Review of the ant genus Technomyrmex Mayr, 1872 in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)
Review of the ant genus Technomyrmex Mayr, 1872 in the Arabian Peninsula (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)
Mostafa R. Sharaf 0
Hathal M. Al Dhafer 0
Abdulrahman S. Aldawood 0
0 Plant Protection Department, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University , Riyadh 11451, PO Box 2460, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The taxonomy of the dolichoderine ants of the genus Technomyrmex Mayr, 1872 is revised for the Arabian Peninsula. Six species are treated, T. albipes (F. Smith, 1861), T. difficilis Forel, 1892, T. briani Sharaf, 2009, T. vexatus (Santschi, 1919), T. montaseri Sharaf, Collingwood & Aldawood, 2011, and T. setosus Collingwood, 1985. The successful tramp species T. difficilis Forel, 1892 is recorded for the first time from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Yemen, representing new records for the Palearctic Region. Technomyrmex vexatus (Santschi, 1919) is a new species record for Yemen. The queen caste of the rare endemic species, T. briani Sharaf, 2009 is described for the first time. A neotype for KSA endemic T. setosus Collingwood 1985 is designated based on a specimen collected from the type locality, the Asir Mountains, KSA, including new information on habitats and distribution. A male cast of Technomyrmex, possibly of T. setosus, is also described. An illustrated key based on the worker caste of the Arabian species of Technomyrmex is given. New geographical records and a distribution map for the treated species are presented.
eol>Afrotropical Region; Arabian Peninsula; Asir Mountains; Dolichoderinae; male; Middle East; Neotype; new record; Palearctic Region
Copyright Mostafa R. Sharaf et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC
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The ant genus Technomyrmex
is a member of the subfamily
Dolichoderinae, with 94 valid species and four fossil species worldwide
Technomyrmex species are distributed throughout Old World tropical and subtropical zones
, the Oriental-Malesian
, and Neotropical
regions. Most species are arboreal or subarboreal
, but some species nest directly in the ground
Bolton 2007, Sharaf 2009, Fisher and Bolton 2016)
. The feeding habits of most species
include honeydew produced by a wide range of hemipterans, whereas other species are
considered generalized foragers
(Brown 2000, Bolton 2007)
provided a world revision of the genus in which 90 species were
recognized including 37 new species described. Subsequently, a synopsis of the New
World species was made available by
Fernández and Guerrero (2008)
including a key
to six species. The males of the Malagasy Technomyrmex were diagnosed by
and Fisher (2011)
. Recently, the Taiwanese species were revised, recognizing five
species including a description of a new species
(Yamane et al. 2018)
Technomyrmex is one of the incompletely studied ant genera of the Arabian
Peninsula. The first treatment of the ants of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
reported two species, T. albipes
(F. Smith, 1861)
from the Eastern Region, and
T. setosus Collingwood, 1985 from the southwestern Asir Mountains. In addition, this
author mentioned two additional putative species designated as sp. A. and sp. B., and
indicating that these taxa may represent undescribed species. In their work on the ant fauna
of the Arabian Peninsula,
Collingwood and Agosti (1996)
briefly treated and keyed the
Arabian Technomyrmex species and recorded T. albipes and T. setosus from Yemen.
Subsequently, two new species were added to the Arabian Peninsula, T. briani Sharaf, 2009 and
T. montaseri Sharaf, Collingwood & Aldawood, 2011 from the KSA and Oman,
(Sharaf 2009, Sharaf et al. 2011)
. A key to the Arabian species was included in in
the latter work. The faunal list of Al Bahah Province (El-Hawagry et al. 2013) recorded
T. briani and T. setosus from various localities in the Al Sarawat Mountains of KSA.
Recent collecting efforts, especially in the southwestern Mountains of KSA by
the senior author and the entomology team of King Saud University Museum of
Arthropods (KSMA) have resulted in new material for study. Also, several years of field
surveys (2009-2017) throughout KSA using different collecting methods (e.g. hand
collecting, pitfall traps, beating sheets, light traps, etc.), have added material for study,
and importantly new information on the distribution of this genus. The study of this
new material has allowed us to provide this updated synopsis of the genus for the
Arabian Peninsula, providing identification, distribution, and habitat information.
