Dacetini, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
Costa Rica. Known only from Monteverde cloud forest.
Mandible short and curving downward in profile; lateral head capsule with the antennal scrobe mostly or entirely smooth and shining; propodeal spines present (former Glamyromyrmex); leading edge of scape with short flexuous setae directed anteriorly or apically, not toward base of scape; disc of postpetiole in dorsal view very broadly U-shaped or V-shaped, with an extremely deeply concave anterior face; spongiform tissue absent from ventral surface of petiole, postpetiole and first gastral sternite; face with flexuous setae; face largely smooth and shining, with coarse rugose sculpture restricted to margin near frontal carinae; setae on face short and suberect to subdecumbent. Also see Bolton (2000:172).
Similar species: excisa.
Members of the genus are all predaceous, with a static pressure mode of attack (Bolton 1999).
This species is known only from the types, a series of workers I collected in the Monteverde cloud forest. They came from two different Winkler samples of sifted litter from the ridge crest forest above Monteverde. The habitat is cloud forest, with dense epiphyte loads on the trees and deep accumulations of sodden organic matter on the ground. The ridge crest is often covered with wind-driven fog and mist, resulting in a habitat that is small in extent and contrasts sharply with surrounding habitats. I have taken many Winkler samples in surrounding areas. The fact that dontopagis was found in two samples from ridge crest forest and not in any samples from surrounding areas suggests that it is a narrow habitat specialist.
This small patch of cloud forest was also home to an endemic toad (the golden toad, Bufo pereglenes). Climate change apparently caused its extinction in the early 1980's. Thus it is a valid question to ask whether less conspicuous elements of the fauna, such as P. dontopagis, have also gone extinct.
Pyramica dontopagis Bolton 2000:172, fig. 127, 173. Holotype worker: Costa Rica, Prov. Puntarenas, Monteverde, 1500m, 10 degrees 18'N, 84 degrees 48'W, 14.xii.1987, #1979-s (J. Longino) [INBIO]. Paratype workers: some with same data as holotype, others same date except 8.iv.1988, #1994-s [INBIO, BMNH, MCZ, LACM, USNM, UCD, JTLC].
Bolton, B. 1999. Ant genera of the tribe Dacetonini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Natural History 33:1639-1689.
Bolton, B. 2000. The ant tribe Dacetini, with a revision of the Strumigenys species of the Malagasy Region by Brian L. Fisher, and a revision of the Austral epopostrumiform genera by Steven O. Shattuck. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 65:1-1028.
John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.firstname.lastname@example.org
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