Mystrium mirror Yoshimura & Fisher

Yoshimura, Masashi & Fisher, Brian L., 2014, A revision of the ant genus Mystrium in the Malagasy region with description of six new species and remarks on Amblyopone and Stigmatomma (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Amblyoponinae), ZooKeys 394, pp. 1-99: 61-65

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Mystrium mirror Yoshimura & Fisher

sp. n.

Mystrium mirror Yoshimura & Fisher  sp. n. Figs 5C, 8D, 20A, 20C, 20E, 24B, 25A, 25C, 26A, 26C, 27B, 27D, 37E, 38E, 39E, 40E, 41E, 50C, 51C, 52C, 53C, 54C, 55C, 56C


Worker: CASENT0429897, BLF04760, MADAGASCAR, Toliara, Parc National de Kirindy Mite, 16.3 km 127° SE Belo sur Mer (-20.79528°, 44.147°), 80 m alt., 6-10.xii.2001, Fisher-Griswold Arthropod Team [CASC].


5 workers: CASENT0429898 [CASC], CASENT0318935 [BMNH], CASENT0318936 [MHNG], CASENT0318937 [MCZC], CASENT0318938 [NHMB]; 3 ergatoid queens: CASENT0429899 [CASC], CASENT0318939 [BMNH], CASENT0318940 [MHNG]; 4 males: CASENT0429893 [CASC], CASENT0429895 [BMNH], CASENT0318941 [MHNG], CASENT0318942 [MCZC], with same data as holotype.


Description. Measurements: holotype. HL 1.60, HW 1.68, SL 1.19, ML 1.72, HD 1.03, WL 1.89, PnW 0.91, PpW 0.76, PtW 0.79, PtL 0.55, CI 104.7, SI 71.1, MI 102.7, PpI 83.2, PtI 143.8.

HL 1.16-1.91, HW 1.16-2.06, SL 0.94-1.48, ML 1.34-2.30, HD 0.84-1.33, WL 1.46-2.27, PnW 0.69-1.08, PpW 0.60-0.94, PtW 0.59-0.91, PtL 0.37-0.59, CI 99.5-108.3, SI 67.9-80.9, MI 103.8-115.7, PpI 81.5-92.6, PtI 143.7-163.2 (10 specimens measured).

Posterolateral corner of head strongly expanding posteriorly. Posterior face of vertex forming a blunt angle with its dorsal face on median line of head, so that declivity of vertex on lateral part distinctly steeper than on median part. Ventral half of vertex sculptured. Eye developed, relatively larger than that of Mystrium voeltzkowi  . Anterior margin of clypeus straight to weakly convex with moderately long conical setae. Genal tooth of head weakly developed, reaching or slightly exceeding basal line of lateral lobe of clypeus. Masticatory surface of mandible in full-face view visible on basal half and invisible on distal half, width of dorsal surface of mandible almost identical from mandibular shaft to distal portion. Second maxillary palpomere longer than third. First flagellomere (third antennal segment) about 1.0-1.3 × length of pedicel (second antennal segment). Pronotal dorsum covered with strong and longitudinal striae, center deeply impressed. Shallow but thick longitudinal striae impressed on lateral surface of pronotum. Mesonotum differentiated from propodeum in dorsal view, length shorter than that of propodeum. Metanotal groove shallowly and gently impressed, mesonotum higher than pronotum in lateral view. Metapleural gland bulla moderately developed, propodeal declivity in lateral view almost straight. Petiole gently narrowing from anterior 1/3 in dorsal view, anterior margin straight to gently rounded and not edged by striae.

Body color reddish brown to dark brown. Four distal segments of antennal club brighter.

Ergatoid queen.

Description. Measurements: HL 1.17-1.83, HW 1.19-1.55, SL 0.91-1.24, ML 1.12-1.50, HD 0.83-1.08, WL 1.52-2.02, PnW 0.70-0.87, PpW 0.69-0.87, PtW 0.72-0.92, PtL 0.38-0.49, CI 77.6-106.7, SI 72.0-81.9, MI 87.7-104.0, PpI 94.0-106.6, PtI 159.5-194.5 (10 specimens measured).

