Thursday, 30 July 2009

Competition time

My first ever competition, and it's a tricky one!

Can anyone correctly identify the ant in the photograph? I'll start the competition with no clues and we'll see how it goes. (I'll probably find out if anyone's still reading this blog after my months of absence.)

I'll send a hard copy of my next paper (which will probably be about this ant) to the first person to correctly identify it to species level. Plus you'll get the respect of your peers.

Those with whom I've already spoken about this are excluded from the competition - they'll just have to ask me nicely for the paper.

18 comments:

MrILoveTheAnts said...

Well I think it's a Tetramorium.

Mike F said...

Hi Mike

On looking at your pictures I first noticed the dark colour and pale legs and this put me in mind of Myrmecina graminicola. I quickly eliminated that because the petiole and mandibles are wrong. I disagree with MrILoveTheAnts and reject Tetramorium because it does not appear to have the lateral portion of the clypeus raised into a ridge in front of the antennal insertions. What I can see is that it is a de-alate female myrmicine ant with unusual processes to the petiole and postpetiole. It seems to have 12-segmented antenna. I am pretty sure it is not a British species and regret that I am not able to offer a genus let alone species at this time. I await your first clue.

All the best
Mike Fox

JB said...

It looks very much like a Myrmica karavajevi, but I would have expected it to be more hairy?

Jörn / Denmark

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

Myrmica karavajevi was my first guess to but, after consulting Radchenko and Elmes 2003, I'm more inclined to choose M. myrmoxena or M. lemasnei, but looking at the sculpture, I'm thinking of M. myrmoxena!

Sifolinia said...

We have a winner! That was much quicker than I expected.

Yes, it is Myrmica myrmecoxena, which hasn't been found since 1869. It made the trip to Switzerland worthwhile.

Well done Marc! (You'll have to wait for the paper, but I'll be in touch when it's published.)

JB said...

Wow! I should have made the connection between your trip to Switzerland instead of trying to make to specimen fit to to species I know ;-)

Congratulations to the winner on the identification - but even more to to finder of the myrmecoxena, I thought this one would never be found again! This is really spectacular!

All the best
Jörn

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

Yes, a very nice find indeed. Radchenko and Elmes could only find specimens from 1869 and 1900 (all in the same collection!). So, after 109 years finally a new find of it! Marvaleous! Keep up the good work! And congratulations for the fantastic find!

Yours,
Teleutotje

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

Oh yes, I had the regio in mind but I found it by 1) Seifert's book gave me the genus and that it was a parasitic species and 2) R. & E. gave me the species (I did know that their review of the parasitic Myrmica's was the last for the palearctic regio!).

Sifolinia said...

Marc: I've just checked R&E again. They state that M. myrmecoxena has been found only the one time (at 1900 metres), so it's a round 140 years (minus about one month) between that find and this.

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

Yes, indeed, my mistake. Should look for new glasses. Not that I need them but for my mislooking. It is indeed at 1900 meters and only found in 1869. 140 years ago!!!
Again, good discovery!!!

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

It is an ant a lot of people looked at to find, even the biggest myrmecologists of the past (and some of these days wright now.). Where did you find it???

Sifolinia said...

It was found in Fiescheralp, Switzerland. I was hoping to find Teleutomyrmex in Switzerland but found this instead.

Marc: you mention myrmecologists who have looked for M. myrmecoxena in the past. Do you have any references for these searches?

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

I wonder why, in my guess, the name is spelled M. myrmoxena twice while I had R. & E. with me and I thought I typed M. myrmicoxena? Must be I need some new glasses after all ... About those myrmecologists: I have to dig in my huge archive for references but M. myrmicoxena and M. myrmecophila have always attracted the attention of myrmecologists. Examples are Bolton (a little bit), Forel himself, Kutter, Radchenko, Seifert, Stitz, ... They thought always that myrmecophila was a mermithid-infested worker ant (like it is ofcourse!) and that myrmicoxena was maybe an abnormal individu of the host species. They all wanted to see more material and now it is found. For exact references, oh, problems, I need to get all my literature ordered but now ... HELP! The best two to start with are Stitz and Kutter's books. And Kutter's article on Myrmica and it's satelite genera...

Sifolinia said...

Thanks Marc, I'll look into those names you mentioned.

You're evidently not the only one who needs glasses, since I keep incorrectly writing its name as 'myrmecoxena'.

Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen said...

Another thing that I don't understand is the next thing: You posted this question on july, 30th but on the 31th (one day later!) you posted "Swiss ant list" including this nice animal. I went for safe and determined it like stated before but it should have catched the eyes of anybody (like it did for me!)..... So, for a lot of people, ant lists aren't very interesting ..... Shame, sometimes an ant list has some nice values as "added" info.

P.s. Another name you can look for is Van Boven. He described M. faniensis (now a synonym of M. karavajevi.) but he made also some remarks on other parasitic Myrmica species.

JB said...

The lists ARE interesting! I am quite positive that it was NOT added to the list until after your determination. I read the list and I would be embarrassed to have overlooked a species like this...

Sifolinia said...

Thanks for the additional name Marc.

For the record, I waited until you had guessed correctly before I put it on the list. Being able to alter posts after they're published - and edit out my mistakes - is a godsend!

Sifolinia said...

Okay, now I feel a little deflated. Berhard Seifert recently sent me this:

'Florian Glaser/Innsbruck found this species in 1 August 2006 - the first time after 137 years!'

Pipped to the post by three years!