43’21”W) from September 1999 to
July 2000. The parasitic gynes were promptly distinguished by eye on the basis of their reduced size com-
pared to E. tuberculatum gynes. Colonies were reared in laboratory and new parasitic specimens were pro-
duced (about 65 gynes from eight different colonies). Depository collections are referred to by the following
acronyms:
CPDC Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau, Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil.
INEC Instituto de Ecologia, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.
LACM Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles, California, USA.
MZSP Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
UNCB Museo de Historia Natural del Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Bogotá, Colombia.
USNM National Museum of Natural History; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images of Ectatomma parasiticum were made at MZSP with a
LEO 440® microscope. The specimen was previously cleaned in acetone, critical-point dried in a Balzer (Bal-
Tec® CPD 030), and coated with gold (Bal-Tec® SCD 050). Measurements were obtained with a micrometric
reticule and using the scale of the SEM. All measurements are given in mm and the abbreviations used are:
HL head length; the maximum measurable length of head capsule excluding mandibles, measured in
full-face view, in a straight line from the mid-point of the anterior clypeal margin to the mid-point of
the vertexal margin.
HW head width; the maximum width of the head capsule measured in full-face view, excluding the com-
pound eyes.
SL antennal scape length; the chord length of the antennal scape, excluding the basal condyle and its
peduncle.
EL eye length; the maximum measurable length of eyes in profile.
PW pronotal width; in dorsal view, the maximum width of the pronotum.
WL mesosoma length (Weber´s length); the diagonal length of mesosoma in profile, from the mid-point
of the anterior pronotal declivity to the posterior basal angle of the metapleuron.
PTL petiole length; in dorsal view, the maximum length of the petiole.
PTW petiole width; in dorsal view, the maximum width of the petiole.
CI cephalic index. HW x 100/HL.
SI scape index. SL x 100/HW.
OI optical index. EL x 100/HW.
PTI petiolar index. PTL x 100/PTW.
Zootaxa 1713 © 2008 Magnolia Press · 49
A NEW SOCIAL PARASITE IN ECTATOMMA
Results
Ectatomma parasiticum Feitosa & Fresneau, sp. nov.
Figures 1, 2
Holotype gyne. MEXICO: Apazapan, Veracruz, 19º19’38”N 96º43’21”W, ix.1999, D. Fresneau col. [INEC].
Paratypes. same data as holotype (1 gyne) [CPDC]; (1 gyne) [UNCB]; (1 gyne) [INEC]; vii.2000, D.
Fresneau & R. Hora cols. (1 gyne) [LACM]; (2 gynes) [MZSP]; (1 gyne) [USNM].
Diagnosis. Size relatively small (WL approximately 3.80 mm); clypeus and frontal area without sculp-
ture; antennal scapes longer than the maximum head width (SI > 108); petiole relatively thick in lateral view.
Gyne description. Holotype (paratypes): HL 2.10 (2.06–2.16); HW 1.85 (1.73–1.88); SL 2.04 (1.92–
2.06); EL 0.51 (0.50–0.58); PW 1.69 (1.62–1.77); WL 3.88 (3.65–4.04); PTL 0.79 (0.78–0.88); PTW 0.92
(0.92–1.07); CI 88.07 (84.11–88.89); SI 110.42 (108.57–113.04); OI 27.50 (27.50–31.25); PTI 85 (82.14–
85.71). Color yellowish brown to dark reddish brown, including appendages. Mandibles finely and densely
striate, with sparse piligerous punctures; clypeus, genae, and frontal area predominantly smooth, but opaque;
dorsal surface of head densely and coarsely reticulated, except for the areas of antennal articulations, which
are finely punctate; ventral surface of head with sparse longitudinal striae; antennal scapes finely and longitu-
dinally striate. Mesosoma with variously oriented costulae, from sparse and transverse on dorsum of prono-
tum and propodeum to dense and subconcentric on the dorsum of scutum and scutellum; forecoxae with
dense, fine, regular transverse striation; legs mostly smooth and shining. Lateral and posterior faces of petiolar
node with sparse, short, longitudinal costulae; sculpture of gaster consisting of arched, transverse costulae,
becoming gradually finer from first to terminal segment.
Pilosity cream-colored. Body covered by relatively sparse, long, suberect hairs; antennal scapes and legs
with short, suberect hairs; antennal funiculi and tarsi covered by fine apressed pubescence.
