Dacetini, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
Additional Images: line drawing contrasting presence of spongiform appendages between gundlachi and eggersi (image).
Full Range: southern Mexico south to Peru and across to Venezuela, on many Caribbean islands, and in Florida; absent from Amazonian lowlands.
Costa Rican Range: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands, Cordillera de Tilaran, Cordillera de Guanacaste.
Mandibles in full-face view linear, elongate and narrow; leading edge of scape with freely projecting hairs; inner margin of mandible without a tooth or distinctly enlarged denticle at or near the midlength; labral lobes short, trigger hairs at apices of lobes long; mandibles straight, with weakly convex inner borders, each bearing 4-9 minute denticles on distal 1/2; spongiform appendages present on ventral surface of petiole and postpetiole (in constrast to eggersi); first gastral tergum smooth and shining (in constrast to eggersi). Also see Bolton (2000:186).
Head length 0.42-0.52mm, mandible length 0.25-0.35, CI 77-85, MI 59-67 (n=25 workers, Bolton 2000).
Similar species: eggersi, subedentata, trieces.
Members of the genus are all predaceous, with a static pressure mode of attack (Bolton 1999).
Brown (1960) reported
E. O. Wilson (unpubl. notes) kept a colony of gundlachi for over a month in Cuba, during which time it captured and consumed entomobryoid and sminthurid collembolans, but ignored poduroids, a small cricket nymph, various mites and minute millipeds. Hunting is usually of the relatively immobile ambush type, which is to say that the ants approach the prey and, when close enough to detect its position, freeze with mandibles held open toward it... However, sometimes workers approach the prey and strike quickly and directly, without waiting. If prey is struck and continues to struggle, it is lifted off the ground and stung...
McCluskey and I found this species in nearly every berlesate of upper soil and leaf litter that we examined on Barro Colorado Island; it is evidently there the most common dacetine species and one of the more frequent ant species of the forest floor. Wilson found gundlachi to be somewhat less abundant in Veracruz. Although it is abundant in tropical rain forest, it also lives in second-growth forest, thickets, and cacao plantations.
In Costa Rica gundlachi is very common in moist to wet lowland forest. It also occurs in the very wet mid-elevation forest of the Atlantic slope of the Tilaran and Guanacaste Cordilleras, but has not been observed in similar habitats in the Cordillera Central (in spite of many Winkler samples from mid-elevation sites in Braulio Carrillo National Park). It occurs in the moist evergreen forest band on the Pacific slopes of the Tilaran and Guanacaste Cordilleras, but does not occur in nearby cloud forest.
Winkler samples from La Selva, Braulio Carrillo National Park at 300m, Rara Avis, Hitoy Cerere, Penas Blancas Valley, Guanacaste Conservation Area (Pitilla, Cacao), road to Monteverde at 900m (islolated patch of evergreen forest in ravine), Carara, Manuel Antonio National Park, Osa Peninsula (Rancho Quemado), Corcovado National Park (Sirena), 19km S Ciudad Neily.
Pyramica gundlachi Roger 1862:253, pl 1, fig. 18. Lectotype worker (by designation of Brown 1960:40): Cuba (Gundlach) [NMV].
Later moved to Strumigenys, then back to Pyramica. See Bolton (2000) for complete synonymy.
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.
Brown, W. L., Jr. 1960 (1959). The neotropical species of the ant genus Strumigenys Fr. Smith: Group of gundlachi (Roger). Psyche 66:37-52.
Roger, J. 1862. Einige neue exotische Ameisen-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 6:233-254.
John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.firstname.lastname@example.org
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