Tropical and Holarctic Ants in Late Eocene Ambers

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Abstract

Based on representative collections, the ratio of tropical and Holarctic ant species in Priabonian (Late Eocene) Baltic, Bitterfeld (Saxonian), Danish and Rovno ambers is analyzed for the first time. In surveyed representative collections of Baltic amber, the ratios of Holarctic and tropical ant species are from 1.1 to 1.5; with 10 Holarctic and 9 tropical species (out of 31) in the PIN-964 collection, and 9 and 5 species (out of 29) in the Giecewicz collection; the ratio in the representative collection of Saxonian amber is 0.9, 11 Holarctic species vs. 12 tropical species (out of 55); in the representative collection of Rovno amber it is 0.65, 15 vs. 23 species (out of 79); and in the representative collection of Danish amber it is 0.64, 7 vs. 11 species (out of 36). Hence, in representative collections of Baltic amber, Holarctic species clearly prevail not just in terms of the share of their specimens (by 9.8 to 19.6 times), but also by the number of species. In Bitterfeld amber, Holarctic species are somewhat less numerous than tropical ones, but their specimens are 6 times greater. In representative collections of Rovno and Danish ambers, the number of Holarctic species is 1.5 to 1.7 times smaller than that of tropical species, but the number of their specimens is 4.9 to 6.9 times greater. The numbers of tropical and Holarctic species represented by more than one specimen is similar in Priabonian ambers, 25 versus 22, but Holarctic species include four dominants or subdominants. The abundance of temperate elements in the Priabonian amber ant fauna along with the relatively small number of tropical elements greatly distinguishes it from the Middle European Lutetian ant faunas of Messel and Eckfeld in shale, which do not have temperate elements at all. Formica phaethusa Wheeler, Glaphyromyrmex oligocenicus Wheeler, Plagiolepis squamifera Mayr, Proceratium eocenicum Dlussky, Hypoponera atavia (Mayr), Ponera lobulifera Dlussky, Aphaenogaster mersa Wheeler, and Ennaemerus reticulatus Mayr are new records for Rovno amber, and Formica gustawi Dlussky and Gnamptogenys europaea (Mayr) for Danish amber.

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