Head subrectangular, with weakly convex lateral borders and vertexal margin straight; masticatory mar-
gins of mandibles multidenticulate and with a large apical tooth; clypeus strongly convex anteriorly; frontal
lobes reduced; scapes in repose fairly surpassing the posterolateral margins of vertex; funicular segments
gradually thickened distally; compound eyes placed near the posterolateral portions of head; ocelli present
and reduced in size.
Pronotum with a distinct median eminence directed forward and a conspicuous pair of dorsolateral
(humeral) projections; scutum large and rounded; notauli almost indistinct among sculpturation; parapsidial
lines feebly visible and subparallel; scutoscutellar sulcus deeply impressed; scutellum relatively narrow and
strongly convex, in lateral view; dorsal face of propodeum meeting the declivous face in a pair of reduced,
blunt teeth; propodeal spiracle elliptical. Wing venation fully developed. Forewing with a weakly colored
stigma; longitudinal veins Sc+R, SR, M, Cu, and A present; SR extending distally beyond stigma, forming 1R
and 2R cells; cross vein 1r vestigial, not forming the 2R cell; M and Cu also extend distally as tubular veins
for most of their length; A not extending beyond the junction with Cu; C, R, Cu, 1M, 1Cu, and SR cells
closed. Hind wing with Sc+R extending beyond point where they connect to M, which continues as a tubular
vein as much as Sc+R and then extends as spectral vein to wing distal border; basally M+Cu extending as a
tubular vein beyond junction with Anal vein, which continues shortly beyond this point; seven submedian
hamuli present.
Petiole ventrally carinate; in lateral view, petiolar node thick and subtriangular; anterior slope nearly con-
cave and posterior slope slightly convex. Sternite of first gastral segment with a distinct anterior projection.
Worker. Unknown (but see comments bellow).
Male. Unknown.
Etymology. The specific epithet is a reference to the parasitic nature of this species.
FEITOSA ET AL.
50 · Zootaxa 1713 © 2008 Magnolia Press
FIGURE 1. Paratype gyne of Ectatomma parasiticum: A, head in full face view; B, lateral view; C, dorsal view.
Comments. Gynes of the socially parasitic Ectatomma parasiticum can be distinguished from the gynes
of its host species, E. tuberculatum, by the following features: sparser sculpture on the body; smaller size (Fig.
2), with WL approximately 3.80 mm (around 5.40 mm in E. tuberculatum); clypeus and frontal area devoid of
any sculpture (usually longitudinally striate in E. tuberculatum); antennal scapes longer than the maximum
head width, with SI > 108 (< 99 in E. tuberculatum); propodeal spines reduced to minute teeth; and petiole
Zootaxa 1713 © 2008 Magnolia Press · 51
A NEW SOCIAL PARASITE IN ECTATOMMA
thicker in lateral view (flattened anteroposteriorly in E. tuberculatum). The reduced size and widener petiole
of E. parasiticum are also characteristic of the inquiline syndrome in other ant species (Wilson 1984; Rad-
chenko & Elmes 2003).
Males produced by parasitized colonies were of a uniform morphology and indistinguishable from males
of E. tuberculatum. Thus it remains unknown if males of E. parasiticum are lacking, present but not yet
observed, or observed but indistinguishable from E. tuberculatum. According to Hora et al. (2005), one of the
10 colonies of E. parasiticum reared in laboratory produced four small "workers." However, these workers
presented a developed spermatheca and six to 10 ovarioles, in contrast to typical workers of E. tuberculatum
which lack the spermatheca and possess only one to four ovarioles (Fénerón & Billen 1996; Hora et al. 2001).
The presence of developed reproductive structures in these specimens suggests that they are possibly interme-
diate (intercaste?) reproductive forms of E. parasiticum and not true workers.
Up to now, the occurrence of this species is restricted to Apazapan, state of Veracruz, Mexico. However,
its host, E. tuberculatum, is widely distributed in the Neotropics, from Mexico to northern Argentina. We
expect that the excavation and detailed examination of E. tuberculatum colonies in different localities could
reveal new populations of E. parasiticum.
A detailed behavioral and genetic study on the interaction between E. tuberculatum and E. parasiticum
(so far undescribed and treated as “microgynes”) was conducted by Hora et al. (2005). Gynes and workers of
E. tuberculatum and gynes of E. parasiticum were sequenced for the cyt b region and the results showed two
haplotypes. The haplotypes differed in seven variable sites, with a nucleotide sequence difference of 0.93%.