Materials and methods
Measurements and indices follow Bolton (2007).
Total Length: The total outstretched length of the ant from the mandibular
apex to the gastral apex.
Eye Length: The maximum diameter of eyes in profile.
Head Length: The length of the head capsule excluding the mandibles;
measured in full-face view in a straight line from the mid-point of the anterior
clypeal margin to the mid-point of the posterior margin.
Head Width: The maximum width of the head behind the eyes, measured in
Scape Length: The maximum straight-line length of the scape, excluding the
basal constriction or neck that occurs just distal of the condylar bulb.
Pronotal Width: The maximum width of the pronotum in dorsal view.
Weber’s length of mesosoma: The diagonal length of the mesosoma in profile,
from the most anterior point of the pronotum to the posterior basal angle of
All measurements are expressed in millimetres.
Indices CI DTI EPI
Cephalic Index: HW divided by HL × 100.
Dorsal Thoracic Index: In dorsal view the length from the mid-point of the anterior
pronotal margin to the midpoint of the metanotal groove, divided by PW × 100.
Eye Position Index: In full-face view the straight-line length (parallel to the
long axis of the head) from the most anterior point of the eye to the anterior
clypeal margin, divided by the straight-line length from the most posterior
point of the eye to the posterior margin × 100.
Ocular Index: Maximum diameter of eye divided by HW × 100.
Scape Index: SL divided by HW × 100.
Throughout the text, ‘w’ stands for ‘worker’ or ‘workers’, ‘q’ for ‘queen’, and ‘m’
Abbreviations of museums
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain. World Museum Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Abbreviations of collecting technique BS LT MT
Beating sheet. Light trap. Malaise trap. Pitfall trap.
During more than 20 field trips to the southwestern mountains of KSA, more than
500 specimens were collected using hand picking, pitfall traps, beating sheets, and
sifting trays. Beating sheets and sifting trays are efficient methods for collecting this genus
of arboreal and ground dwelling ants. All specimens were preserved in 95% ethanol in
the field. Ants were later removed and mounted.
Diagnosis of the genus Technomyrmex
Workers of the genus Technomyrmex are distinguished by the following characters
: Masticatory margin of mandibles armed with 12–14 teeth; palp formula
6, 4; anterior clypeal margin transverse or strongly incised; eyes present; ocelli absent;
antennae 12-segmented without a terminal club; metanotal groove well-developed;
propodeum unarmed; propodeal dorsum and declivity junction rounded or distinctly
angled in profile; petiole reduced, completely concealed by the first gastral tergite when
seen from dorsal view; gaster with five tergites visible in dorsal view.
Synoptic species list of the Arabian Technomyrmex
(F. Smith, 1861)
= Technomyrmex nigrum
= Technomyrmex albitarse
= Technomyrmex albipes var. bruneipes
= Technomyrmex albipes r. wedda
Technomyrmex briani Sharaf, 2009
Technomyrmex dificilis Forel, 1892
= Technomyrmex mayri nitidulans Santschi, 1930
Technomyrmex montaseri Sharaf, Collingwood & Aldawood, 2011
Technomyrmex setosus Collingwood, 1985
Key to the Arabian Technomyrmex Mayr
(modified after Bolton 2007, Sharaf et
Head in profile with the dorsal surface of the frontal carina entirely without
setae (Fig. 1a); mesosoma without setae (Fig. 1b)........ T. gibbosus-group...2
Head in profile with the dorsal surface of the frontal carina with setae present
(Fig. 1c); at least one seta present, or more usually with a row of 2–4;
mesosoma with setae (Fig. 1d) ................................................. albipes-group...3
Larger relatively shining brown species (TL 3.0–3.4, HL 0.72–0.78, HW
0.68–0.76, PW 0.44–0.48, WL 0.90–0.96); dorsal outline of mesonotum
distinctly convex in profile, with a descending face sloping abruptly back to
a deep metanotal groove (Fig. 1e); propodeal dorsum approx. half length of
propodeal declivity (Fig. 1e) (Spain, Morocco, and Yemen) ........................
