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Iridomyrmex ants reclassified.

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Dr. Huxley (1978) recorded the principal inhabitants of Hydnophytum and especially of Myrmecodia in New Guinea as Iridomyrmex cordatus (sic) a tiny reddish-brown ant, which is also the regular inhabitant in nearby northern Australia.  At heights above 2000 m. (6562 ft.) and in shaded rainforest sites it is replaced by an ant species that she compares with Iridomyrmex scrutator while a few other ant species were recorded as only occasional inhabitants.  (Huxley 1978).

  Shattuck (1992) placed I. cordatus in the genus Philidris; hence, it is now P. cordata while I. scrutator became Anonychomyrma scrutator.  Of these two species, only P. cordata makes ant-carton a product that provides an important survival factor for seedling ant-house plants.  Certainly, any ant-carton or small humus collections around ant-house plant roots should improve their initial survival chances.  I use the qualifier “small” because the presence of too much humus and associated epiphyte-benign environmental inputs would encourage faster growing, overly competitive epiphytes.  The reported absence of P. cordata from rainforest (Huxley 1978.) is perhaps part of the reasons why hydnophytes are numerically rarer in such habitats.

Shattuck, S. 1992. Review of the Dolichoderine Ant Genus Iridomyrmex Mayr., with Descriptions of Three New Genera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae.) J. Aust. Entomological Soc. Vol. 31 pp13-18.

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