Friday, April 20, 2018

[Entomology • 2018] Colobopsis explodens sp. n., Model Species for Studies On “Exploding Ants” (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), with Biological Notes and First Illustrations of Males of the Colobopsis cylindrica group

 Colobopsis explodens  Laciny & Zettel, 2018

in Laciny, Zettel, Kopchinskiy, Pretzer, Pal, et al., 2018. 
photos: Alexey Kopchinskiy

A taxonomic description of all castes of Colobopsis explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n. from Borneo, Thailand, and Malaysia is provided, which serves as a model species for biological studies on “exploding ants” in Southeast Asia. The new species is a member of the Colobopsis cylindrica (COCY) group and falls into a species complex that has been repeatedly summarized under the name Colobopsis saundersi (Emery, 1889) (formerly Camponotus saundersi). The COCY species group is known under its vernacular name “exploding ants” for a unique behaviour: during territorial combat, workers of some species sacrifice themselves by rupturing their gaster and releasing sticky and irritant contents of their hypertrophied mandibular gland reservoirs to kill or repel rivals. This study includes first illustrations and morphometric characterizations of males of the COCY group: Colobopsis explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n. and Colobopsis badia (Smith, 1857). Characters of male genitalia and external morphology are compared with other selected taxa of Camponotini. Preliminary notes on the biology of C. explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n. are provided. To fix the species identity of the closely related C. badia, a lectotype from Singapore is designated. The following taxonomic changes within the C. saundersi complex are proposed: Colobopsis solenobia (Menozzi, 1926), syn. n. and Colobopsis trieterica (Menozzi, 1926), syn. n. are synonymized with Colobopsis corallina Roger, 1863, a common endemic species of the Philippines. Colobopsis saginata Stitz, 1925, stat. n., hitherto a subspecies of C. badia, is raised to species level.

Keywords: autothysis, behavioural ecology, Camponotini, Colobopsis, Formicidae, integrative taxonomy, male morphology, molecular biology, morphometry, new species, new status, new synonymy, phylogeny, Southeast Asia, taxonomy

 Minor worker of Colobopsis explodens with posterior body raised in a defensive pose.
photo: Alexey Kopchinskiy  

Exploding behavior of Colobopsis explodens in experimental setting with a weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina.
photo: Alexey Kopchinskiy 

Major worker of Colobopsis explodens with characteristically enlarged head.
photo: Heinz Wiesbauer

Colobopsis explodens Laciny & Zettel, sp. n.

Camponotus (Colobopsis) sp. Yellow Goo: Davidson et al. 2007: 470.
Camponotus (Colobopsis) sp. YG: Cook 2008. Davidson et al. 2012: 488.
Colobopsis sp. YG: Davidson et al. 2016: 518. Laciny et al. 2017: 95.

Etymology: Present participle of Latin explodere, referring to the “exploding”-like autothysis behaviour.


 Alice Laciny, Herbert Zettel, Alexey Kopchinskiy, Carina Pretzer, Anna Pal, Kamariah Abu Salim, Mohammad Javad Rahimi, Michaela Hoenigsberger, Linda Lim, Weeyawat Jaitrong and Irina S. Druzhinina. 2018. Colobopsis explodens sp. n., Model Species for Studies On “Exploding Ants” (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), with Biological Notes and First Illustrations of Males of the Colobopsis cylindrica group.  ZooKeys. 751: 1-40.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.751.22661

New ant species from Borneo explodes to defend its colony via @Pensoft @EurekAlert @physorg_com
'Exploding Ant' Rips Itself Apart To Protect Its Own via @NatGeo