Cyphomyrmex olitor Forel

Kempf, W. W., 1964, A revision of the Neotropical fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex Mayr. Part I. Group of strigatus Mayr (Hym., Formicidae)., Studia Entomologica (N. S.) 7, pp. 1-44: 30-34

publication ID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Cyphomyrmex olitor Forel


9. Cyphomyrmex olitor Forel  HNS 

(Figs. 7, 9, 19, 23, 33, 35, 51, 52)

Cyphomyrmex olitor Forel  HNS  , 1893: 605-606 (Worker, female; Brazil, Santa Catarina: Blumenau).

Cyphomyrmex quebradae Kusnezov  HNS  , 1949: 445-448, Pl. 2, figs. 6-8 (Worker, female, male; Argentina, Tucuman: Quebrada Cainzo nr. Tafi Viejo). - NOV. SYN.

Types. - 3 Workers (lectotype and paratypes) and 2 females (paratypes), collected by Dr. A. Moeller near Blumenau, Santa Catarina State, Brazil, received on loan from the Forel collection (MHNG). 6 workers and 1 female, syntypes of quebradae Kusnezov  HNS  , received as a gift from Miguel Lillo Institute (WWK).

Worker (lectotype). - Total length 2.6 mm; head length 0.64 mm; head width 0.56 mm; thorax length 0.78 mm; hind femur length 0.59 mm. Yellowish brown, vertex of head more reddish brown.. Integument opaque, densely and minutely granulate. Dorsum of head between frontal carinae and tergum I of gaster with small piligerous tubercles.

Head as shown in Fig. 7. Mandibles finely reticulatepunctate and somewhat longitudinally rugulose; chewing border with 7-8 teeth, gradually diminishing in size towards base. Anterior clypeal border scarcely notched in the middle, laterally with a small tooth on each side. Frontal area distinct and impressed. Frontal lobes oblique, rectangular, moderately expanded laterad, not reaching in full-face view the preocular carinae, covering only in part the antennal scrobe; lateral borders somewhat diverging and sinuous, posterior prolongation of frontal carinae nearly straight and gently diverging caudad. Occipital corners (Fig. 51) slightly produced. Occiput broadly and shallowly excised, with another somewhat deeper excision in the middle between the short, but prominent carinae of vertex. Supraocular tumulus feeble and indistinct. Postero-inferior corner of head without a foliaceous carinule. Scapes in repose attaining but hot surpassing the occipital corner. Funicular segments Il-VII scarcely longer than broad:

Thorax as shown in Fig. 19. The single midpronotal'tubercle low, often indistinct: lateral teeth much more prominent; anteroinferior corner of pronotum forming a slightly protruding' yet subrectangular tooth. Mesonotum flat to slightly excavate, with the costumary two pairs of tubercles, one tubercle to each corner; anterior tubercles in profile broadly rounded, tumuliform, posteriortubercles subconical with broadly rounded apex. Mesoepinotal constriction pronounced. Basal face of epinotum nearly as long as declivous face, with a pair of blunt tubercles at anterior border, another faintly marked pair posteriorly, marking the limit of the declivous face. Femora very lightly crested beneath. Hind femora only gently dilated at basal third, the postero-ventral crest nol forming at this place a prominent foliaceous flange.

Pedicel as shown in Figs. 19 and 33. Note the narrow postero-median laminule flanked by very faint longitudinal carinules. Lateral lobes solid, only shallowly excavated beneath. Postpetiole cupuliform, dorsally broadly impressed, the impression flanked by a low and blunt ridge which terminates posteriorly in a low, scarcely raised tubercle. Lateral lobes completely appressed to sternum, not excavated beneath nor foliaceous. Tergum I of gaster with a faint longitudinal furrow on anterior half, the lateral borders distinctly marginate, especially on anterior half.

Hairs on thorax and pedicel minute appressed, indistinct; head, gaster and appendages with small recurved and decumbent hairs.

Female (paratypes). - Total length 3.3-3.4 mm; head length 0.75-0.77 mm; head width 0.67-0.68 mm; thorax length 0.96-0.98 mm; hind femur length 0.72-0.75 mm. Ferruginous; decidedly darker than the workers of the type series. Head as in worker, including shape of frontal carinae, slightly protruding occipital lobes. Ocelly very small. Mandibles with 7-8 teeth. Pronotum laterally immarginate, with a strong conical tooth on each side. Midpronotal tooth absent. Anteroinferior corner of latero-tergite of pronotum with a prominent tooth. Scutum flat troughout; anteriorly with a pair of faint tumuli just inside the anterior extremity of the arms of the vestigial and scarcely impressed Mayrian furrows. Scutellum posteriorly distinctly bidentate, a semicircular excision separating the two teeth. Basal face of epinotum continuous with declivous face, i. e. dropping down steeply to petiolar insertion just behind the meta-epinotal suture. Epinotal teeth small, much as in nemei  HNS  . All femora with the postero-ventral border marginate and finely carinulate; hind femora very gently thickened at basal third, without a projecting foliaceous flange. Postpetiole broader and stouter than in worker, with a deep and large dorsal impression, flanked by a pair of longitudinal and slightly carinulate weits; postero-lateral impressions also present; lateral lobes of tergum completely appressed to sternum. Tergum I of gaster covered with abundant piligerous tubercles, its anterior half carinate laterally, mesially with a shallow and rather indistinct longitudinal furrow. Wings unknown. Pilosity as in worker.

Male described by Kusnezov (1949), as that of quebradae  HNS  .

