Advertisement

Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 335–344 | Cite as

Thaumatomyrmex strips millipedes for prey: a novel predatory behaviour in ants, and the first case of sympatry in the genus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • C. R. F. Brandão
  • J. L. M. Diniz
  • E. M. Tomotake
Research Articles

Summary

We describe, for the first time, the predatory behaviour ofThaumatomyrmex ants on millipedes of the family Polyxenidae, based on field observations ofT. atrox and a field and laboratory study ofT. contumax. The capture of the prey and the removal process of its body-covering setae by the ants before they eat the millipede are described. This specialized behaviour in at least two species of the genus, belonging to two distinct groups of species, indicates a general trend inThaumatomyrmex. We coupled this study with a comparative morphological analysis of the mouthparts and digestive tube of these and otherThaumatomyrmex species. Also, we report the first case of sympatry in the genus, which suggests thatThaumatomyrmex includes several species, and not only one highly variable taxon, as hypothetized earlier.

Key words

Thaumatomyrmex taxonomy comparative morphology predation Polyxenidae 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Diniz, J. L. M. and C. R. F. Brandão, 1989. Feeding behavior ofThaumatomyrmex.Notes from Underground 2:13.Google Scholar
  2. Gotwald Jr., W. H., 1969. Comparative morphological studies of the ants, with particular reference to the mouthparts (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).Mem. Cornell Univ. agric. Exp. Stn. 408:1–150.Google Scholar
  3. Hölldobler, B. and E. O. Wilson, 1990.The Ants. Belknap Press of the Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, 732 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Kempf, W. W., 1975. A revision of the neotropical ponerine ant genusThaumatomyrmex Mayr (Hym. Formicidae).Studia ent. 75:95–126.Google Scholar
  5. Longino, J. T., 1988. Notes on the taxonomy of the Neotropical Ant GenusThaumatomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In:Advances in Myrmecology (J. C. Trager, ed.), E. J. Brill and W. S. Heinman Co., Inc., NY, p. 35–42.Google Scholar
  6. Monro, A., M. Chadha, J. Meinwald, and T. Eisner, 1962. Defense mechanisms of Arthropods. VI. Para-benzoquinones in the secretion of five species of millipedes.Ann. ent. Soc. Am. 55:261–262.Google Scholar
  7. Tomotake, M. E. M., 1991.Morfologia comparada do Trato digestive de Formigas de quatro Tribosda Subfamilia Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). MsC Dissertation, IB-UNESP, Rio Claro, Brazil, 112 p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. R. F. Brandão
    • 1
  • J. L. M. Diniz
    • 1
  • E. M. Tomotake
    • 2
  1. 1.Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São PauloSão Paulo, SPBrazil
  2. 2.Dept. Biologia, IBUniversidade Estadual Paulista “Julio de Mesquita Filho”Rio Claro, SPBrazil

Personalised recommendations