Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2013)
Costa Rica (Atlantic slope to 1000m).
Inhabits wet forest leaf litter; nests in small cavities in dead or live wood, forest floor litter layer to low arboreal zone.
I collected a nest series that is essentially a dark brown version of nitella. It was under a stone in a pasture, at the 1500m site (Finca Murillo) near the Barva transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park. Minor workers of this form are nearly indistinguishable from sagittaria. The propodeal spines of sagittaria are ever so slightly more developed.
Taxon Page Author History
Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)
Wilson, E. O.:
Etymology L nitella , bright, splendid.
Diagnosis Similar in various traits to the species listed in the heading above, and distinguished as follows. Major: yellow; head elongate; eyes set well forward, so that their distance from anterior of head is only a little less than Eye Length; propodeal spines reduced to obtuse angles; carinulae extend on head only slightly beyond eyes and are rudimentary on frontal lobes, and rest of body is entirely smooth and shiny.
Minor: eye very large, oval (not tapered), and set far forward on head; propodeum reduced to denticles; occiput broad and weakly concave.
Differs from the closely similar exquisita of Ecuador in size, head shape, and details of cephalic sculpture, eye shape, and minor scape length.
measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.58, HL 0.66, SL 0.32, EL 0.10, PW 0.30. Paratype minor: HW 0.34, HL 0.34, SL 0.26, EL 0.06, PW 0.22. Color Major and minor: concolorous medium yellow.
Range Occurs on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica at 300-1000 m (Longino 1997); Choco, Colombia, 760 m; and is widespread in montane and Amazonian Ecuador; a single collection originates from near Belem, Para, Brazil.
Biology A rainforest dweller, P. nitella nests in small cavities variously in dead and live wood, on the forest floor and in the low arboreal zone (Longino 1997; Stefan Cover and E. O. Wilson, unpublished notes). A seed cache was found in one nest at La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
Figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. COSTA RICA: La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Heredia (Stefan Cover). Scale bars = 1 mm.
Specimen Data Summary
Found most commonly in these habitats: 155 times found in montane wet forest, 133 times found in mature wet forest, 37 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 22 times found in cloud forest, 23 times found in tropical moist forest, 9 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 11 times found in wet forest, 7 times found in tropical wet forest, 1 times found in CCL 550, 3 times found in wet montane forest, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 231 times miniWinkler, 77 times baiting, 38 times Mini Winkler, 27 times MaxiWinkler, 17 times Berlese, 14 times Winkler, 10 times search, 2 times Lure/Bait, 5 times flight intercept trap, 1 times bait, 3 times Malaise, ...
Elevations: collected from 50 - 1620 meters, 697 meters average