Name: Florida Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex badius)
Scientific Classification and Taxonomy:
Description: The minor worker of badius, which is the dominant subcaste, can readily be distinguished from the worker of all other species of North American Pogonomyrmex by the head shape, which is rather strongly narrowed posteriorly in full-face view, the conformation of the scape base, and the small eyes which are placed distinctly beneath the middle of the sides of the head. The major workers, as well as the intermediates, are defined nicely by their disproportionately enlarged heads. Moreover, there is an accentuation of feminine traits in the thorax of the intermediates and especially of the majors, the sclerites being well delimited and bearing a striking resemblance to those of the female caste. The species which is most likely to be confused with badius in the worker caste is Pogonomyrmex comanche. The configuration of the petiole and post petiole is quite similar in the two, and both species have the nodes rather coarsely and generally transversely rugose. But whereas the dorsum of the petiolar node of comanche, seen in lateral view, is flattened and usually bears a distinct median depression, that of badius is convex and not depressed. Both species have a strongly arched thorax; but comanche possesses perfectly normal epinotal spines whereas badius has an unarmed epinotum under normal conditions, though it may occasionally have aberrant epinotal spination (vide infra). In comanche only the basal face of the epinotum is rugose, the declivous face being free of sculpture; in badius both faces of the epinotum are rugose. The female of badius should be clearly recognizable. The head is very wide in proportion to its length and bears a sharply emarginate midoccipital border; the eyes are small, weakly protuberant, and set low on the sides of the head; the cephalic rugae diverge strongly into the occipital corners; the ultimate basal mandibular tooth is offset in two planes (posteriorly and dorsally, with the mandible in closed resting position); the epinotum is normally unarmed and its basal face is broadly concave. In the male, the scape is unusually long; the mandible is very broad, triangular, strongly convex, and bears 6 or 7 teeth on an oblique masticatory margin; the dorsum of the petiolar node, in lateral view, is distinctly truncate; the shape of the paramere is distinctive.
Distribution: United States – Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina.
Dymadex's blogs on bugs, including insects and arachnids. Insects are hexapod invertebrates like ants, beetles, bees, and flies. Arachnids are joint-legged invertebrates like spiders, scorpions, ticks, and harvestmen. Other organisms in this blog include centipede, millipede, and worms.
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