Harpegnathos saltator

Harpegnathos saltator

name = Jerdon's jumping ant

image_caption =Worker "H. saltator" killing a queen in an inter-colony conflict
image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
classis = Insecta
ordo = Hymenoptera
familia = Formicidae
subfamilia = Ponerinae
genus = "Harpegnathos"
species = "H. saltator"
binomial = "Harpegnathos saltator"
binomial_authority = (T. C. Jerdon, 1851)
synonym = "Drepanognathus saltator", Jerdon, 1851

"Harpegnathos saltator", sometimes called Jerdon's jumping ant, is a species of ant found in India. They have long mandibles and have the ability to leap a few inches.cite journal |quotes=no |author=C. Baroni Urbani, G. S. Boyan, A. Blarer, J. Billen & T. M. Musthak Ali |year=1994 |title=A novel mechanism for jumping in the Indian ant "Harpegnathos saltator" (Jerdon) (Formicidae, Ponerinae) |journal=Experientia |volume=50 |pages=63–71 |doi=10.1007/BF01992052]


Unlike other ants, they are seen singly or in small groups and their colonies consist of very small numbers of individuals. They are also interesting among ants in that the queen-worker difference is very limited and some workers can mate and lay fertilized eggs just like the queen. [cite journal |quotes=no |author=C. Peeters, J. Liebig & B. Hölldobler |year=2000 |title=Sexual reproduction by both queens and workers in the ponerine ant "Harpegnathos saltator" |journal=Insectes Sociaux |volume=47 |pages=325–332 |url=http://www.antbase.de/literature-pdf/peters-et-al-2000.pdf |doi=10.1007/PL00001724 |format=Dead link|date=May 2008] These workers are termed gamergates. New colonies are founded independently by single queens, and on aging they are replaced by several gamergates. [cite journal |quotes=no |author=J. Liebig & H. J. Poethke |year=2004 |title=Queen lifespan and colony longevity in the ant "Harpegnathos saltator " |journal=Ecological Entomology |volume=29 |pages=203–207 |url=http://www.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de/zoo3/station/download/EcEnt29s203Liebig.pdf |doi=10.1111/j.1365-2311.2004.00583.x |format=Dead link|date=May 2008] The gamergates copulate with males from their own colonies and being inbred are related to the original founding queen. Colonies being very small, they never undergo fission to form new colonies.

The workers control the number of reproductives in the colony and will kill some of the gamergates (as in taxobox image). [cite journal |quotes=no |author=J. Liebig, C. Peeters & Bert Hölldobler |year=1999 |title=Worker policing limits the number of reproductives in a ponerine ant |journal=Proc. R. Soc. London |volume=266 |pages=1865–1870 |url=http://www.biologie.ens.fr/ecologie/comportement/peeters/peeters/procbharpegnathos.pdf |doi=10.1098/rspb.1999.0858] cite journal |quotes=no |author=R. R. do Nascimento, J. Billen & E. D. Morgan |year=1993 |title=The exocrine secretions of the jumping ant "Harpegnathos saltator" |journal=Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology |volume=104B |pages=505–508 |url=http://bio.kuleuven.be/ento/pdfs/donascimento_etal_compbiochem_1993_exocrine_secretions_harpegnathos.pdf] Workers use alarm pheromones which include 4-methyl-3-heptanone, 4-methyl-3-heptanol and isopentyl isopentanoate. [Blum, M. S., T. M. Musthak Ali, T. H. Jones & R. R. Snelling (1994) Identification of a chemical releaser of alarm behavior for workers of "Harpegnathos saltator" Jerd. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Memorabilia Zoologica 48:17-22] "H. saltator", like many species of ant produces 4-methyl-3-heptanone from mandibular glands. Dufour's gland secretions have been found to include a complex mixture of linear hydrocarbons from C15 to C25 with (Z)-9-tricosene being the main constituent along with other minor constituents like tetradecyl propionate and traces of tetradecyl acetate and dodecyl acetate. The postpharyngeal glands and cuticular wax includes methyl esters of common fatty acids.

Their leaps are accomplished by synchronized abduction of the middle and hind pairs of legs. They can jump up to 2 cm high and 10 cm long. These leaps are made not only to escape, but also to catch flying prey. The workers forage only during the cool hours of the morning and afternoon with a lull in activity during mid day. [cite journal|last=Shivashankar|first=T.|coauthors=H. C. Sharathchandra & G. K. Veeresh|year=1989|title=Foraging activity and temperature relations in the ponerine ant "Harpegnathos saltator" Jerdon (Formicidae)|journal=Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. Anim. Sci.|volume=98|issue=5|pages=:367–372]

The nest entrance is usually a low mound on the ground with the entrance surrounded by twigs and leaves. The nest entrance is closed by the ants in the evening and reopened in the day. The main chamber has a funnel like opening in the antechamber and this structure is believed to prevent flooding of the main chamber. [cite journal|author=Peeters, C., B. Hölldobler, M. Moffett, and T. M. Musthak Ali|year=1994|title="Wall-papering" and elaborate nest architecture in the ponerine ant "Harpegnathos saltator".|journal=Insectes Sociaux|volume=41|pages=211–218|doi=10.1007/BF01240479 ]


thumb|Possible_colony_life_cycles_based_on_Peeters_and_Holldobler_(1995)_[Christian Peeters & Bert Holldobler (1995) Reproductive cooperation between queens and their matedworkers: The complex life history of an ant with a valuable nest. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92:10977-10979 [http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/92/24/10977.pdf PDF] ] ] The following is the original description by T. C. Jerdon. [cite journal |quotes=no |author=T. C. Jerdon |year=1851 |title=A catalogue of the species of ants found in southern India |journal=Madras J. Lit. Sci. |volume=17 |pages=103–127 |url=http://research.amnh.org/entomology/social_insects/ants/publications/4764/4764.pdf]

The following is the taxonomic description from C. T. Bingham's Fauna of British India (Hymenoptera - Volume 2):
* worker: Head, thorax and pedicel ferruginous red, closely and rather coarsely punctured, granulate ; abdomen black, shining, not granulate, with punctures finer and more scattered ; mandibles, antennae and legs yellow ; the whole insect covered with short, sparse, erect pale hairs, and a minute, fine, sericeous shining pubescence on the mandibles, head, antennae, thorax and legs, visible only in certain lights. For the rest the characters of the genus.
* queen: Similar to the worker; the ocelli placed very low down, almost in the middle of the front of the head.
* male: Mandibles short, triangular, rather wide, but not elongate. Head somewhat longer than broad, strongly constricted behind the eyes and up to the occipital articulation. Concavity in front shorter and broader than in "D. venator". Posterior face of the metanotum strongly margined. First abdominal segment pyriform elongate as in "D. venator". No constriction between the basal two segments. A small median carina behind the occiput. Smooth and shining. Metanotum, pedicel and a part of the sides of the mesonotum coarsely rugose. Some foveae or obsolete striae on the rest of the thorax. Pilosity as in "D. venator". Reddish brown, the pedicel darker. Abdomen brown. Legs and antennae pale testaceous. Wings hyaline, nervures and stigma very pale. (Based on Forel)


External links

* [http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Harpegnathos_saltator&contgroup=Harpegnathos Tree of Life]
* [http://www.antweb.org/description.do?subfamily=ponerinae&genus=harpegnathos&name=saltator&rank=species Ant web]

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