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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Kaieteur Falls [photo: T. Hollowell]
_Kaieteur Falls



Classification:
Animalia, Arthropoda, Insecta, Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae, Dacetini

Distribution: photo of the face of Daceton armigerum
 

Global: This species is known to occur in the Terra Firma and flooded forests of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad, and Venezuela.

Guyana: Iwokrama (Island in Essequibo River), Rupununi Upper-Essequibo River (Kwatata), Acarai Mountains

> larger view

Identification: lateral view of Daceton armigerum
 
Bolton (2000), Azorsa & Sosa-Calvo (2008):
 
  Head heart-shaped. Mandibles with
kinetic mode of action, each with an apical fork of two teeth that overlap at full closure, of which the ventral tooth is the largest. Inner (masticatory) margin of mandibles lacking any dentition but with a series of short, thick setae that differ from any other pilosity present on mandibles. Mandibles at full gape open 170° or more.
 
  Pronotal humeri with acute tubercles. Dorsal view of Daceton armigerum
Lateral pronotal spines bifurcate, the anterior tips larger than the posterior ones. Mesosoma glabrous.
   
  Petiolar node with an anterior-lateral
pair of long spines and a pair of small but sharp tubercles, located underneath the anterior-lateral spines. First gastral tergite finely reticulate and devoid of any erect or semi-erect pilosity, sometimes with very short, appressed hairs.
   
  Color of head, mesosoma, and metasoma, usually red-brown to red-
yellowish, sometimes dark red-brown or rarely bicolored; petiole, postpetiole, and gaster darker than rest of body.


Similar species
: Daceton boltoni

Natural history:

Daceton armigerum is an arboreal forager, usually nesting in cavities in the branches and trunks of trees previously bored by beetles and other insects, and has a polymorphic worker caste. Besides Daceton, worker polymorphism in dacetines has only evolved in one species of Orectognathus in Australia and in a single species of Strumigenys in New Guinea (Bolton 2000).

Wilson (1962) reports that workers of this highly predaceous myrmicine ant hunt individually for a variety of live insects, including flies, grasshoppers, larvae and adults of moths and beetles, and fulgorids. In addition, some workers have been observed tending coccids (Bodkin in Crawley 1916; Brown & Wilson 1960; Wilson 1962)

The biology of this species has been studied by Wheeler & Wheeler (1954 , description of larvae), Wilson (1962, ecology and behavior), Blum & Portocarrero (1966, trail pheromone and venom), Hölldobler et al. (1990, chemical communication), Moffet & Tobin (1991, physical castes), Groenenberg (1996, mandibular mode of action), Bolton (1999, 2000, classification), and Yanoviak (personal communication, aerial gliding behavior).

References:

Azorsa, F. and J. Sosa-Calvo. 2008. Description of a remarkable new species of ant in the genus Daceton Perty (Formicidae: Dacetini) from South America. Zootaxa, 1749: 27-38. pdf
Blum, M. S. & Portocarrero, C. A. 1966. Chemical releasers of social behavior. X. An attine trail substance in the venom of a non-trail laying myrmicine, Daceton armigerum (Latreille). Psyche, 73: 150–155.
Bolton, B. 1999. Ant genera of the tribe Dacetonini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Natural History, 33: 1639–1689.
Bolton, B. 2000. The ant tribe Dacetini with a revision of the Strumigenys species of the Malagasy region by Brian L. Fisher, and a revision of the Austral epopostrumiform genera by Steven O. Shattuck. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 65: 1–1028.
Brown, W. L., Jr. & Wilson, E. O. 1959. The evolution of the dacetine ants. Quarterly Review of Biology, 34, 278–294.
Crawley, W. C. 1916. Ants from British Guiana. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 17: 366–378.
Gronenberg, W. 1996. The trap-jaw mechanism in the dacetine ants Daceton armigerum and Strumigenys sp. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 199: 2021–2033.
Hölldobler, B., Palmer, J. & Moffett, M. W. 1990. Chemical communication in the dacetine ant Daceton armigerum. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 16: 1207–1220.
Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire naturelle des fourmis, et recueil de memoires et d'observations sur les abeilles, les araignees, les faucheurs, et autres insectes. Paris. 445 pp.
Moffett, M. W. & Tobin, J. E. 1991. Physical castes in ant workers: a problem for Daceton armigerum and other ants. Psyche, 98: 283–292.
Wheeler, G. C. & Wheeler, J. 1954. The ant larvae of the myrmicine tribes Basicerotini and Dacetini. Psyche, 61: 111–145.
Wilson, E.O. 1962. Behavior of Daceton armigerum (Latreille), with a classification of self-grooming movements in ants. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard, 127: 401–422.




 


 

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