Attini, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
muelleri s.l. (see comment): Panama (type locality), Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Atlantic slope to 1100m elevation.
Mesosomal dorsum forming a continuous convexity, lacking tubercles, metanotal groove not impressed.
This species inhabits wet forest habitats. It has been collected several times in Winkler samples of sifted leaf litter from the forest floor. I have twice observed nests. One was at La Selva Biological Station. I found a nest with a small fungus garden under an old board in the leaflitter, under closed-canopy forest. The colony was polygynous, with two dealate queens. A second nest was at the 300m site on the Volcan Barva transect. A treefern rootball formed a mass of pebbly clay soil and mesh of roots protruding from a clay bank. A small turret of soil protruded about 1cm from the surface. About 2cm back in among the roots was a small fungus garden, about 1.5cm dia. I collected as much of the nest as I could, but only succeeded in collecting 10 workers, with no brood or sexuals.
Schultz et al. (2002) describe the nest of C. muelleri, a very similar species from Panama. Cyphomyrmex muelleri forms very distinctive nests in clay banks. The workers construct an auriculate superstructure that encircles the nest entrance.
The completely rounded mesosoma and the complete lack of tubercles make this one of the strangest Cyphomyrmex species. Costa Rican workers differ somewhat from Panamanian workers of muelleri s.s., and they may be a separate species (Schultz, pers. com.).
Schultz, T. R., S. A. Solomon, U. G. Mueller, P. Villesen, J. J. Boomsma, R. M. M. Adams, and B. Norden. 2002. Cryptic speciation in the fungus-growing ants Cyphomyrmex longiscapus Weber and Cyphomyrmex muelleri Schultz and Solomon, new species (Formicidae, Attini). Insectes Sociaux 49:331-343.
John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.email@example.com
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