They clearly discriminate E. parasiticum from the group composed of workers and gynes of E. tuberculatum.
According to the findings of Hora et al. (op. cit.), E. parasiticum is a genetically distinct social parasite pro-
ducing of almost exclusively sexual offspring. The co-occurrence of E. parasiticum and E. tuberculatum in
the field (nine mixed colonies found) suggests that the parasite usurps established colonies of the host, but
does not kill the resident gynes. Agonistic interactions were also observed, exclusively from workers and
gynes of E. tuberculatum against the parasites.
FIGURE 2. Morphometric scatterplot of head width by scape length, differentiating gynes of Ectatomma parasiticum
and E. tuberculatum. Measurements are in mm.
FEITOSA ET AL.
52 · Zootaxa 1713 © 2008 Magnolia Press
Microgynes are also found in Ectatomma ruidum; however, this is a truly gyne-polymorphic species, and
the offspring of both microgynes and normal gynes consist of workers, males, and both microgynes and nor-
mal gynes. It was therefore suggested that the two gyne morphs in E. ruidum represent alternative phenotypes
adapted to different ways of dispersal and colony founding. Ectatomma ruidum microgynes are thought to dis-
perse and to found new colonies solitarily, while the macrogynes are a stationary morph (Lachaud et al. 1999).
The study of Hora et al. (2005) and the present paper raise the possibility of the occurrence of similar
undescribed social parasites within other basal ant lineages.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Alex Wild, Alexander Radchenko, Riita Savolainen, and Jack Longino for the
critical reading and the invaluable comments on the manuscript. Lara M. Guimarães took the SEM images.
Rogério Rosa da Silva kindly prepared the morphometric scatterplot. We also acknowledge M. Favila, L.
Quiroz (INEC, Mexico), C. Rojas, A. Wolf, and K. Wolf for the technical support during fieldwork. RRH
received financial support from FAPEMIG and CAPES, Brazil, Project CAPES/COFECUB no. 244/98-II.
RMF and JHCD acknowledge the research grant received from FAPESP and CNPq, respectively. This work
was partially supported by BRI (Université Paris-Noird, France).
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... Some of these problems were partly solved by Kugler and Brown in 1982, who suggested some synonymies and recognized 12 species. Recently, three new species were described or redescribed (Almeida 1986(Almeida , 1987Arias-Penna 2006;Feitosa et al. 2008), but nothing is known on their relationships. ...
... Microgynes are present in species of the ant subfamilies Pseudomyrmecinae (Janzen 1973), Formicinae (Heinze and Hölldobler 1993), Myrmicinae (Elmes 1991;McInnes and Tschinkel 1995;Hamaguchi and Kinomura 1996;Schlick-Steiner et al. 2005;Lenoir et al. 2010), Amblyoponinae (Molet et al. 2007) and Ectatomminae (Lachaud et al. 1999b). On the other hand, small queens in E. tuberculatum colonies are inquiline parasites that have been described as a different species, Ectatomma parasiticum (Hora et al. 2005(Hora et al. , 2009Feitosa et al. 2008). Inquiline parasite queens lack worker progeny but coexist in the nest with the host queen(s), a type of permanent parasitism without slavery (Buschinger 2009). ...
... Clade 1 comprises three described species with a predominant distribution in South America: Ectatomma edentatum, E. muticum and Ectatomma suzanae. Clade 2 contains the wide-range E. tuberculatum, its recently described inquiline parasite, E. parasiticum (Feitosa et al. 2008), and Ectatomma vizottoi from Brazil. One of the remaining principal clades, clade 3, encompasses the other wide-range species E. ruidum, which is a sister to the Central American endemic Ectatomma gibbum. ...
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Os macrofungos têm sido pouco estudados nos diferentes biomas brasileiros e estima-se que há muitas espécies ainda a serem descritas. Este capítulo apresenta um levantamento incluindo a descrição de dezesseis espécies de Basidomycota (cogumelos lamelares e fungos clavarioides) coletados na Estação Ecológica do Rio Ronuro, Mato Grosso. Para cada espécie são apresentados dados taxonômicos e de distribuição geográfica no Brasil. Dez espécies são registradas pela primeira vez para o estado do Mato Grosso.
... Currently, the most comprehensive work including an identification key for the species in the genus is the revision by Kugler and Brown (1982). However, this work does not include the species Ectatomma parasiticum Feitosa and Fresneau, in Feitosa et al. (2008), E. suzannae Almeida (1986) andE. vizottoi Almeida (1987). ...