Distribution. - The species, as presently defined, is known to occur in northwestern Argentine (Tucuman) and southeastern Brazil, from Rio Grande do Sul to Rio de Janeiro States.

Specimens examined: 87 workers, 14 females and 1 male, as follows: Argentina, Tucuman: Quebrada Cainzo nr. Tafi Viejo (N. Kusnezov) 6 workers, 1 female (syntypes of quebradae Kusnezov  HNS  ). - Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul State, stray workers and 1 female, collected by Fritz Plaumann at the following localities: Barao de Cotegipe, Barros-Cassal, Bom Jesus, Erectum, Nova Petropolis (1 female), Pardinho, Tainhas; Santa Catarina State: Blumenau (A. Moeller) 3 workers and 2 females (MHNG, lectotype and paratypes of olitor  HNS  ), and many workers and several females taken by Fritz Plaumann at the following localities: Chapeco (1 female), Ibicare, L. Facao, Nova Teutonia (3 females), P. Bormann (1 female), Serra Geral (2 females), Xaxim; Parana State: several stray workers and 1 female taken by Fritz Plaumann at the following localities: Bocaiuva do Sul (1 female), Porto Vitoria, Rio Azul; Sao Paulo State: Agudos (C. Gilbert, W. W. Kempf) 2 workers; Campos do Jorclao (W. W. Kempf) I worker; Rio de Janeiro State: Ilha de Marambaia (R. Mueller) 1 worker, Petropolis (A. Wiltuschnig) 1 worker. All specimens, with the exception of the olitor  HNS  types in my collection (WWK).

Discussion. - The numerous specimens from southern Brazil just mentioned, unfortunately all strays from berlesate collections, show an unusual range of variation. Only the lone workers from Petropolis and Marambaia, Rio de Janeiro State, agree almost completely with the types. All others present a variable amount of discordant features. I have tried to separate the principal variants with the intention of discovering the existence of two or more so-called sibling species. But sp far, all my attempts have been unsuccessful. Therefore I limit myself to an account of the chief variable characters for the worker caste.

1. Size: The types are near the lower end of the range. The largest specimen had the following measurements: Total length 3.5 mm; head length 0.85 mm; head width 0.77 mm; thorax length 1.09 mm; hind femora length 0.83 mm.

2. Head: Mandibular teeth 7-10, frontal lobes more often evenly rounded (cf. Fig. 9) rather than rectangular (Fig. 7); frontal carinae subparallel in the largest specimens; occipital lobes sometimes less distinctly set off in full face view.

3. Thorax: midpronotal tubercles strong to almost obsolete; lateral pronotal and both pairs of mesonotal tubercles usually lower than in types (Fig. 23); mesoepinotal constriction variable; epinotal teeth either vestigial (Fig. 19) or well developed, with all kinds of intermediate conditions; hind femora moderately to conspicuously dilated and ventrally angulate at basal third, postero-ventral border always carinate, sometimes with a prominent foliaceous flange at angle.

4. Pedicel and gaster: lateral lobes of petiole, in ventral view, weakly to moderately longitudinally furrowed, the lateral border, especially on the posterior half carinate; in profile, the petiole is either completely depressed or shows an ascending anterior face distinct from a horizontal dorsal face (as in daguerrei  HNS  , cf. Fig. 22), especially in larger specimens; in larger specimens the postero-dorsal transverse laminule forms sometimes a prominent semicircular apron; shape of postpetiole extremely variable in dorsal view, with all possible intergrades between extremes shown in Figs. 33 and 35; lateral borders of tergum of postpetiole either completely appressed to sternum as in olitor  HNS  types, or salient with more or less developed foliaceous margin; lateral borders of tergum I of gaster varying between sharply and indistinctly marginate.

As said before, 1 am reluctant to lump this variable array of forms under one species, but I cannot see another solution under the present circumstances. Later on, when good series from many colonies will be available, one might be tempted again to try for more satisfactory results.

Synonymy. - The variation shown in the preceding paragraphs, casts series doubts upon the validity of several Argentine species. I believe that both daguerrei  HNS  and bruchi  HNS  , although known from very few specimens, are still sufficiently distinct to be retained as good species. The case against nemei  HNS  is already stronger, although I let it stand for the time being. However, quebradae  HNS  , although quite distinct from the olitor  HNS  types, seems untenable under the weight of the many variable olitor  HNS  specimens mentioned before.

The measurements of the syntype workers of quebradae  HNS  are the following: total length 2.9-3.0 mm; head length 0.71-0.73 mm; head width 0.64-0.67. mm; thorax length 0.90-0.93 mm; hind femur length 0.67-0.69 mm. They differ from the olitor  HNS  types as follows: mandibles with 9-10 teeth; frontal lobes (Fig. 9) rounded; thoracic tubercles generally lower, especially the mesonotal ones (Fig. 23); epinotal teeth more prominent; ventro-lateral furrows of petiolar node deeper; postpetiole (Fig. 35) much broader, the lateral lobes foliaceous and not appressed to sternum.

The female (syntype) measurements are as follows: total length 3.5 mm; head length 0.80 mm; head width 0.72 mm; thorax length 1.07 mm; hind femur length 0.75 mm. Mandibular teeth, frontal lobes and shape o; postpetiole as in worker.

For all these characters exist all kinds of intergrades among the olitor  HNS  material from southeastern Brazil, so that quebradae  HNS  is no longer tenable.

Bionomics. - There are no pertinent data, except for the fact that all collections of olitor  HNS  and quebradae  HNS  , its synonym, were made in mesophilous subtropical woods, in rather moist surroundings.