Wings usually vestigial and reduced to quite small appendages; sometimes completely absent. Wing sclerites undeveloped. Posterolateral corner of head strongly to weakly expanding posteriorly, expansion relatively weaker than that of workers. Vertex usually thin, forming blunt angle between posterior and dorsal faces on median line of head, so that declivity of vertex on lateral part distinctly steeper than on median part. Ventral half of vertex sculptured, or not differentiated from dorsal region. Eye moderate and distinct. Ocelli absent. Anterior margin of clypeus straight to weakly convex with small conical setae. Genal tooth of head absent and not angled, or angled into small, short spine. Masticatory margin of mandible almost invisible in full-face view, and dorsal surface on distal portion as wide as that on mandibular shaft. Spatulate seta present on basal side of each basal denticle on masticatory margin of mandible. First flagellar segment on antenna moderately long, about 1.1-1.2 × length of pedicel. Setae on pronotum almost simple, narrowing distally with strongly sharpened apex. Meta pleural gland bulla moderately developed and not expanding dorsally to propodeal spiracle, so that propodeal declivity in lateral view weakly convex and rounded posteriorly on its ventral 1/3. Petiole relatively long in dorsal view, about 0.6-0.8 × length of abdominal segment III.

Body color yellowish brown, brown or reddish brown.


Description. Measurements: HL 0.93-1.05, HW 1.31-1.56, SL 0.29-0.35, EL 0.67-0.78, WL 1.90-2.38, MnW 1.23-1.40, CI 140.6-149.3, SI 21.5-23.1, EI 70.2-74.3, MnI 88.6-94.0 (6 specimens measured).

Eye quite large, occupying about 0.75 × of head length. Ocelli protruding from dorsal margin of head in full-face view. Dorsal margin of head in full-face view rounded. Both anterior and lateral ocelli large. Distance between lateral ocellus and eye equal to or shorter than diameter of lateral ocellus. Posterior face of vertex clearly differentiated from dorsal face, dorsal face distinctly shorter than posterior face. Palpal formula 4,3. First segment of maxillary palp flattened and distinctly wider than second segment. Second maxillary palpomere longer than third. Notauli shallowly and weakly impressed on mesoscutum, but often unclear. Petiole in dorsal view thin, length 0.55 –0.65× that of abdominal tergite III. Petiolar dorsum covered with fine punctures. Abdominal tergum VIII without deep punctures, almost smooth.

Distal portion of abdominal sternum IX smooth and not punctured. Basal ring short, not extending basally. Telomere distinctly extending distally farther than digitus. Basoventral expansion of aedeagus well developed basoventrally, distinctly longer than dorsal extension. Ventral margin of aedeagus almost straight in lateral view. Aedeagus distinctly narrowing distally, distal portion relatively sharp.

On forewing, cu-a located at junction of Media (M) and Cubitus (Cu), or slightly to far basal from junction.

Body color yellowish to reddish brown.


This species name is the English word mirror, inspired by the remarkable variation displayed in this species. This species might confuse an observer as a magic mirror would, which reflects different views to the observer. The species epithet is a noun and invariant.


MADAGASCAR: as in Figure 56C.

Additional material examined.