....................................................................................T. vexatus Santschi
Smaller dull yellow species (TL 2.2–2.9, HL 0.60–0.62, HW 0.57–0.60,
PW 0.37–0.38, WL 0.65–0.80); dorsal outline of mesonotum feebly convex
in profile, with a descending face sloping evenly back to a shallow metanotal
groove (Fig. 1f ); propodeal dorsum approximately one-third length of
propodeal declivity (Fig. 1f ) (Oman) ............................ T. montaseri Sharaf et al.
First gastral tergite usually without setae or rarely with one pair (Fig. 2a)
(Saudi Arabia)..................................................................... T. briani Sharaf
First gastral tergite usually with at least seven pairs of setae (Fig. 2b)........... 4
Bicolored species, head and gaster brown, mesosoma yellow-brown lighter
than head and gaster; setae on first gastral tergite longer with maximum
length 0.18 mm (KSA, Oman, Yemen)....................T. setosus Collingwood
Uniform black-brown to black species; setae on first gastral tergite distinctly
shorter with maximum length less than 0.10 mm ....................................... 5
Cephalic dorsum behind level of posterior margin of eyes without setae (Fig.
2c); eyes in full-face view fail to break sides of head (Fig. 2d); promesonotum
relatively short (DTI 110–124) (Introduced species) .....T. albipes (F. Smith)
Cephalic dorsum behind level of posterior margin of eyes with one or more
pairs of setae (Fig. 2e); eyes in full-face view break sides of head (Fig. 2f );
promesonotum relatively longer and slender (DTI 127–135) (Introduced
species) ............................................................................. T. diifcilis Forel
(F. Smith, 1861)
Figure 3A, B, C
Formica (Tapinoma) albipes Smith, 1861: 38 (w.) Syntype worker, Indonesia: Sulawesi,
Tond, (A.R. Wallace), CASENT0102952, Indomalaya, (OXUM), (image
: 98 (q.);
: 21 (ergatoid m.);
: 441 (m.);
Description. Worker. Measurements: TL: 2.40–2.90; HL: 0.56–0.63; HW: 0.52–
0.58; SL: 0.48–0.58; PW: 0.35–0.42; WL: 0.66–0.78. Indices: CI: 87–95; SI: 91–
102; OI: 24–27; EPI: 70–88; DTI: 110–124
(n = 50, from Bolton 2007)
Head. Anterior clypeal margin with a feeble, shallow median indentation; head
in full-face view with a small shallow indentation medially and strongly convex
sides; eyes of moderate size with approximately nine ommatidia in longest row (OI:
24–27), located in front of midlength, with outer margins just fail to break outlines
of head sides. Mesosoma. In profile the mesonotal outline evenly curved; propodeal
dorsum making a distinct obtuse angle with declivity in profile. Pilosity. Frontal
carina with two pairs of setae; pronotum with 1–3 pairs; mesonotum bare or with
one pair (usually none); propodeal dorsum bare; lateral margins of propodeal
declivity with one or two pairs, usually with one pair above spiracle, another pair higher
up; gastral tergites 1–4 each with abundant scattered long setae (length of setae
relatively less than eye diameter or even subequal) on sclerites. Sculpture. Body
sculpture finely and densely reticulate-punctate, general appearance dull. Colour.
Head, mesosoma, petiole and gaster black-brown to black; tarsi of mid- and hind
Material examined. KSA, Eastern Province, Hofuf, 25.3142°N, 49.6299°E,
28.v.1978, (W. Büttiker leg.) (1 m) (WMLC).
