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 SUBFAMILY FORMICINAE


     This is a large, cosmopolitan subfamily with many genera, only a few of which extend into the deserts. As a group the formicines do not seem to be as successful in arid habitats as are the myrmicines. The exception to this generality is Myrmecocystus, the only formicine genus that is both common and predictably present.
     The formicines share with the dolichoderines a one-segmented petiole. They differ from dolichoderines in that they possess an acidopore at the gastral apex. In our species this is a conspicuous, somewhat tubiform, projection, around the periphery of which is a conspicuous fringe of long hairs (Fig. 19). By means of this acidopore the ant sprays the primary defensive compound of the formicine ants, formic acid, an irritant in respiratory systems and on surface wounds; as an insecticide it is lethal.
     The taxonomy of the desert inhabiting formicines is not especially difficult, if for no other reason than that there are so few of them. Genera such as Camponotus are very much in need of revisionary study but our species are few and reasonably well known. The genus Myrmecocystus has more species within the study area than any other ant genus, and was revised by Snelling (1976); the species are now mostly well known.

KEY TO GENERA OF FORMICINAE
 
Workers
 
1 Antenna twelve-segmented
2
-- Antenna nine-segmented (Fig. 208) Brachymyrmex
2 (1) Mesosomal dorsum, in profile, with propodeum distinctly depressed below level of promesonotum; metanotal impression usually distinct; antennal socket at or near margin of clypeus

3
-- Propodeum in profile not depressed below level of promesonotum; metanotal impression absent or very weak; antennal socket well removed from margin of clypeus (Figs. 214, 216, 218)

Camponotus
3 (2) Maxillary palpi no longer than head, third and fourth segments not unusually long; psammophore absent
4
-- Maxillary palpi longer than head, third and fourth segments long; psammophore present but weak (Fig. 5)
Myrmecocystus
4(3) 4(3) Frontal carinae weak, rounded into antennal fossa; ocelli absent or indistinct; body and appendages with coarse, dark erect setae (Figs. 226-231)



Paratrechina

--�������� Frontal carinae weak, rounded into antennal fossa; ocelli distinct; body and appendages without coarse, dark erect setae (Figs. 273-275)

Formica
     
 
Males
 
1 Antenna 13-segmented; mandible well developed, with masticatory margin


2
-- -- Antenna 10-segmented; mandible vestigial, narrow and pointed, without masticatory margin
Brachymyrmex
2(1) Antennal socket not, or only narrowly, separated from margin of clypeus

3
-- Antennal socket separated from clypeal margin by about one-half its minimum diameter
Camponotus
3(2) Maxillary palpi of normal length, fourth segment shorter than combined lengths of fifth and sixth

4
-- Maxillary palpi unusually long, fouth segment longer than combined lengths of fifth and sixth
Myrmecocystus
4(3)
Tibiae and scape with coarse, dark, erect seta-like hairs; cerci absent

Paratrechina
-- Tibiae and scape without coarse, dark erect hairs; cerci present Formica

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Date of this version 8, Nov. 2003
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