In addition to the type material, specimens from the following localities were examined in this study: MADAGASCAR. Antsiranana. Ambondrobe, 41.1 km 175° Vohemar (-13.71533°, 50.10167°), littoral rainforest, 10 m alt.; Forêt d’Anabohazo, 21.6 km 247° WSW Maromandia (-14.30889°, 47.91433°), tropical dry forest, 120 m alt.; Mahajanga. Forêt Ambohimanga, 26.1 km 314° Mampikony (-15.96267°, 47.43817°), tropical dry forest, 250 m alt.; Parc National de Baie de Baly, 12.4 km 337° NNW Soalala (-16.01°, 45.265°), tropical dry forest, 10 m alt.; Parc National d’Ankarafantsika, Forêt de Tsimaloto, 18.3 km 46° NE de Tsaramandroso (-16.22806°, 47.14361°), tropical dry forest, 135 m alt.; Ampijoroa Station Forestière, 5.4 km 331° NW Andranofasika (-16.29889°, 46.813°), tropical dry forest, 70 m alt.; Ampijoroa Station Forestière, 40 km 306° NW Andranofasika (-16.32083°, 46.81067°), tropical dry forest, 130 m alt.; Réserve d’Ankoririka, 10.6 km 13° NE de Tsaramandroso (-16.26722°, 47.04861°), tropical dry forest, 210 m alt.; Parc National de Namoroka, 17.8 km 329° WNW Vilanandro (-16.37667°, 45.32667°), tropical dry forest, 100 m alt.; 16.9 km 317° NW Vilanandro (-16.40667°, 45.31°), tropical dry forest, 100 m alt.; 9.8 km 300° WNW Vilanandro (-16.46667°, 45.35°), tropical dry forest, 140 m alt.; Réserve forestière Beanka, 50.2 km E Maintirano (-18.02649°, 44.05051°), tropical dry forest on tsingy, 250 m alt.; 52.7 km E Maintirano (-18.0622°, 44.52587°), tropical dry forest on tsingy, 300 m alt.; Parc National Tsingy de Bemaraha, 10.6 km ESE 123° Antsalova (-18.70944°, 44.71817°), tropical dry forest on tsingy, 150 m alt.; 2.5 km 62° ENE Bekopaka, Ankidrodroa River (-19.13222°, 44.81467°), tropical dry forest on tsingy, 100 m alt.; 3.4 km 93° E Bekopaka, Tombeau Vazimba (-19.14194°, 44.828°), tropical dry forest, 50 m alt.; Forêt de Tsimembo, 8.7 km 336° NNW Soatana (-19.02139°, 44.44067°), tropical dry forest, 20 m alt.; Toliara. Forêt de Kirindy, 15.5 km 64° ENE Marofandilia (-20.045°, 44.66222°), tropical dry forest, 100 m alt.; 48 km ENE Morondava, Kirindy (-20.06667°, 44.65°), tropical dry forest, 30 m alt.; Forêt de Beroboka, 5.9 km 131° SE Ankidranoka (-22.23306°, 43.36633°), tropical dry forest, 80 m alt.; Forêt de Mite, 20.7 km 29° WNW Tongobory (-23.52417°, 44.12133°), gallery forest, 75 m alt.; Forêt Vohidava 88.9 km N Amboasary (-24.24067°, 46.28783°), spiny forest/dry forest transition, 500 m alt.; Parc National d’Andohahela, Forêt de Manantalinjo, 33.6 km 63° ENE Amboasary, 7.6 km 99° E Hazofotsy (-24.81694°, 46.61°), spiny forest/thicket, 150 m alt.; Forêt d’Ambohibory, 1.7 km 61° ENE Tsimelahy, 36.1 km 308° NW Tolagnaro (-24.93°, 46.6455°), tropical dry forest, 300 m alt.; Réserve Privé Berenty, Forêt de Bealoka, Mandraré River, 14.6 km 329° NNW Amboasary (-24.95694°, 46.2715°), gallery forest, 35 m alt.; Réserve Spéciale de Cap Sainte Marie, 14.9 km 261° W Marovato (-25.59444°, 45.14683°), spiny forest/thicket, 160 m alt. Fianarantsoa. Parc National d’Isalo, Ambovo Springs, 29.3 km 4° N Ranohira (-22.29833°, 45.35167°), Uapaca woodland, 990 m alt.


