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Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia

Print version ISSN 0031-1049


BRANDAO, Carlos Roberto Ferrreira; DINIZ, Jorge Luis Machado  and  FEITOSA, Rodrigo Machado. The venom apparatus and other morphological characters of the ant Martialis heureka (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Martialinae). Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo) [online]. 2010, vol.50, n.26, pp.413-423. ISSN 0031-1049.

We describe and illustrate the venom apparatus and other morphological characters of the recently described Martialis heureka ant worker, a supposedly specialized subterranean predator which could be the sole surviving representative of a highly divergent lineage that arose near the dawn of ant diversification. M. heureka was described as the single species of a genus in the subfamily, Martialinae Rabeling and Verhaagh, known from a single worker. However because the authors had available a unique specimen, dissections and scanning electron microscopy from coated specimens were not possible. We base our study on two worker individuals collected in Manaus, AM, Brazil in 1998 and maintained in 70% alcohol since then; the ants were partially destroyed because of desiccation during transport to São Paulo and subsequent efforts to rescue them from the vial. We were able to recover two left mandibles, two pronota, one dismembered fore coxa, one meso-metapropodeal complex with the median and hind coxae and trochanters still attached, one postpetiole, two gastric tergites, the pygidium and the almost complete venom apparatus (lacking the gonostylus and anal plate). We illustrate and describe the pieces, and compare M. heureka worker morphology with other basal ant subfamilies, concluding it does merit subfamilial status.

Keywords : Ant phylogeny; Formicidae; Martialis; Ultrastructure; Venom Apparatus.

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