Myrmelachista nigrocotea, Longino, J. T., 2006

Longino, J. T., 2006, A taxonomic review of the genus Myrmelachista (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica., Zootaxa 1141, pp. 1-54 : 40-42

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Myrmelachista nigrocotea


Myrmelachista nigrocotea   HNS NEW SPECIES

Figures 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11

Holotype alate queen: Costa Rica, Prov. Alajuela, Casa Eladio, Rio Penas Blancas , 10°19’N, 84°43’W, 800m , 30 Apr 1988 (J. Longino #2044) [ INBC, specimen code JTLC000006186 ]. GoogleMaps

Paratypes: workers and queens, from same nest as holotype, specimen codes JTLC000006187 - JTLC000006197 , distributed to INBC, MCZC, USNM, UCDC, LACM, BMNH. GoogleMaps


Worker with antenna 9-segmented, maxillary palpus 5-segmented, color yellow. Queen black; mandible punctatorugose; HW greater than 1.1mm; head relatively broad (CI 88-93); eyes relatively small (OI 23-27); much of face slightly roughened, dull, not strongly shining.


Similar to flavocotea   HNS . Compared to flavocotea   HNS , there is a tendency for the pilosity on the side and ventral surface of head to be shorter, the pilosity on the hind tibia to be more fully appressed, and the gastral terga to develop faintly infuscated bands, but these differences are difficult to quantify.

Measurements: HL 0.560-0.683, HW 0.520-0.660, SL 0.274-0.345, EL 0.105-0.121, CI 93-101 (n=5).


Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 6-segmented; labrum short, bilobed, not covering mouthparts; dorsal surface of mandible punctatorugose; face and clypeus roughened, becoming somewhat smoother posteriorly; clypeus often coarsely rugose; in full face view, with short erect to appressed setae on rear and side margins of head; ventral surface of head with abundant short erect setae; scapes with abundant erect to suberect setae, longer setae subequal to width of scape; outer surface of hind tibia with abundant setae, suberect to fully appressed, longer setae shorter than width of tibia; color solid black.

Measurements: HL 1.259-1.362, HW 1.135-1.223, SL 0.532-0.575, EL 0.283-0.309, OW 0.063-0.096, OD 0.227-0.267, CI 88-93, OI 23-27, OcI 5-7 (n=9).


Similar to M. flavocotea   HNS . Differing in generally heavier sclerotization, darker color, and smaller ocelli. Width of median ocellus usually less than distance between median and lateral ocellus; distance between lateral ocelli less than distance from lateral ocellus to compound eye.


The name refers to the black color of the queen head and its frequent occurrence in the plant genus Ocotea   HNS .


Costa Rica. In Costa Rica it occurs above 500m elevation in wet forest habitats of the Cordillera Volcánica Central, Cordillera de Tilarán, and Cordillera de Guanacaste.


This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats from 500-1100m elevation, where it nests in live stems of understory Lauraceae and Meliaceae. It has a biology similar to M. flavocotea   HNS but is more generalized in its host use. At Refugio Eladio in the Peñas Blancas Valley it occurs in Ocotea dendrodaphne , O. atirrensis , O. tenera , and the undescribed species of Guarea that is the host for M. flavoguarea   HNS . Cerro Pedregal, across from Estación Cacao in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, has a patch of understory O. tenera near the peak that is dominated by M. nigrocotea   HNS . Colonies can be monogynous or polygynous with 2-4 dealate queens. Stems often contain Pseudococcidae . Alate queens have been collected in Project ALAS Malaise traps on the Barva transect.

Material Examined

COSTA RICA, Alajuela: Refugio Eladio, Rio Penas Blancas , 10°19’N, 84°43’W, 800m (J. Longino, 24 collections) GoogleMaps ; Guanacaste: Cerro Cacao , 10°56’N, 85°28’W, 1100m (J. Longino, 4 collections) GoogleMaps ; same data (J. S. Noyes) GoogleMaps ; Heredia: Casa Plastico, 17km S Pto. Viejo , 10°18’N, 84°02’W, 550m (J. Longino) GoogleMaps ; Virgen de Socorro , 10°16’N, 84°10’W, 1000m (J. Longino) GoogleMaps ; 16km SSE La Virgen , 10°16’N, 84°05’W, 1100m (J. Longino) GoogleMaps ; same data (ALAS, 2 collections) GoogleMaps ; San José: Carrillo, Braulio Carrillo Nat. Park , 10°09’N, 83°57’W, 600m (J. Longino) GoogleMaps .


Costa Rica, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)


USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology


USA, Washington D.C., National Museum of Natural History, [formerly, United States National Museum]


USA, California, Davis, University of California, R.M. Bohart Museum of Entomology


USA, California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History


United Kingdom, London, The Natural History Museum [formerly British Museum (Natural History)]













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