Previous records. KSA, Eastern Province, Al Qatif, 26.51028°N, 49.96889°E, 30
m, 14.iv.1984, (C. A. Collingwood leg.) (1 m);
(Collingwood & van Harten 2001)
Yemen: Al Kawd (misspelled AI Kowd), vii.1999, 13.088622°N, 45.364722°E, LT,
(Van Harten & Al Haruri leg.); Lahj, iv.1999, 17.1661000°N, 43.3336600°E, MT,
(Van Harten & Sallam leg.); Sana’a, 15.3694°N, 44.1910°E, 2250 m, 24.xi.1998,
(Van Harten leg.); Ta’iz, V.1998, 13.57952°N, 44.02091°E, LT (Van Harten & Awad
; Al Kadan, vi.2003, 15.248°N, 43.254°E, LT, (Van Harten
& T. Abdul Haq leg.)
(Collingwood & van Harten 2005)
Ecological and biological notes. Technomyrmex albipes nests and forages in and
beneath fallen wood and rocks, in tree trunks, in leaf litter, in twigs, on the forest floor,
on low vegetation, and into the canopy
. The species is known to feed on
honeydew of a broad range of sap sucking attended hemipterans including the
mealybug vectors of pineapple wilt disease
Geographic range. A successful introduced species that has spread worldwide
including the Australian, the Afrotropical, and the Malagasy regions
Technomyrmex briani Sharaf, 2009
Figure 4A, B, C
Technomyrmex briani Sharaf, 2009: 213, figs 1–3 (w.), Holotype worker, KSA: Wadi
Abha, 18.216389°N, 42.505278°E, 2261 m, 18.iii. 2004, (M. R. Sharaf ), 2
paratype workers, same data as the holotype, CASENT0906400, (KSMA),
CASENT0911583, (NHMB), (examined), Afrotropic.
Description. Worker. Measurements: TL: 2.62–3.0; HL: 0.62–0.72; HW: 0.60–0.67;
SL: 0.60–0.72; PW: 0.42–0.47; WL: 0.80–0.92; Indices: CI: 89–100; SI: 92–112; OI:
22–29; EPI: 73–117; DTI: 106–128
(n = 10, from Sharaf 2009)
Head. Head distinctly longer than broad with straight posterior margin and
clearly curved sides; anterior clypeal margin transverse or very feebly concave medially;
posterior margin of head transverse or slightly concave; eyes with 10 ommatidia in
the longest row (OI: 22–29) with outer margins just fail to break the outlines of the
sides in full-face view; scapes surpass posterior margin of head by approximately ¼
its length. Mesosoma. Promesonotal suture distinct; mesonotum in profile evenly
rounded descending abruptly to a well-developed metanotal groove; propodeal
dorsum short approximately ¼ × length of propodeal declivity. Pilosity. Number of
setal pairs; frontal carina with two pairs: in profile one pair above the torulus and
another pair at the level of the anterior portion of the eye; pronotum with one or two
pairs; mesonotum bare or with one or two pairs; sides of propodeal declivity bare or in
some individuals with one to three pairs; first, second, and third gastral tergites mostly
bare; entire body covered with appressed pale pubescence. Sculpture. Body finely
superficially granulate, general appearance relatively dull. Colour. Bicolored species,
head and gaster dark brown, mesosoma yellow-brown clearly lighter than head and
gaster; clypeus, mandibles, legs and antennae dirty yellow.
Worker similar to T. setosus but it can be separated by the following characters: eyes
located relatively posteriorly on head sides; mesosoma and gastral tergites 1–3 mostly
bare, rarely promesonotum with one pair of setae.
Queen. Measurements: TL: 3.67; HL: 0.80; HW: 0.75; SL: 0.75; PW: 0.62; WL:
1.12; Indices: CI: 94; SI: 100; OI: 29; EPI: 78; DTI: 121. (n = 1).
Head. In full-face view with feebly convex sides and nearly straight posterior
margin; anterior clypeal margin weak but distinct medially concave; eyes of medium size,
with approximately 12 ommatidia in longest row (OI: 29), located on midlength of
head, with outer margin of eye touching head sides; scapes when laid back from their
insertions surpass the posterior margin of head approximately by the length of first
funicular segment. Mesosoma. In profile propodeal dorsum and declivity forming a
continuous curve; propodeal spiracle located at midlength of declivity. Pilosity.
