Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 145–153 | Cite as

Myrmeconema neotropicum n. g., n. sp., a new tetradonematid nematode parasitising South American populations of Cephalotes atratus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with the discovery of an apparent parasite-induced host morph

  • George PoinarJrEmail author
  • Stephen P. Yanoviak


A new genus and species of tetradonematid nematode, Myrmeconema neotropicum n. g., n. sp., is described from larval, pupal and adult stages of Cephalotes atratus L. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Peru and Panama. Diagnostic characters of the new genus include: males and females subequal in size; cuticle with minute annulations; six cephalic papillae; stylet present in all stages; stichocytes absent; trophosome degenerate; three penetration glands; gonads paired and opposite; vulva in mid-body region; single spicule; genital papillae absent; adult tails rounded; infective juveniles moult once in egg; and adults of both sexes remain in the host throughout their development. As the female nematodes mature inside the worker ants, the host gasters change colour from black to red.


Infective Stage Infective Juvenile Barro Colorado Island Cephalic Papilla Genital Papilla 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Cesare Baroni Urbani for supplying information concerning the red gasters of C. atratus and Roberta Poinar for comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. We are grateful to the Panamanian Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM) and the Peruvian Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA) for providing collecting permits, the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies, Explorama Lodges and numerous private individuals for allowing access to field sites in Peru, and to Frank Azorsa, Robert Dudley, Michael Kaspari and Shauna Price for assistance in the field. This research was funded in part by the National Geographic Society, the Amazon Conservation Association and the BBC Natural History Unit.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Medical Entomology LaboratoryUniversity of FloridaVero BeachUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of Arkansas at Little RockLittle RockUSA

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