Archive for April, 2013

Dilobocondyla bangalorica, Cubbon Park, Bangalore

Dilobocondyla bangalorica, Cubbon Park, Bangalore

Check out some new pictures of the arboreal ant Dilobocondyla bangalorica, an ant named after the city I come from.

Wikipedia has a very accurate description of this ant.

Dilobocondyla bangalorica is a species of ant in the subfamily Myrmicinae. This arboreal ant nests in dead wood and crevices in tree barks. The species name is after the type locality, Bangalore, where the ant was discovered in 2006.

Researchers Sunil Kumar M. and Srihari K. T. collected the 4-millimetre (0.16 in) ant in the campus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in 1997. Though they identified the genus of the ant, it was Thresiamma Varghese, a scientist at the IISc, whose studies led to the ant being described as a new species in 2006.

The ants build their nest in the Frangipani plant species Plumeria alba and Plumeria rubra. While they live in colonies like other ants, they forage individually on tree trunks. The spines on the head and thorax are blunt, thus differentiating this species from others. When foraging, these ants raise their gaster high up in the air, very similar to the acrobat ants, Crematogaster. The species differs from other known species in the smaller size of worker and queen ants, the sculpted thorax and pedicel, colouration, six well defined mandibular teeth, and the lesser number of rugosities between the frontal carinae.

The holotype is deposited in the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc.

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Cerapachys singularis.  Scotia Sanctuary, NSW

A worker of Cerapachys singularis about to head out of her nest entrance. Scotia Sanctuary, NSW.

Mention army ants, and one immediately thinks of the legendary Eciton or Labidus roaming around the forest floors in the New World. Army ants are found even in the Old World, and one of the most common ones are Cerapachys. These ants hunt either individually or in small groups in loose columns. They are thought to be specialist predators of other ants.

In the context of visual system, Cerapachys ants present an interesting case. While some species have compound eyes and three simple eyes called ocelli, others are completely blind. Why is that so and how does it reflect on their individual foraging capacities?

Cerapachys singularis. Scotia Sanctuary, NSW

A worker of Cerapachys singularis carries a pupae while moving nests. Scotia Sanctuary, NSW

Cerapachys edentatus. Canberra, ACT

Workers of the blind ant, Cerapachys edentatus. Canberra, ACT. What are the ants doing?

More pictures here.

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