Crematogaster limata F. Smith
treatment provided by
|Crematogaster limata F. Smith|
Plate 1, 6
Crematogaster limata var. palans Forel HNS , 1912:216. Syntype workers: Panama (Christophersen) [ MHNG] (examined). Wheeler, W.M. 1921b:151: description of queen. Emery, 1922:136: combination in C. (Orthocrema) HNS . Wheeler, W.M. 1942:197: description of male. NEW SYNONYMY
Crematogaster (Eucrema) inca subsp. ascendens Wheeler HNS , W. M. 1925: 28. Syntype workers: Peru, Santa Ana, 3000ft , 3 Aug 1911, Yale Peruvian Expedition [ MCZC, possibly also Royal Museum of Stockholm] ( MCZC specimens examined). NEW SYNONYMY
Crematogaster (Orthocrema) limata st. dextella Santschi HNS , 1929b:88, fig. 2. Syntype workers: Panama, Canal Zone, Barro Colorado Island , 17 VII. 1927 (G. C. Wheeler) [ NHMB] (examined). Wheeler, G.C. and Wheeler, J. 1952:258: description of larva. NEW SYNONYMY
Mexico to Bolivia and southern Brazil.
Description of worker
Color red brown; workers monomorphic in size.
Mandibles smooth and shining; clypeus varying from striate, with 5 or more longitudinal carinulae, to nearly smooth and shining, especially medially; head about as long as wide, subquadrate, with emarginate posterior border; antenna with terminal two segments enlarged to form a club, third segment from end somewhat enlarged, blurring distinction between two and three-segmented club; scapes with abundant long erect setae; when scapes laid back from antennal insertions, they surpass margin of vertex; face largely smooth and shining, with variable extent of striated region between antennal insertion and eye, and whorled above antennal insertion; face covered with abundant long flexuous white setae, no appressed pubescence; in face view abundant setae project from lateral and posterior margins.
Promesonotum in profile often formed of three planes, horizontal pronotal dorsum, somewhat elevated and downward sloping anterodorsal face of mesonotum, and more steeply sloping posterodorsal face of mesonotum; on smaller workers profile becomes more smoothly convex; propodeal suture deep in dorsal view but obscured in profile due to lateral carinulae that bridge the suture; posterior mesonotum curves smoothly into horizontal dorsal face of propodeum; propodeal spines long, projecting posteriorly such that they are more or less in same plane as dorsal face of propodeum, sometimes somewhat elevated; dorsal and posterior face of propodeum well differentiated, the dorsal face confluent with the horizontal spines, the posterior face sloping down to petiolar insertion; pronotal dorsum with variably developed longitudinal carinulae, strongest laterally, becoming weaker medially, interspaces smooth and shining, in some cases almost entirely smooth and shining with no carinulae; anterodorsal face of mesonotum with weak, subparallel lateral carinae, these continue onto posterodorsal face as stronger carinae that converge posteriorly, lateral carinae of the two faces meet at angulate to somewhat tuberculate juncture, interspace smooth and shining; dorsal face of propodeum faintly carinulate, posterior face smooth and shining; side of pronotum smooth and shining; katepisternum weakly to distinctly punctate; side of propodeum very faintly sculptured; mesosomal dorsum with abundant long flexuous white setae, setae on pronotal humeri longest; femora and tibiae with abundant long erect setae.
Petiole in side view subtriangular, weakly punctate to nearly smooth; anteroventral tooth usually absent or produced as a short right angle tooth (tooth more developed in South America than Central America); dorsal face of petiole smooth and shining, elongate, widest posteriorly, regularly tapering anteriorly, with long flexuous setae along posterior border; postpetiole lacking ventral tooth, globular in dorsal view, with abundant erect setae; fourth abdominal tergite smooth and shining, with abundant long flexuous erect white setae, no appressed pubescence.
HL 0.676, 0.583, 0.720; HW 0.761, 0.634, 0.791; HC 0.726, 0.594, 0.739; SL 0.663, 0.616, 0.766; EL 0.161, 0.151, 0.192; A11L 0.296; A11W 0.140; A10L 0.130; A10W 0.098; A09L 0.083; A09W 0.081; A08L 0.069; A08W 0.062; WL 0.746, 0.681, 0.852; SPL 0.231, 0.177, 0.245; PTH 0.180, 0.158, 0.187; PTL 0.267, 0.248, 0.276; PTW 0.163, 0.144, 0.176; PPL 0.182, 0.165, 0.185; PPW 0.195, 0.165, 0.196; CI 113, 109, 110; OI 24, 26, 27; SI 98, 106, 106; PTHI 67, 64, 68; PTWI 61, 58, 64; PPI 107, 100, 106; SPI 31, 26, 29; ACI 0.32.