The worker of Mystrium mirror  is distinguished from workers of other Mystrium  species by the combination of a central longitudinal furrow on the pronotal dorsum (as in Fig. 13B), reduced convexity of the anteromedial margin of the clypeus (Fig. 20A), blunter angle between the dorsal and posterior faces of the vertex on the median line of the head (as in Fig. 16B), and the straight posterior declivity of the propodeum (Fig. 20E). The workers of Mystrium mirror  are quite similar to those of Mystrium shadow  and Mystrium voeltzkowi  , and the differences among the three species in workers are even slighter in small-sized individuals. When the comparison is made in workers within the same body size range, Mystrium mirror  can be distinguished from Mystrium shadow  by the smaller central clypeal conical setae (as in Fig. 19B), and from Mystrium voeltzkowi  by either the straight declivity of the propodeum (Fig. 20E) and/or larger compound eye (Fig. 20C). The queen of Mystrium mirror  can be distinguished from other Mystrium  queens by a combination of the mesosoma without developed wing sclerites (ergatoid), posterior face of the vertex not strongly differentiated from its dorsal face (as in Fig. 21B), simpler body setae (Fig. 25A), a metapleural gland bulla that is moderately developed and not expanding dorsally to the propodeal spiracle (Fig. 24B), and brighter body color. The strength of the body sculpture is remarkably variable even among members in a single colony; some individuals may lack the striae and have a shiny pronotal dorsum - this weakness or lack of striae could prove to be an additional diagnostic character to separate this species from others. The ergatoid queens that are the most similar to Mystrium mirror  are those of Mystrium voeltzkowi  and Mystrium shadow  . The less developed metapleural gland bulla (Fig. 24B) separates Mystrium mirror  from Mystrium voeltzkowi  , and pronotal setae simply narrowing distally with a sharp apex (Fig. 25A) separate it from Mystrium shadow  . For the males, a large eye occupying almost 75% of the lateral margin of the head in full-face view (Fig. 26C), large lateral ocelli protruding from the dorsal margin of the head in full-face view (Fig. 38E), and a shorter distance between the eye and lateral ocellus (Fig. 26A) separate Mystrium mirror  and Mystrium voeltzkowi  from Mystrium shadow  . However, only genital characters can distinguish Mystrium mirror  from Mystrium voeltzkowi  (Fig. 27).

The distribution range of Mystrium mirror  (Fig. 56C) is allopatric with that of Mystrium voeltzkowi  (Fig. 56F), but Mystrium mirror  has a wider distribution than Mystrium voeltzkowi  . Most of the specimens of Mystrium mirror  were collected from tropical dry forests throughout most of western Madagascar (a few were collected in northern Madagascar), while most Mystrium voeltzkowi  were collected from rainforest in the northern part of the country. This clear separation in distribution range and preferred habitat may be useful to roughly distinguish Mystrium mirror  from Mystrium voeltzkowi  .

We confirm that Mystrium mirror  was previously used as material in one phylogenetic study ( Ouellette et al. 2006) and two studies of evolutionary biology ( Molet et al. 2009; Molet et al. 2012). In Ouellette et al. (2006), the specimen referred to as M. mysticum3 (CASENT0500395) is Mystrium mirror  . An ergatoid queen of Mystrium mirror  was referred to as Mystrium  ‘red’ in figure 2 in Molet et al. (2009) and supplemental figure A1 in Molet et al. (2012). Prior to this study, the species boundaries among species in the genus Mystrium  were too weak and ambiguous to provide proper taxonomic names for use in phylogenetic or ecological studies. However, the ecological data for Mystrium  ‘red’ ( Molet et al. 2009; Molet et al. 2007a; Molet et al. 2012) is still considered that of Mystrium voeltzkowi  even though an image of Mystrium mirror  was used in their figures. In fact, all colonies used as material in Molet et al. (2007a), which we could reexamine in the CASC collection, were identified as Mystrium voeltzkowi  (see also Mystrium voeltzkowi  ).