Asian Myrmecology: Archive - Volume 12


online first (online version of paper published before print issue)

DOI: 10.20362/am.015008
Asian Myrmecology 15: 015008 (1-9)
article first published online: 23/November/2022

Description of Prenolepis rinpoche sp. nov. from Nepal, with discussion of Asian Prenolepis species biogeography


Prenolepis rinpoche sp. nov. is described, imaged, and compared with similar speciesfrom South and Southeast Asia. This new species description raises the total number of extant Prenolepis species to 20. Distribution maps of all Asian Prenolepis species are included. Further justification for this new species description is provided using principal component (PCA) analysis of linear morphometric data collected from 15 Prenolepis species. This species is most similar morphologically to P. darlena Williams & LaPolla 2016, P. fisheri Bharti & Wachkoo 2012, P. fustinoda Williams & LaPolla 2016, P. nepalensis Williams & LaPolla 2018, and P. shanialena Williams & LaPolla 2016. The geographical distributions of these six similar species are concentrated around montane areas of South and Southeast Asia, including The Himalayas in Nepal and northern India. Similar morphology suggests that these six species together form a high elevation clade. A re-evaluation of the literature and distribution recordsconfirms there are presently four species known to Nepal, two of which are likely endemic: P. nepalensis and P. rinpoche. Most Prenolepis species, including P. rinpoche, are found at elevations above 1200 meters, suggesting an evolutionary pathway to temperate climate adaptation and winter activity in species such as P. imparis Say (1836) in the Nearctic and P. nitens Mayr (1853) in the Palearctic.

Biodiversity, Himalayas, Lasiini, taxonomy, Tibetan Plateau, winter ant

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1Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Florida, USA

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