Anterior clypeal margin with a single pair of setae; frontal carina with two pairs of black
based setae: in profile the first above torulus, the second at about level of anterior
margin of eyes, another three setal pairs, behind posterior margin of eyes, in front of
small ocelli and on the posterior margin of head. Number of setal pairs on mesosoma:
Technomyrmex dificilis Forel, 1892
Figure 5A, B, C
Description. Worker. Measurements: TL: 2.40–3.10; HL: 0.57–0.76; HW: 0.52–
0.69; SL: 0.52–0.74; PW: 0.36–0.47; WL: 0.74–1.02; Indices: CI: 89–97; SI: 95–
107; OI: 25–30; EPI: 72–86; DTI: 127–135
(n = 35, from Bolton 2007)
Head. In full-face view with feebly convex sides and nearly straight posterior
margin; anterior clypeal margin weak but distinct medially concave; eyes located in front
of midlength of head, with outer margin of eye fail to break head sides. Mesosoma. In
profile promesonotal and mesonotal outlines forming a continuous curve that descends
steeply to a well-defined metanotal groove; propodeal dorsum and declivity meeting in
a continuous curve in profile. Pilosity. Frontal carina with two pairs of setae: in profile
the first above torulus, the second at about level of anterior margin of eyes. Number
of setal pairs on mesosoma: pronotum with one or two pairs; mesonotum bare or with
one pair; propodeal dorsum bare; lateral margins of propodeal declivity with one or
two pairs. Gastral tergites 1–4 each with many pairs of setae, scattered on tergites.
Sculpture. Body sculpture finely and densely reticulate-punctate, general appearance
dull. Colour. Head, mesosoma, petiole and gaster dark brown to black; coxae, femora
and tibiae of same colour as mesosoma or slightly lighter. Tarsi of middle and hind legs
yellow-white to yellow, lighter than tibiae.
Material examined. KSA, Riyadh Province: Riyadh, Almorouj, 24.75837°N,
46.66409°E, 07.x.2017, (M. R. Sharaf ) (1 w), KSMA.
Ecological and biological notes. The nesting habit of T. difficilis is diverse
. Nests are found in both urban and undisturbed native habitats and are
constructed directly into the ground, in trees holes, under palm fronds and old petiole
bases, in leaf-litter and under stones and debris. The feeding habits include plant
nectar, honeydew, dead insects, and other protein sources. The wide range of nesting sites
and feeding habits make T. difficilis one of the most successfully dispersed species of the
. The single specimen studied here was found hiding
inside the persistent stamen cluster of a pomegranate fruit imported from Yemen at “Al
Othaim Hypermarket”, Riyadh.
Geographic range. Technomyrmex difficilis is broadly distributed worldwide and
recorded from the Nearctic
, the Australian
(Shattuck 1999, Andersen
, the Malagasy, the Neotropical, and the Oriental (Bolton 2007) Regions. The
present record represents the first for the KSA, Yemen, and the Palearctic Region in general.
Technomyrmex montaseri Sharaf, Collingwood & Aldawood, 2011: 14, figs 1–3 (w.)
Holotype worker, Oman: Bani Sur, 24.659°N, 56.494°E 7.iii.1984, (W. Büttiker),
(WMLC) (examined), Palearctic.
Description. Worker. Measurements: TL: 2.80–2.90; HL: 0.60–0.62; HW: 0.57–
0.60; SL: 0.58–0.62; PW: 0.37–0.38; WL: 0.65–0.80; EL: 0.15; Indices: CI: 95–97;
SI: 97–109; OI: 25–26; EPI: 80–125; DTI: 122–126 (n = 2). Head. In full-face view
with feebly convex posterior margin and distinctly convex lateral sides; anterior clypeal
margin nearly straight; scapes when laid back from their insertions surpass posterior
margin of head by approximately length of first funicular segment; eyes of moderate
size with approximately ten ommatidia in longest row (OI: 25–26), located in front
of the midlength and their outer margins just failing to break outlines of head sides.