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Uncovering the evolutionary history of the subfamilies Ectatomminae and Heteroponerinae, or ectaheteromorphs, is key to understanding a major branch of the ant tree of life. Despite their diversity and ecological importance, phylogenetic relationships in the group have not been well explored. One particularly suitable tool for resolving phylogeny is the use of ultraconserved elements (UCEs), which have been shown to be ideal markers at a variety of evolutionary time scales. In the present study, we enriched and sequenced 2,127 UCEs from 135 specimens of ectaheteromorph ants and investigated phylogeny using a variety of model-based phylogenomic methods. Trees recovered from partitioned maximum-likelihood and species-tree analyses were well resolved and largely congruent. The results are consistent with an expanded concept of Ectatomminae that now includes the subfamily Heteroponerinae new synonym and its single tribe Heteroponerini new combination. Eleven monophyletic groups are recognized as genera: Acanthoponera, Alfariastatus revived, Boltonia Camacho and Feitosa new genus, Ectatomma, Gnamptogenys, Heteroponera, Holcoponerastatus revived, Poneracanthastatus revived, Rhytidoponera, Stictoponerastatus revived, and Typhlomyrmex. The new phylogenetic framework and classification proposed here will shed light on the study of Ectatomminae taxonomy and systematics, as well as on the morphological evolution of the groups that it comprises.
... In ants, social parasitism has been reported in six subfamilies: Dolichoderinae, Formicinae, Myrmeciinae, Pseudomyrmecinae, Myrmicinae (reviewed by Tinaut & Ruano, 1999) and Ectatomminae (Hora et al., 2005;Feitosa et al., 2008), among which, inquilinism is considered the most frequent type (Buschinger, 2009). In inquilinism sensu Wilson (1971), parasitic species spend their whole life cycle in the host's nest and frequently do not produce a worker caste, but instead invest resources and effort in producing only gynes and males. ...
Article
The ant Acromyrmex ameliae is a social parasite of two leaf-cutting ant subspecies: Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus and A. subterraneus brunneus. Cytogenetic data are available for 14 species of Acromyrmex and all of them possess 2n = 38 chromosomes. In this study, chromosome number, heterochromatin detection, and detection of AT and GC-rich blocks of colonies of A. ameliae and its hosts were carried out. Additionally, the detection of nucleolus organizer regions and 18S rDNA clusters in chromosomes of the parasite and physical mapping of telomeres were undertaken. The same chromosome number and morphology were detected for the hosts 2n = 38 (10m + 14sm + 12st + 2a), while the females and males of the social parasite A. ameliae presented 2n = 36 (10m + 16sm + 8st + 2a) and n = 18 (5m + 8sm + 4st + 1a). In both A. ameliae and its hosts, the terminal region on the short arm of the largest subtelocentric pair is heterochromatic GC-rich, and this region corresponded to the 18S rDNA clusters in the parasite. The short arms of several chromosomes were heterochromatin-rich. The telomeric probe hybridized telomeres on all chromosomes of the parasite and was not detected in intrachromosomal regions. Through a comparative cytogenetic analysis, we hypothesize that the karyotype of A. ameliae (2n = 36) originated from a chromosomal rearrangement that reduced the number of chromosomes from 38 to 36; as available data on the genus Acromyrmex show that all other species possess 38 chromosomes, representing 45% of the 33 valid species in this genus. The mechanism of the chromosome rearrangement is discussed. Thus, the chromosome number observed in A. ameliae is a derivation from the genus. Our data show variation in the chromosomal number in Acromyrmex and suggest that analyses of the karyotypes of parasite species can yield novel insights with regards to the evolution of this genus.
... The identification of ants at genus level was carried out using classification keys presented by Baccaro et al. (2015). Subsequently, insects were identified at the species level using taxonomic literature (Feitosa et al., 2008;Fisher and Smith, 2008;Cuezzo and Guerrero, 2012). Representatives of the collected species were deposited in the Zoological collection of Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (deposit codes ZUFMSHYM0333, ZUFMSHYM00342-580, and ZUFMS-HYM00584-585). ...
