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Radchenko A.G., Elmes G.W. Myrmica ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Old World

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Radchenko A.G., Elmes G.W. Myrmica ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Old World
Museum and Institute of Zoology Polish Academy of Science. — Warszawa. Warszawska Drukarnia Naukowa, 2010. — 789 p.
Series: Fauna MUNDI. Vol. 3
It is the first taxonomic review of the entire Old World fauna of the widespread temperate ant genus Myrmica that is famed for its interactions with many social parasites of high nature conservation interest, e.g. Large Blue butterflies (Phengaris spp.)
This about 800 pages monograph is more than a traditional taxonomic review, it gives the history of the taxonomic treatment of Myrmica, summarises the current knowledge of the social biology and ecology of the genus, analyses the zoogeography of the various species and outlines the author’s views on the evolution and speciation within the genus.
The authors currently recognise 142 extant and 5 extinct species from the Old World and they provide Identification Keys to the species for each of seven geographic regions. This should make the Keys more user-friendly for non-specialists.
The locations of the type specimens are noted in the taxonomic catalogue, which is arranged alphabetically by species, as are the accurate line-drawings of every species. These illustrate features such as the shape and sculpture of the head and body, used in the identification keys. This arrangement makes it easy to find the data for any particular species. There is a full list of all names ascribed to genus Myrmica and a table of synonyms from among the valid names is provided. The etymology of many of the names is interesting and provides insights to thoughts of the original authors as does the short biographies are made for all authors of more than one valid species of Myrmica.
The authors believe that there are many species of Myrmica yet to be discovered, particularly in the Indo-Oriental regions and in the southern mountains of Eurasia. This book provides the essential starting point for future studies. Radchenko is one of Europe’s leading ant taxonomists and an expert on the ant fauna of the Palaearctic, while Elmes is an ecologist and eco-physiologist who has made a particular study of Myrmica ants over a 45 year career.
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