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New names for old ants

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New names for old ants: taxonomic and nomenclatural changes for the ants of New England

Science marches on!

Since A Field Guide to the Ants of New England was published, ant systematists and taxonomists have suggested the following changes to the scientific names of our ants.

24 October 2013 - The hitherto undescribed species of Polyergus illustrated on p. 218 of The Field Guide - P. cf. longicornis - how has a name! It is now known as Polyergus sanwaldi Trager, 2013

How did this happen? James Trager has been working on revising the genus Polyergus for nearly a decade. His revisionary treatment was published on 24 October 2013 in Zootaxa (Trager, J. C., 2013, Global revision of the dulotic ant genus Polyergus [Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Formicinae, Formicini], Zootaxa 3722(4): 501-548 [ pdf ]). This well-illustrated paper has a key to all 14 currently recognized species of Polyergus.
Why the name? According to Trager, "[t]he species is named for Raymond Sanwald, who led to its discovery through his interest in Polyergus, and his willingness to host years of studies by Howard Topoff and his sudents on the Polyergus species resident at Ray's Medford (Long Island) NY "Ant Ranch.""

 22 October 2013 – Pyramica Roger 1862 is once again a junior synonym of Strumigenys Roger, 1863.

Why the change? From the 2013 version of Bolton's Catalog. (Thanks to Stefan Cover)

 27 October 2012 – Monomorium viride Brown, 1943 should be Monomorium viridum Brown, 1943

Why the change? According to Barry Bolton, in Brown’s original treatment, he called this ant M. viridum, even though viridum is not a Latin word. So viridum is considered a neologism with a latinized neuter ending, and since it’s not a Latin word, it cannot be altered to viride. The nomenclatural confusion arose because Bolton’s 1995 (printed) Catalog of Ants of the World listed this as M. viride, but this name was never formally proposed as an emendation of the original name (M. viridum). In recent (online) versions of the Catalog, Bolton has reverted to viridum. (Thanks to James Trager)

28 August 2013 - Temnothorax schaumi (Roger, 1863) should be Temnothorax schaumii (Roger, 1863).

Why the change? Roger originally described the species as Leptothorax Schaumii. Mayr (1868) rewrote it as L. Schaumi, and the mis-spelling (one i instead of two) persisted until the January 2012 version of Bolton's Catalog. (Thanks to Grace Barber).