A normal queen (dorsal face of propodeum drops steeply from postscutellum and much of propodeum appears ventral to scutellum and postscutellum, Fig. 1) with general shape, sculpture, and pilosity characters of the worker; size characters as in Figures 4 and 5.
Crematogaster limata HNS is an extremely generalized species. It occurs most abundantly from sea level to 1000m elevation, where it can be found in wet forest or dry forest, second growth or mature vegetation. It is most abundant in disturbed vegetation in wet forest areas. It is most often encountered near ground level, along roadsides, at forest edges, or in the understory of second growth vegetation. I rarely find it in mature forest.
Nests occur in almost any kind of small cavity. I most often find them in dead sticks, but other nest sites have included cavities in live stems of various plant species, an abandoned mud nest of a sphecid wasp, live internodes of Cecropia saplings, and rotting cacao pods.
Colonies may be small, with a single queen in a single nest. Larger colonies may fill many sticks and cavities scattered through a volume of a cubic meter or more, with a central nest containing the queen and abundant brood, and peripheral nests containing workers and brood or very often large aggregations of workers alone, with no brood. Colonies may be monogynous or polygynous. Many colonies that I have observed have contained a single queen, but polygynous colonies are also relatively common. One nest at Hitoy Cerere Biological Reserve in Costa Rica contained 21 physogastric queens. Foundress queens are usually found alone; but I once observed a pair of founding queens together in a small stick, suggesting that pleometrosis occurs at least occasionally.
Workers are omnivorous foragers. They recruit to baits and frequently tend extrafloral nectaries and Homoptera. Workers can be found foraging day or night.
Wheeler (1986) observed a behavioral association between C. limata HNS and the large ponerine ant Ectatomma tuberculatum HNS on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Ectatomma tuberculatum HNS nests in the ground at the bases of trees. The nest entrance is surmounted by a 2-3cm wide thatch tube that extends about 15cm up the side of a tree trunk or smaller plant stem. Wheeler observed that polydomous C. limata HNS nests were often located near the mouths of E. tuberculatum HNS nests, and that C. limata HNS carried out periodic "raids" into the these nests. The raids were abrupt and short-lived, with workers streaming into and out of a nest entrance for about an hour. Peak flux rates were about 170 workers entering and 170 workers exiting per 15 minute observation period. Wheeler writes "Encountering an E. tuberculatum HNS , the smaller C. limata HNS climbed up one of the larger ant's legs and onto its thorax and head. The E. tuberculatum HNS worker stood still as the C. limata HNS licked the dorsal surface, especially the head. E. tuberculatum HNS did not react aggressively to the intruders. Occasionally, an E. tuberculatum HNS worker opened her jaws as the C. limata HNS licked the extended mouthparts. Then the C. limata HNS worker climbed down and quickly left the nest." Although Wheeler failed to observe the phenomenon during a brief visit to Finca La Pacifica in the dry forest habitat of northwestern Costa Rica, where she examined five E. tuberculatum HNS nests, I suspect that the phenomenon occurs in Costa Rica. In the Atlantic lowlands I have seen several instances of large C. limata HNS colonies with nests clustered in and around nest entrances of E. tuberculatum HNS .
Species in the limata HNS complex ( brasiliensis HNS , carinata HNS , limata HNS , and tenuicula HNS in Costa Rica) all have abundant erect flexuous setae on the face, moderate length to short propodeal spines that are posteriorly directed, and elongate tapering petioles. The four species can be difficult to separate. They differ primarily in the nature of the ventral processes of the petiole and postpetiole. Crematogaster limata HNS has neither petiolar nor postpetiolar processes, differentiating it from the other three. The propodeal spines are large relative to those of carinata HNS and brasiliensis HNS . Crematogaster limata HNS may also be confused with foliocrypta HNS , but foliocrypta HNS has appressed rather than erect tibial pilosity.
United Kingdom, London, The Natural History Museum [formerly British Museum (Natural History)]
Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle
USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology
Switzerland, Basel, Naturhistorisches Museum
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