Mesosoma. In profile mesonotal dorsal outline with short, flat to feebly convex
anterior section, posterior section broadly and evenly curved and descending to a deep
metanotal groove; propodeum in profile with short convex dorsal surface that rounds
evenly into declivity which is nearly three times longer than dorsal face, the two
surfaces not separating by an angle. Pilosity. Body surface entirely without setae except
few long pairs on anterior clypeal margin. Sculpture. Body sculpture effaced
microreticulum, general appearance more or less dull. Colour. Uniformly yellow.
Ecological and biological notes. Nothing is known on ecology or biology of species.
Geographic range. This species is originally described from Oman
(Sharaf et al.,
and has not been recorded from any other country in the Arabian Peninsula. It
is likely endemic to the country.
Technomyrmex setosus Collingwood, 1985
Figure 7A, B, C
Remarks. Technomyrmex setosus was described from the holotype worker and two
paratype workers collected from Wadi Shuqub (incorrectly written by
as Shugub because of the pronunciation of “q” to “g” by native KSA citizens), Al Bahah
Province. The holotype and the two paratypes are not in NHMB and are considered lost.
Two workers from Shaqiq (KSA) and three from Jebel Balas (KSA) are deposited in the
WMLC and are T. setosus, but are not considered to be types. These specimens are from a
locality not indicated in the original publication
. A Neotype for the
species is herein designated to maintain the nomenclatural stability.
indicated that no type material of T. setosus could be located in NHMB or WMLC. He
mentioned the presence of the two workers from Shaqiq (examined above) labelled as
types, but with different locality data than the type material listed in the original
concept of T. setosus was based on these two specimens.
Ecological notes. Workers were collected from diverse habitats in the southwestern
mountains of the KSA: Wadi Turabah (Al Bahah Province). A nest series was found under
a rock next to an old Acacia (Fabaceae), where several workers were ascending the trunks
and the twigs of these native plants, a foraging behavior mentioned by
Several workers of Formicinae Lepisiota obtusa (Emery 1901) were found foraging in the
same area. This site is in a valley that has flowing drainages during the rainy season and
supports a remarkable diversity of native vegetation that flourishes after the rains.
In Shohba Forest (Al Bahah Province) this species was found foraging on a trunk
of Acacia sp. and next to a Juniperus procera Hochst. exEndl. tree (Cupressaceae). In
Wadi El Zaraeb (Al Bahah Province) workers of T. setosus were found under a rock near
a J. procera tree in an area of scattered trees of Olea europea L. subsp. africana (Mill.)
PS Green (Oleaceae) and Dodonae aviscosa Jacq. (Sapindaceae). In Beljorashi Forest (Al
Bahah Province), this species was observed under an Acacia tree. In Al Sawda
Mountains and in the Raydah Nature Preserve (Asir Province), workers of T. setosus were
foraging on the ground where the soil was dry and rich in decaying organic material.
Technomyrmex setosus was also collected from Wadi Al-Farah (Medina Province)
(Collingwood and Agosti 1996)
, a mountainous rocky region with steep hillsides. The
plant cover includes some Acacia trees, perennial bushes, and shrubs
. The species was collected from Wadi Shuqub
, a site
with dense Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Delile (Zygophyllaceae), perennial vegetation and
Acacia woods (
Geographic range. Technomyrmex setosus was originally described from KSA and
has been recorded from Oman and Yemen
(Collingwood and Agosti 1996)
apparently an endemic species of the Arabian Peninsula.
Figure 8A, B, C
Tapinoma vexatum Santschi 1919:220, Syntype male, Morocco: Tanger, 1897 (Vaucher),
CASENT0911580, (NHMB), (examined), Palearctic.
