Cyphomyrmex minutus Mayr, Snelling, R. R. & Longino, J. T., 1992

Snelling, R. R. & Longino, J. T., 1992, Revisionary notes on the fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex, rimosus-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini)., Insects of Panama and Mesoamerica: selected studies., Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 479-494: 490

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scientific name

Cyphomyrmex minutus Mayr

new status

Cyphomyrmex minutus Mayr   HNS   new status

(Figs. 30.6, 30.14, 30.22, 30.24)

Cyphomyrmex minutus Mayr   HNS   , 1862:691; [[worker]].

Cyphomyrmex steinheili Forel   HNS   , 1884:368; [[worker]].

Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. comalensis Wheeler   HNS   , 1907: 719-21; [[worker]], [[queen]], [[male]]

Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. minutus   HNS   ; Wheeler, 1907:722;

Atta (Cyphomyrmex) rimosa race atrata Forel   HNS   , 1912:188-9; [[worker]], [[queen]], [[male]]. new synonymy.

Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. arnoldi Aguayo   HNS   , 1932:22 3-4; new synonymy.

Cyphomyrmex rimosus subsp. minutus var. flavidus Wheeler   HNS   , 19 36:204;. Preoccupied, NEW SYNONYMY.

Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. venezuelensis Weber   HNS   , 19 38: 188;. new synonymy.

Cyphomyrmex rimosus subsp. flavescens Weber   HNS   , 1940:411; New name for flavidus Wheeler   HNS   , 1936, not Pergande, 1895. new synonymy.

Cyphomyrmex rimosus subsp. breviscapus Weber   HNS   , 1940:412; -. new synonymy.

This is the most widespread and commonly encountered of all the species of Cyphomyrmex   HNS   . In the United States it ranges from Texas to Florida, but is abundant only from central Texas eastward. The range extends southward through Central America to northern South America and C. minutus   HNS   is common through the islands of the Caribbean. The type locality is Cuba.

Although the species generally maintains a monotonous morphological integrity, there are exceptional populations that have, not surprisingly, been named as distinctive forms. For example, specimens from Jamaica tend to possess mesosomal tubercles that are more acute than in samples from other areas. Aguayo's var. arnoldi   HNS   is based on a very dark example of this form; no types of this form are known to exist in either the AMNH or MCZ Wheeler material. Presumably, the more conspicuous tubercles mentioned in the original description led Kempf (1966) to surmise that this might prove to be C. foxi   HNS   .

Some Central American samples, ranging from Barro Colorado Island, Canal Zone, north to the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, have unusually short scapes in the females and workers. Generally, the apex of the scape extends beyond the occipital corner by an amount equal to, or slightly greater than, the apical breadth of the scape. In the short-scape form, equivalent to Weber's subsp. breviscapus   HNS   , the scape exceeds the occipital corner by about one-half the breadth of the scape. In general, specimens with short scapes are among the smallest C. minutus   HNS   seen (worker head width 0.50-0.55 mm), and slightly larger workers possess proportionately longer scapes.

Wheeler's var. flavidus   HNS   , because the name was preoccupied, was renamed flavescens   HNS   by Weber. This is a minor colour variant, described from Haiti. Throughout its range C. minutus   HNS   varies considerably in colour, even within a local population, and the naming of these variants is pointless.

The var. venezuelensis   HNS   was set up for specimens from the Orinoco River, Venezuela, on the basis of minor variations in the shape of the mesosomal tubercles and scape length. In our opinion these specimens are well within the range in variation shown for these features in other populations.

Aside from their slightly more prominent anterior mesosomal tubercles and darker colour, the workers in the type series of Forel's race atrata   HNS   hardly differ from most samples of C. minutus   HNS   . The cotype series, consisting of all castes, from Dibulla, Guajira, Colombia, has been examined. As is true of the workers, the female cotypes are unusually dark, but seem otherwise like their counterparts from other areas.