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The full text is avaliable in a personalized URL providing 50 days' free access to the article. Anyone clicking on this link before April 01, 2020 will be taken directly to the final version of article on ScienceDirect, which they are welcome to read or download. No sign up, registration or fees are required: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092913931930842X?dgcid=coauthor. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of succession stages of regeneration of the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado) on the richness, diversity, trophic guilds, and community composition of ants looking for taxonomic and functional changes in the community. The areas included an active pasture that had been created within the past six months, areas with several years of abandonment with different degrees of natural Brazilian savanna regeneration (from 2 to 15 years), and two large remnants of native forest that had been preserved for at least 40 years. Collections were carried out in 56 plots using sardine baits and an active search for a period of one hour in each plot. In addition to calculating the regeneration age, we evaluated successional stages by measuring vegetal characteristics in each plot. A total of 60 species was obtained, distributed in 28 genera and 8 subfamilies, and these demonstrated a direct association with the regeneration age of the areas, as well as their richness and diversity of ants. Areas with initial regeneration showed a greater proportion of generalist species and, as plant succession increased, generalist species decreased. A temporal threshold of 5–6 years for regeneration age was observed, when the community structure tended to stabilize. We observed that the maintenance of a minimum quantity of vegetation in areas destined for livestock can efficiently preserve ant diversity.
... Les reines, spécialisées dans la ponte, diffèrent des gynes non accouplées au niveau cuticulaire leur conférant une apparence plus mate . Des reines miniatures parfois observées dans certaines colonies sont en réalité une espèce distincte et parasite, E. parasiticum (Hora et al. 2005a, Feitosa et al. 2008). En cas de danger, les ouvrières peuvent émettre des stridulations dans les ultra-sons, grâce à un appareil stridulatoire localisé au niveau du gastre . ...
Thesis
L'investissement des adultes pour augmenter la survie des jeunes est souvent optimisé par une communication émise par les jeunes et informant les parents de leur niveau de besoin. Nous avons exploré dans cette thèse si les comportements des larves de fourmi pouvaient être des quémandes alimentaires telles que définies par les modèles de communication honnête. En effet, les fourmis, eusociales, possèdent un système de relations sociales et de coopérations qui diffère du modèle parental classiquement décrit. Nous avons donc testé chez la fourmi Ectatomma tuberculatum si les comportements des larves pouvaient refléter leur niveau de besoin et si les ouvrières apportaient la nourriture en fonction du signal comme prédit par les modèles. Nous montrons dans cette thèse que les mouvements émis par les larves ainsi qu'un composé chimique volatil larvaire pourraient tous deux intervenir et influencer l'apport alimentaire par les ouvrières. Les mouvements larvaires augmentent avec le stade de développement des larves et le composé chimique augmenterait avec le niveau d'affamement des larves. Les ouvrières, nourrices et fourrageuses, pourraient donc optimiser la répartition des ressources alimentaires de la colonie grâce à ces signaux ou indices des larves. Cependant, nous montrons aussi que plusieurs autres facteurs proximaux interviennent. Les mouvements larvaires font suite à des contacts fortuits avec les ouvrières, et l'organisation spatiale des ouvrières et des larves influencent les mouvements larvaires et le nourrissage. Des hypothèses alternatives ou complémentaires à la communication sont donc proposées.
... Natural life-history of the host. Ectatomma Smith (Formicidae: Ectatomminae) is one of the most frequently collected genera of Neotropical ants, with 15 species currently recognized 48,49 . The genus includes relatively large ants (up to 15 mm in length), all endemic to the neotropical region 50 . ...
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Ant parasitoidism has been reported in seven of the 26 recognized species of the mite genus Macrodinychus (Machrodynichidae). Macrodynichus sellnicki, previously reported as a parasitoid of the invasive ant Nylanderia fulva in Colombia, is now reported, in the same region, as attacking a native host, Ectatomma sp. 2 (E. ruidum complex). The mite develops within the protective silk cocoon of an Ectatomma pupa and waits for the emergence of the young ant before leaving the cocoon, unmolested. Overall nest prevalence was relatively high (34.6% of the 52 nests containing cocoons) but pupae prevalence was low (4.0%, n = 1401 cocoons). Mite life-history (parasite or parasitoid) was context dependent, shifting according to the intensity of the attack on a same host. Contrary to the strictly parasitoidic association of M. sellnicki with N. fulva, single mite attacks against E. ruidum did not result in host killing and solitary M. sellnicki (78.6% of the cases) behaved as parasites. However, in 21.4% of the attacks (0.9% of all available host pupae) more than one mite was involved and behaved as parasitoids, draining the host of its internal fluids and killing it. This is the first association of a macrodinychid mite with a species of the subfamily Ectatomminae, and the first ant associated mite for which such a context dependent life-style shift is described.
