Morfologia comparada de larvas de formigas lava-pes

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Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Volume 2012, Article ID 183284, 10 pages

Research Article
Comparative Immature Morphology of Brazilian Fire Ants
(Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis )
Eduardo Goncalves Paterson Fox,1 Daniel Russ Solis,2 Mˆ nica Lanzoni Rossi,3
4 Rodrigo Fernando de Souza,2 and Odair Correa Bueno2
Jacques Hubert Charles Delabie,
1Laborat´rio de Entomologia M´dica, Centro de Ciˆncias da Sa´ de, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ),
21.945-970 Ilha do Fund˜o, RN, Brazil
2 Centro de Estudos de Insetos Sociais, Instituto de Biociˆncias, Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), 13506-900 Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
Laborat´rio de Histopatologia e Biologia Estrutural de Plantas, Centro de Energia Nuclear naAgricultura,
University of S˜ o Paulo (USP), 13400-970 Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
Laborat´rio de Mirmecologia, Centro de Pesquisa do Cacau, 45650-000 Itabuna, BA, Brazil
Correspondence should be addressed to Eduardo Goncalves Paterson Fox,
Received 18 March 2011; Accepted 29 April 2011
Academic Editor: Fernando Fern´ ndez
Copyright © 2012 Eduardo GoncalvesPaterson Fox et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
properly cited.
Although common in Brazil, the biology of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Smith) is still poorly studied. Larval descriptions
are useful to genus-level antsystematics and sometimes to species-level taxonomy. This study presents a detailed description
of juveniles of S. saevissima from Brazil, which were compared with Brazilian specimens of Solenopsis invicta Buren, Solenopsis
geminata (Fabricius), and Solenopsis altipunctata Pitts. Different larval instars were separated by diagnostic morphological traits
which were confirmed by observing moults.Reproductive larvae could be easily sorted by their distinctive body dimensions and
shape. Contrary to previous reports on this species, the larvae of S. saevissima proved to be generally identical to those of S. invicta,
while a few specimens resembled those of other close species, such as Solenopsis megergates Trager. Mature larvae thus presented
considerable intraspecific variation in somecharacters recently proposed to aid fire ant species separation (morphology of head

1. Introduction
The importance of immature morphology to insect systematics and taxonomy was extensively discussed in previous
studies [1–3]. The present investigation is part of a series of
studies on ant larvae which attempt to remedy the limitations
in the available morphological information onimmature ant
Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is a cosmopolitan
ant genus that includes approximately 300 species, of which
over 108 occur in the New World [4]. Some of the largest
species are aggressive, polymorphic ants commonly known
as “fire ants” that are usually harmful in both their native
and invasive geographical ranges. The Solenopsis saevissima
species group (sensu [5])includes some 13 species of fire
ants which are markedly difficult to identify because of

the plasticity of morphological characters, and because of
their strong polymorphism. In an attempt to propose a
phylogenetic hypothesis for species within the complex, Pitts
et al. [5] revisited the morphological characters as originally
proposed by Trager [6] and added new ones, including the
use ofhead setae of last-instar larvae. Of the fire ant species
analysed in his study, there are published larval descriptions
only for S. invicta and S. geminata [7–9].
The fire ant Solenopsis saevissima Smith is widespread
and common in Brazil, however still remains a generally poorly studied species. Their larvae are undescribed.
Recently, a broad genetic study [10] demonstrated that it...
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