Myrmecos

New Ant Genera

Biodiversity discovery continues apace.  The past couple of weeks have seen not one, but TWO new myrmicine ant genera.

First, Shattuck described the Australian Austromorium:

Austromorium hetericki Shattuck 2009 - Australia

Austromorium hetericki Shattuck 2009 - Australia

Then this morning, Fernández et al introduced a pretty little yellow ant from Brazil, Diaphoromyrma:

Diaphoromyrma sofiae Fernández et al 2009 - Brazil

Diaphoromyrma sofiae Fernández et al 2009 - Brazil

Neither of these new ants show any unambiguous relationship to existing ant genera.  But that’s been the story with myrmicinae, even in the age of molecular systematics.  The subfamily contains nearly half of all ants- including the familiar fire ants and harvester ants- yet the group has been exceptionally recalcitrant to offer clues as to the evolutionary history of its members.  So here are two more lineages to add to the puzzle.

Sources:
Shattuck, S. O. 2009. Austromorium, a new myrmicine ant genus from Australia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2193: 62-68.

Fernández, F., Delabie, J. H. C., Cardoso, I. 2009. Diaphoromyrma, a new myrmicine ant genus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from North Eastern Brazil. Zootaxa 2204: 55–62.