Description. Worker. Measurements: TL: 3.1–3.4; HL: 0.72–0.78; HW: 0.68–0.76;
SL: 0.64–0.70; PW: 0.44–0.48; WL: 0.90–0.96; Indices: CI: 94–99; SI: 90–94; OI:
22–25; EPI: 68–76; DTI: 118–130
(n=10, from Bolton 2007)
Head. Head with nearly straight posterior margin and convex sides; anterior
clypeal margin feebly concave; eyes of moderate size with 10 ommatidia in the longest
row (OI: 22–25), located just in front of the midlength of head, in full-face view
outer margins of eyes just fail to protrude beyond sides of head. Mesosoma.
Mesosonotum in profile with a flat anterior section that is slopping posteriorly and steeply
to a well-developed narrow metanotal groove; propodeal dorsum short making a
continuous curve with propodeal declivity. Pilosity. Head and mesosoma entirely lacking
setae, first, second, and third gastral tergites without setae, fourth tergite with two or
three pairs. Sculpture. Body finely and faintly microreticulate. Colour. Uniform dark
brown, tarsi and funiculi paler yellow-bown.
Material examined. Yemen, Sana’a, 15.3694°N, 44.1910°E, 2250 m, iii.1993,
(Van Harten) (2 w, WMLC); Morocco, Septa, 29.v.1986, (X. Espadaler), det. B.
Bolton, 2006, 1 w, CASENT0249804 (image examined).
Remarks. Technomyrmex vexatus was originally described from Morocco. This
species seems to exist as a series of isolated populations in rather restricted and
specialized habitats throughout North Africa and eastward into the Arabian Peninsula, and
perhaps Iran (B. Bolton, pers. comm.). Two species of the T. gibbosus-group are known
from the Arabian Peninsula, the above record of T. vexatus from Yemen and T.
montaseri from Oman. Technomyrmex vexatus was recorded for the first time from Palearctic
Guillem and Bensusan (2008)
Ecological and biological notes. Nothing is known on ecology or biology of this
Geographic range. Morocco
(Santschi 1919, Cagniant and Espadaler 1993)
Gibraltar (Guillem and Bensusan 2008). This species is newly recorded from Yemen and
the Arabian Peninsula.
Material of unknown male of Technomyrmex sa01
Figure 9A, B, C, D
Measurements. TL 3.25–3.75; HL 0.55–0.65; HW 0.50–0.67; SL 0.22–0.32; WL
1.25–1.40. Indices: SI 35–58; CI 81–112; EI 37–52 (n = 9).
Description. Head. Head distinctly broader than long; mandible triangular, basal
and masticatory margins with serrate denticles; apical tooth on masticatory margin longer
than subapical one; scapes when laid back from their insertions just reach posterior
margin of eyes; scape excluding its basal condyle shorter than length of funicular segments
1+2; first and second funicular segments cylindrical and straight; first funicular segment
approximately one-third length of second; second and third funicular segments
approximately twice as long as broad; third and fourth funicular segments straight; inner margin
of eye entire, flat; anterior clypeal margin broad, convex, without a central notch or
concavity of any type with five yellow setae, approximately as long as the maximum diameter
of the scape; median portion of clypeus with a raised area which has curved anterior and
posterior margins; anterior tentorial pit nearer antennal socket than mandibular insertion;
anterolateral hypostoma reduced to a thin sclerite; medial hypostoma entire; palp formula
6, 4; third maxillary palp segment subequal in length to segment 4; third and fourth
maxillary palp segments subequal; fifth approximately 2/3 × length of sixth. Mesosoma.
Axillae medially compressed, anterior and posterior margins not parallel; anterior axillar
suture concave; declivitous and dorsal faces of propodeum convex; dorsal face shorter than
the declivitous face; propodeal angle indistinct. Petiole. Petiolar node strongly inclined
anteriorly, its anterior margin much shorter than posterior margin in lateral view, not
much expanded laterally; attachment to gaster narrow. Genitalia. Pygostyles present;
apicoventral portion of basimere without projection. Pilosity. Whole body covered with pale
appressed pubescence; mandibles with long yellow hairs. Sculpture. Body more or less
shining with fine superficial microreticulation. Colour. Dull dark brown or black-brown.
