Monograph : Formicidae of Borneo

i.e. Jesse's Crash Course in Myrmecology

The family Formicidae is composed of highly eusocial insects, commonly known as ants, living in structured caste systems. Each nest population includes a female reproductive queen, female workers, and cyclically, winged mating males & females. Further morphological differences between castes determine additional functions of workers, such as soldiers or repletes. This may sound similar to another eusocial insect, termites. However, ants are more closely related to wasps, sawflies and bees of the order Hymenoptera.

Ants are unique in their morphology by having a petiole, a fusion of the thorax and abdomenal segments that can appear as one or two nodes. The remaining abdominal segments are known as a gaster, which may end with a sting or acidopore. They also possess metapleural glands with few exceptions[1], used for communicative and antiseptic purposes.

[ Mesquite File ] [ Tree ]

Specimen List
Morphospecies A: Camponotus gigas
Habitat: Found in Mixed Dipterocarp Forest of the CTFS Plot, Lambir Hills
Behavior: Individual worker and soldier caste types were found foraging individually on the ground. One group of workers was found moving a moth carcass at night. Seem to be fearless with human intrusion.
Morphology: Easily identifiable by their large size, surpassing 5 cm. They are piceous in color except for ferrugineous gasters.
Morphospecies B: Monomorium Pharaonis
Habitat: Found in Groups in Human Dwellings in Lambir Hills
Behavior: Always found in groups in human inhabitated areas. Like to attempt to colonize electronics equipment.
Morphology: Completely red in color and tiny.
Morphospecies C: Oecophylla smaragdina (Common Weaver Ant)
Habitat: Always found in clusters on sandy river banks, limestone and mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior:Foraging in groups on various ground cover.
Morphology: Uniformly ferrugineous in color, long mandibles.
Morphospecies D: Diacamma rugosum
Habitat: Found in limestone and mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior:Solitary ants found in leaf litter, not easily disturbed.
Morphology: Over 5cm, uniformly piceous in color, striated.
Morphospecies E: Camponotus spp.
Habitat: Found on sand river banks in mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior:Group scavengers, not easily disturbed. Others on trail towards forest with lepidoptera.
Morphology: Small to medium size, uniformly piceous in color, concave dent on back of head.
Morphospecies F: Crematogaster inflata
Habitat: Found on sand river banks and arboreally in mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior:Group foragers, form clear lines from food to nest. Maintain some defensive outposts. Active during the day and at night.
Morphology: Small to medium size, piceous in color except for bright yellow mesonotum.
Morphospecies G: Formica spp.
Habitat: Found arboreally in mixed dipterocarp forest on man-made tree platform structure.
Behavior: Soldiers and workers seemed to be guarding against disturbance, possibly the vibrations coming from the tree platform around the tree.
Morphology: Medium size, piceous in color. Some velveteen hair. Soldiers heads appear more globose.
Morphospecies M: Strumigenys spp.
Habitat: Found in humus layer of mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior: Unknown behavior, but found in group.
Morphology: Small size, testaceous in color. Triangular head, elongated jaws. Double petiole.
Morphospecies O: Polyrachis spp.
Habitat: Found in deep leaf litter layer of mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior: Unknown, but solitary specimen.
Morphology: Small to medium size, ferrugineous in color. Crossed mandibles, propodeal and mesonotal spines. Enlarged femurs.
Morphospecies P: Ecitoninae (Maybe Labidus spp.)
Habitat: Found in humus layer of mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior: Unknown, but solitary specimen.
Morphology: Small, ferrugineous in color. Cordate head, truncated mandibles. Enlarged femurs. Double petiole.
Morphospecies Q: Aphaenogaster spp.
Habitat: Found in deep leaf litter layer of mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior: Unknown, several found in a cluster, from different castes.
Morphology: Medium to large, ferrugineous in color. Cordate head, protruding mandibles that are larger in soldiers. Spurs. Double petiole. Dorsal profile shows altitrunk sectioning and propodeal dent clearly.
Morphospecies R: Onychomyrmex spp.
Habitat: Found in mixed dipterocarp forest near insect trap light.
Behavior: A group was attacking and predating live prey of Cicaoidea & coleoptera.
Morphology: Medium, ferrugineous in color leaning towards red. Protruding mandibles. Glabrous with promosenotal suture clearly visible.
Morphospecies V: Ecitoninae Spp. (Possibly Neivamyrmex)
Habitat: Found in mixed dipterocarp forest near insect trap light.
Behavior: Unknown, but solitary specimen
Morphology: Medium, ferrugineous in color leaning towards brown. Protruding mandibles. Thickened femurs. Simple eyes.
Morphospecies W: Camponotus Spp.
Habitat: Found on ocean beach with subterranean nest between mangrove and mixed dipterocarp forest.
Behavior: Appeared to be solitary despite a group being found near the nest. Not very protective despite disturbance.
Morphology: Large, uniformly piceous. Languinous hairs. Cordate head. Truncated mandibles. Punctuate texture.
Morphospecies Y: Crematogaster Spp.
Habitat: Found arboreally in mangrove forest
Behavior: Group protection of nest, responsive, changing postures with disturbance and clustering.
Morphology: Medium, uniformly piceous and glabrous. Globose shapes including altitrunk. Cordate head and gaster. Truncated mandibles.
Morphospecies Z: Trachymyrmex spp.
Habitat: Found arboreally in temperate rainforest
Behavior: Group protection of nest of flowering tree, most adamant of any species found.
Morphology: Medium, punctuate texture and ferrugineous color. Propodeal and mesonotal spikes. Odd, flattened head shape. Double petiole, long subdecumbent hairs covering gaster.
Morphospecies ZB: Polyrhachis bihamata
Habitat: Found in leaf litter of sustainably logged lowland mixed dipterocarp and primary mixed dipterocarp river basin forest
Behavior: Found in groups, quickly scatters when disturbed and not aggressive.
Morphology:Large, ferrugineous to gold in color. Three sets of spikes; pronotal, mesonotal and propodeal.
Morphospecies ZC: Leptogenys spp.
Habitat: Found in leaf litter of primary mixed dipterocarp river basin forest
Behavior: Found in groups, rapidly moving, territorial .
Morphology:Large, completely piceous, covered in subdecumbent hair. Gaster constricted. Odd clypeal form.
Morphospecies ZE: Polyrhachis spp.
Habitat: Found in leaf litter and low-lying shrubbery of primary mixed dipterocarp river basin forest
Behavior: Found singularly, slow moving.
Morphology:Large, completely piceous, except for a strange blue reflective nature of the gaster. Gaster constricted. Odd clypeal form.
Morphospecies ZF: Polyrhachis chalybea
Habitat: Found in human dwelling of primary mixed dipterocarp river basin forest
Behavior: Solitary foraging, rapidly moving ant, highly sensitive to disturbance and non-aggressive.
Morphology:Large, piceous, except for brilliant blue gaster and tibia.

