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Overview of the genus Megalomyrmex

This is a distinctive group of uncommon myrmicines that occur throughout the lowland neotropics. Some species have large colonies with nests in the soil (e.g., modestus, foreli). Others are known mainly as rare occurrences in Berlese or Winkler samples (e.g., drifti). Others appear to be specialized commensals, parasites, or predators of small attines (e.g., symmetochus, mondabora, wettereri; reviewed in Adams et al. 2000).

Brandao (1990, 2003) is the taxonomic expert of the group.

Jones and colleages have investigated the venom chemistry of several species of Megalomyrmex (Jones et al. 1991a, 1991b, 1999). From a chemical point of view, Megalomyrmex venoms are particularly strange and particularly toxic.

Literature Cited

Adams, R. M. M., U. G. Mueller, T. R. Schultz, and B. Norden. 2000. Agro-predation: usurpation of attine fungus gardens by Megalomyrmex ants. Naturwissenschaften 87:549-554.

Brandao, C. R. F. 1990. Systematic revision of the Neotropical ant genus Megalomyrmex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae), with the description of thirteen new species. Arquivos de Zoologia (Sao Paulo) 31:411-481.

Brandčo, C. R. F. 2003. Further revisionary studies on the ant genus Megalomyrmex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Solenopsidini. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 43:145-159.

Jones, T. H., M. S. Blum, H. M. Fales, C. R. F. Brandčo, and J. E. Lattke. 1991a. Chemistry of venom alkaloids in the ant genus Megalomyrmex. Journal of Chemical Ecology 17:1897-1908.

Jones, T. H., P. J. DeVries, and P. Escoubas. 1991b. Chemistry of venom alkaloids in the ant Megalomyrmex foreli (Myrmicinae) from Costa Rica. Journal of Chemical Ecology 17:2507-2518.

Jones, T. H., T. J. Wojciechowski, R. R. Snelling, J. A. Torres, P. Chacon, and P. J. DeVries. 1999. Dialkylpyrrolidines from the ants Megalomyrmex cyendyra Brandao and M. latreillei Emery. Caribb. J. Sci. 35:310-311.

Page author: John T. Longino longinoj@evergreen.edu

Date of this version: 2 April 2004.
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