Pseudomyrmex feralis Ward

Ward, Philip S., 2017, A review of the Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus and Pseudomyrmex goeldii species groups: acacia-ants and relatives (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Zootaxa 4227 (4), pp. 524-542: 532-533

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Pseudomyrmex feralis Ward

sp. nov.

Pseudomyrmex feralis Ward  , sp. nov.

( Fig. 3View FIGURES 2 – 3)

Pseudomyrmex  sp. PSW-54; Ward (1993: 135). Male genitalia similar to those of P. ferrugineus  group.

Pseudomyrmex  sp. PSW-54; Kautz et al. (2009: 847). Nested phylogenetically in P. ferrugineus  group.

Pseudomyrmex  sp. PSW-54; Heil et al. (2009: 18093). Nested phylogenetically in P. ferrugineus  group.

Pseudomyrmex  psw054; Chomicki et al. (2015: 4). Nested phylogenetically in P. ferrugineus  group.

Pseudomyrmex  sp. PSW-54; Rubin & Moreau (2016: 3). Genome sequenced and compared with that of P. flavicornis  .

Type material. Holotype worker. GUATEMALA Sacatepéquez: Parque Florencia , nr. San Miguel Milpas Altas, 1900 m, 14°34ʹN 90°41ʹW, 13 Nov 2003, ex dead twig of woody Asteraceae  , montane rainforest, P. S. Ward PSW15038View Materials ( USNM) (CASENT0794097)  . Paratypes. Series of 9 workers, same data as holotype ( CASC, JTLC, MCZC, PSWC, UCDC, UVGC). 

Other material examined ( LACM, MCZC, PSWC, UCDC, UVGC). GUATEMALA Alta Verapaz: 7 km SW Cobán, 1460 m (P. S. Ward); airport near Cobán (D. H. Janzen); Cobán (N. L. H. Krauss)  ; Guatemala: Guatemala, San Isidro , 1615 m (C. Lezama)  ; Guatemala, San Isidro , 1615 m (R. Pérez)  ; Sacatepéquez: Antigua (W. M. 

Wheeler); Sololá: 1 km N San Andrés Semetabaj, 1840 m (P. S. Ward); Zacapa: Santa Clara, interior valley of Sierra de las Minas (N. of Cabañas) (R. D. Mitchell).

Worker measurements (n = 8). HL 1.02–1.08, HW 0.94–0.99, MFC 0.029–0.047, LHT 0.73–0.77, CI 0.90– 0.94, REL 0.48–0.51, REL2 0.53–0.56, FCI 0.030–0.047, FI 0.43–0.46, PLI 0.54–0.57, PWI 0.50–0.60.

Worker diagnosis. Medium-sized species (see HL, HW and LHT measurements) with head slightly longer than broad (CI <1.00) and eyes moderately elongate (REL>0.47); anterior margin of median clypeal lobe concave, and laterally angulate; palp formula 5,3; frontal carinae closely contiguous, separated by notably less than basal scape width; profemur relatively robust; mesosoma as in Fig. 3View FIGURES 2 – 3, metanotal groove very weakly impressed, and not evident in lateral view, mesosoma appearing broadly convex in profile; dorsal face of propodeum slightly longer than, and rounding gradually into, declivitous face; petiole as in Fig. 3View FIGURES 2 – 3, a little less than twice as long as high or wide, and with a slightly differentiated anterior peduncle; postpetiole broad, about 1.7–1.8× petiole width. Head, mesosoma and petiole punctulate-coriarious and subopaque; postpetiole and abdominal tergite IV sublucid, their reflectance reduced by fine punctulae and associated dense pubescence. Standing pilosity fine, pale, and somewhat sparse on most parts of the body ( MSC 7–12), usually present on the mesonotum but lacking on propodeum. Dark brown, the pronotum—and sometimes the rest of the mesosoma, petiole and appendages—variably lighter brown.

Comments. P. feralis  can be recognized by the laterally angulate clypeal lobe, moderately long eyes (REL 0.48–0.51), robust profemur (FI 0.43–0.46) and convex mesosomal profile in which the metanotal groove is almost indiscernable. The acacia-ants in the P. ferrugineus  group have a more slender profemur (FI 0.35–0.41), generally shorter eyes (REL 0.39–0.50), and a well-developed metanotal groove. For distinctions between P. feralis  and the other non-mutualist in the P. ferrugineus  group, P. evitus  , see above under that species. With respect to body size and color, P. feralis  is superficially similar to a much more common, but undescribed, high-elevation Central American species, Pseudomyrmex  psw159, which ranges from Chiapas to Nicaragua, and occurs sympatrically with P. feralis  in Guatemala. P. psw159 belongs to a distantly related complex of species that includes P. elongatulus  and P. championi  (the P. elongatulus  group, to be treated in a later study). Workers of P. psw159 can be distinguished from those of P. feralis  by a number of features, including a laterally rounded median clypeal lobe; 6,4 palp formula; shorter eyes (REL 0.42–0.47); more elongate head (CI 0.82–0.86); and more slender profemur (FI 0.40–0.44).

Distribution and biology. P. feralis  is apparently restricted to Guatemala where it is associated with montane rainforest and mixed tropical-temperate mesic forest, at elevations ranging from 1460 m to 1900 m. I have collected three nest series, all in dead twigs. The workers are non-aggressive and uninclined to sting.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology


Collecion de Artropodos


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


Matsushima Fungus Collection


Lahti City Museum


Michigan State University














Pseudomyrmex feralis Ward

Ward, Philip S. 2017


Chomicki 2015: 4


Ward 1993: 135


Rubin 2016: 3