Material examined. KSA, Asir Province: Abha, Raydah Protectorate, 18.201583°N,
42.408933°E, 2600 m, 20.x.2014, (Al Dhafer et al.) (1 m); Saudi Arabia, Abha, Raydah
Protectorate, 18.198067°N, 42.40725°E, 2600 m, 20.x.2014, (Al Dhafer et al.) (2 m);
Saudi Arabia, Abha, Raydah Protectorate, 18.193633°N, 42.390333°E, 2600 m, 20.x.2014,
(Al Dhafer et al.) (3 m); Abha, Raydah Protectorate, 18.198067°N, 42.40725°E, 2387
m, 20.x.2014, (Al Dhafer et al.) (1 m); Abha, Raydah Protectorate, 18.198067°N,
42.40725°E, 2387 m, 26.iv.2014, (Al Dhafer et al.) (1 m, CASENT0746638, CASC). Al
Baha Province: Al Baha, Shada Al Ala, 19.8627°N, 41.301483°E, 1225 m, 3.vi.2014, (Al
Dhafer et al.) (1 m); Saudi Arabia, Al Baha, Shada Al Ala, 19.842917°N, 41.311517°E,
1666 m, 3.vi.2014, (Al Dhafer et al.) (1 m); Saudi Arabia, Al Baha, Shada Al Ala,
19.842917°N, 41.311517°E, 1666 m, 27. i.2015, (Al Dhafer et al.) (1 m); all previous
material was collected by e light trap and is deposited in KSMA.
Remarks. Although there is no direct association between the male specimens
studied here and the worker castes of T. setosus, it is highly likely that these male
specimens are T. setosus. This supposition is supported by the relatively broad distribution
of T. setosus in the southwestern mountains of the Arabian Peninsula and also with the
scarcity and limited distribution of the closely related species, T. briani. This
association may be confirmed with the use of the molecular techniques in the future.
The diversity of the genus Technomyrmex in the Arabian Peninsula is noticeably lower
than in other ant genera.
previous noted the lower abundance and
species richness of the genus relative to the total ant fauna.
In terms of species endemism, T. briani and T. setosus apparently are restricted to
the Arabian Peninsula. The genus is known to exhibit endemism in the Old World
(Fisher and Bolton 2016)
and also in the Neotropics
. The confined distribution of the Arabian Technomyrmex species in the
southwestern region and the limited distribution in the eastern region may be due to
the geographical separation by vast areas of deserts and the existence of the preferred
habitats in the former region.
It is worth mentioning that relatively few specimens of T. briani are available as
compared to T. setosus. Both species apparently have similar habitat preferences and
geographical occurrence, despite equal efforts of collecting. It is apparent that both
species prefers inhabiting grasslands of southwestern mountains of the KSA where
Acacia and J. procera trees occur, and both prefer nesting under rocks at the elevated
sites on both sides of valleys away from drainages.
This work was supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud
University [RG-1438-010]. We are much indebted to Barry Bolton for useful
discussions on the genus Technomyrmex and Boris Kondratieff (Colorado State
University) for useful suggestions. We thank Francisco Hita Garcia, Roberto Keller, and
Alexander Wild for valuable comments. We are grateful to Antonius van Harten
for permission to study materials from Yemen. Special thanks to the following
colleagues: Brian Fisher (CAS, Entomology curator) for permission to use some species
on AntWeb.org, and Michele Esposito and Estella Ortega for photographing species,
and Ahmed Shams Al’Ola for technical support. Mostafa Sharaf is grateful to
Stephen Judd (WML, Director), shirley Judd, and Tony Hunter (WML, Entomology
curator) for invaluable support during his visit to Liverpool, U.K. We thank Boris
Kondratieff, James Trager, and Beth Conrey, English Professor at Colorado State
University for language editing.
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