Ant Mimics
Ant Mimic ZD: Staphylinid Beetle
Habitat: Found in Mixed Dipterocarp Forest in Maliau Basin
Behavior: Looking like a Ponerinae to the Professorae
Morphology: Anty
Ant Mimic S: Lygaeidae
Habitat: Found in Sustainably Logged Mixed Dipterocarp Forest
Behavior: Runs like a "crazy ant." Dresses up like an ant for Halloween.
Morphology: Polyrhachis-like

Reference:

Chung, Y. C. (1995). Common lowland rainforest ants of Sabah. Sabah, Forestry Department.

1. Holldobler B., & Engel-Siegel, H. 1984, 'On the metapleural gland of ants', Psyche 91:201-224, 1984.

Holldobler B., & Wilson, E. O. 1990, The ants. Cambridge, Mass, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Holldobler B., & Wilson, E. O. 1994, Journey to the ants: a story of scientific exploration. Cambridge, Mass, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Martin Pfeiffer 2007, University of Wurzburg and University of Frankfurt, Poring, viewed September, 2007, < http://www.antbase.net/ >

The California Academy of Sciences 2007, National Science Foundation, San Francisco, viewed September, 2007, < http://www.antweb.org/>

Tim Linksvayer 1997, Carleton College, Northfield, viewed September, 2007, < http://www.acad.carleton.edu/curricular/BIOL/resources/ant/index.html>