Senckenberg Publications

B. Seifert

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Bernhard Seifert Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Goerlitz,
P.O.Box 30 01 54, 02806 Goerlitz, Germany
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A taxonomic revision of the Eurasian Myrmica salina species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)


Abstract

The Myrmica salina species complex (MSS complex) is distributed in steppes and other xerothermous open habitats of the Mediterranean and south Temperate zone from Iberia to E Kazakhstan, in latitudes between 37 in Central Asia and 56N in S Sweden. The taxonomic status of twelve taxa belonging to the MSS complex s. str. was assessed. 16 numerically described phenotypic characters of workers and one distributional character were evaluated in explorative (principal component analysis, PCA) and hypothesis-driven (discriminant analysis, DA) approaches on the basis of 157 nest samples with 435 worker specimens from the whole geographic range. The PCA indicated two main clusters which were confirmed by a cross-validated DA in 98.1% of the samples. The two clusters are recognised as the species M. salina Ruzsky, 1905 and M. specioides Bondroit, 1918 which are sympatric over 4000 km of east-west extension of their range. It was not possible to credibly demonstrate a third or fourth entity by PCA, k-means clustering or running different type-series-centered hypotheses in a DA. The taxa M. scabrinodis var. ahngeri Karavajev, 1926 (p = 0.999), M. georgica Seifert, 1987 (p = 0.998) and M. tobiasi Radchenko & Elmes, 2004 (p = 1.000) are synonymised with M. salina (p = 1.000) and M. scabrinodis var. sancta Karavajev, 1926 (p = 0.997), M. scabrinodis var. turcica Santschi, 1931 (p = 0.983) and M. kozakorum Radchenko & Elmes, 2010 (p = 0.972) with M. specioides (p = 1.000) [in brackets: posterior probability of cluster allocation of the type series in a DA]. M. puerilis Stärcke, 1942, M. puerilis ab. dolens Stärcke, 1942, M. balcanica Sadil, 1952 and M. balcanica var. scrabrinodoides Sadil, 1952, of which type series were not available, are synonymised with M. specioides based upon original description and terrae typicae. High-resolution z-stack photographs of the lectotypes of M. salina and M. specioides are provided. The species identity of a suggested cluster found in Great Caucasus, Armenia and E Turkey cannot be credibly shown by phenotypic and geographic information and should
be checked by means of integrative taxonomy.

Keywords

ant taxonomy, Palaearctic region, cluster analysis, sibling species


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