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Queen dimorphism is known in different ant subfamilíes and corresponds to the co-occurrence of severa! queen morphs within the same species. lt is frequently associated with different colony-founding and dispersion strategies. We studied the queen-size dimorphism in the Pon erina e ant, Ectatomma tuberculatum from field colonies collected at Apazapan (Veracruz, Mexico). Microgynes were present in half the colonies collected and their production among the female sexuals prevailed over that of macrogynes. Colonies possessed one or several gynes, up to 8 for macrogynes and 11 for microgynes. From the data basis on nest excavation, worker size population was correlated neither with the number of dealate gynes nor with the number of microgynes, and it seemed that microgynes were as productive as macrogynes. Both gynes were morphologically similar but their distribution was clearly bimodal without overlapping, the microgynes b eing not completely separated from the workers. Microgynes fell on a continuous regression line with the macrogynes and represented the isometric reduction of normal queens. The ovarían morphology differed among the three female groups: macrogynes had the most numerous ovarioles on average but produced as many oocytes as microgynes. Contrary to the workers, all gynes possessed a developed spermatheca and had the potential ability to lay fertilized eggs. Such queen dimorphism was not previously observed in this species and only found in the A paza pan si te. It may constitute an alternative reproductive strategy leading to a functional facultative polygyny. as already reported in E. ruidum (Schatz et al. 1996, Lachaud et al. l 999a, b). or a case of a social intraspecific parasitism. Further investigations are being conducted to better understand the reproductive biology of this species.
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Ectatomma tuberculatum (Olivier) preys primarily on small invertebrates, including other social insects. In Panama, workers forage primarily at night and nocturnal activity begins with a mass exit at dusk. Several times a day, particularly at dawn and dusk, hundreds of Crematogaster limata Fr. Smith file into nest entrances of E. tuberculatum. These cleptobiotic encounters may represent a primitive form of social parasitism.
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This study provides a detailed account of the foraging behaviour of the ponerine ant Ectatomma opaciventre in a ‘cerrado’ savannah in south-east Brazil. Our observations suggest that this species has an exclusively diurnal foraging pattern. Feeding habits included both predation and scavenging, with termite workers and leaf-cutting ants as the most important food items. Contrary to all other Ectatomma species studied to date, no liquid food such as hemipteran honeydew or plant nectar was collected. Foragers showed clear individual foraging area fidelity.Workers of E. opaciventre employed a typical individual foraging strategy, i.e. there was no co-operation between foragers in the search for or retrieval of food, neither by tandem running nor by trail laying. Nest density was considerably lower than in other Ectatomma (0.015 nests per m2). The observed mean distance to the nearest neighbouring nest was 5.85 m, with a significant tendency toward over-dispersion. Nests were more frequently found in specific microhabitats, which may suggest active choice of nesting site by founding queens.
Article
A taxonomic review is made of the 15 described species of socially parasitic Myrmica, found in the Palaearctic, and 3 apparently free-living Myrmica species that have characteristics of the "parasitic syndrome". Notes on the current taxonomic status and biological knowledge of each species are given. Earlier synonymies are discussed and one new synonymy is made: M. samnitica Mei = M. laurae Emery. Also, the synonymy of M. myrmecophila Wasmann with M. sulcinodis Nylander is confirmed and it is suggested that the type specimen is neither an ergatoid queen nor a social parasite, but a worker parasitized by Mermis. The status of M. symbiotica Menozzi remains unclear: it is not an ergatoid queen but could be a pseudogyne worker of a parasitic species with as yet undescribed queens. Keys are given for the identification of all castes of the 10 recognised species of social parasite (including M. symbiotica) and the 3 associated free-living species.
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In the ponerine ant Ectatomma tuberculatum, workers display an ovariole cycle composed of nine distinct stages. Ovarian maturation depends partly on age. During the fist 4 weeks of imaginal life, the ovarioles develop a succession of polytrophic follicles. They reach their maximum growth at approximately 45 days old; at about 3 months, they begin a period of regression until they are completely inactivated at the age of approximately 1 year. However, workers of exactly the same age may display up to five different stages. Such variability is not related to differences in worker size. Body size seems to affect only the number of ovarioles (and perhaps the ability to produce alimentary eggs).