Subgenus CAUTOLASIUS Wilson, new subgenus
Subgeneritype : FORMICA FLAVA Fabricius, by present selection.
I propose to separate the members of the flavus complex - flavus (Fabricius) , nearcticus Wheeler, alienoflavus Bingham, talpa Wilson, and fallax Wilson - as a distinct subgenus. This group of species is closely knit and shows a mixture of characters which on purely morphological grounds places it in a position intermediate between Lasius s. s. and chthonolasius. The worker caste closely resembles that of Chthonolasius, in having light body color, reduced eye size, and shortened maxillary palps. However, these are most likely convergent characters developed in connection with a common subterranean mode of life. The closest affinities of Cautolasius are to Lasius s. s., and it was probably derived from the latter subgenus. The queen is nonparasitic and very similar to Lasius s. s. in habitus, with the head small relative to the thorax. In all three castes the opening of the metapleural gland is as large as in Lasius s. s. Male mandible showing the maximum range of variation for the genus (sitkaensis to niger types), within a single species (flavus) . The most primitive member of the subgenus, L. alienoflavus Bingham, has terminal maxillary palp segments fully as long as those of L. (L.) sitiens Wilson, while the color variation of L. flavus overlaps that of sitiens. In final analysis the only character which by itself will separate the two subgenera is eye size. Yet the two still represent discrete groups, since sitiens is a secondarily specialized member of a phylogenetically remote species group.
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