About this catalogue

Note: Despite the extensive features of the Scratchpads platform, some important functions are still missing (e.g. detailed representation of literature data, etc.). Therefore, as well as due to the large number of media content (images of collection specimens), an alternative version of the catalogue is available at another site: http://kgbase.ru/db/kgbase-alvr/index.php. In that version of the catalogue some data is given in more detailed version, and for all collection specimens their images are given.

About this catalogue
This site is an electronic draft of the provisional catalogue of ants in the Lower Volga Region (Russia). No doubt, the catalogue represents only the preliminary list of ants of the Lower Volga region with the description of known references and findings, and some critical notes.
Some areas of the region remain poorly studied. First of all, it is the north and west of Volgograd region, where many species are possible to find, which are not yet known in the Lower Volga region. The fauna of some groups (primarily Leptothorax and Myrmica genera) also remains poorly studied. The status and concepts of many taxa are not yet quite clear, as explained in the comments.
In preparing this catalogue, the concept of “cryptic species” separated by methods of “integrative taxonomy” was considered as insufficiently verified and not yet confirmed by field observations proving the biological isolation of such species. For this reason, many species are considered here in the wide “classical” interpretation. In each case, the necessary explanations are provided.

About the Lower Volga Region.
The Lower Volga Region is a region in the extreme south-east of European Russia, which includes the Republic of Kalmykia, Volgograd and Astrakhan Regions. Most of the territory of the Lower Volga Region is covered by steppes (Volgograd Region and the north of Astrakhan' Region and Kalmykia) and deserts (southern part of the region). The region is crossed by the valleys of two major rivers, the Volga and the Don, and their inflows. These valleys have a lot of wetland and forest habitats. The relief of the Lower Volga Basin is flat, to the west of the Volga and Caspian Depression is rough, often with a large number of ravines, gorges, etc., often with ravine forests. The Caspian Depression covers almost the entire southern half of the Lower Volga Basin, its landscapes are deserts or dry steppes with a lot of salt marshes. Some of landscapes of the Lower Wolga region are shown in the media gallery.

History of studying ants in the Lower Volga Region
Researches on fauna of ants of the Lower Volga Region have been started in XIX century and in the beginning of XX century have been summarized by Mikhail Dmitrievich Ruzsky in the book "Ants of Russia" (1905, 1905). A total of 48 species of ants in their modern concepts were mentioned by them for the Lower Volga region. Much of these references were based on material collected by him personally. Unfortunately, most of the Ruzsky's collection kept at Kazan University (where Ruzsky worked then) was probably lost afterwards. For this reason, many of his references cannot now be correctly interpreted.
Throughout the XX century, after the publication of Ruzsky's work, data on ants of the Lower Volga region were almost not updated. Only descriptions of some new species were published (Emery, 1925; Arnoldi, 1928, 1970). New fauna researches were started by me in Volgograd and Astrakhan’ Regions and by Zh.V. Savranskaya in Kalmykia after 1995. Their result was an article published in 2002 (Grebennikov et al., 2002) in which 77 species of ants were listed for the Lower Volga region. Currently, the concept of many of the species listed in this article has changed significantly and some references need to be corrected. Unfortunately, the material on which the article was based has been left only in part, which sometimes makes it difficult to understand the current status of the references.
After a considerable break, I have been resuming my study of the Lower Volga Region myrmecofauna since 2007. These studies allowed me to clarify the distribution of many species in the region and enrich the list of known species. Some of the results of these studies were published by me earlier (Grebennikov, 2013, 2014; Grebennikov, Anikin, 2016; Grebennikov, Zryanin, 2017; Grebennikov, 2019).
The locations for which references of the ants are known, or specimens collected in them, are shown on the map:

Materials and methods
This catalogue is based mainly on literature references and my own collection of ants in the Lower Volga region (as well as material kindly provided by my colleagues). The collection and study of the material was made by all generally accepted and applicable research methods for this group.

A lot of people have been helping me work on this project for many years. I consider it an onerous task to acknowledge their important contribution to this catalogue and to say thank them very much.
At the initial stage, E.V. Komarov (Volgograd), who introduced me to the world of entomology in my youth, was a great help in organizing this work. Some other colleagues from Volgograd (O.G. Brekhov and A.A. Sergeev) kindly provided their small collections of ants for study. Separately, I would like to thank the deceased D.M. Astakhov (also from Volgograd) who provided very interesting material included in this catalogue. From O.I. Broznov (Astrakhan’) I received small but also very interesting material from the Astrakhan’ Region, and help in a short but very productive field trip.
The opportunity to consult and discuss work with colleagues, in particular, D.A. Dubovikov (St. Petersburg) and Z.M. Yusupov (Nal’chik), was of great importance to me.
Without a large number of people, my field trips and expeditions in the Lower Volga region would not have been possible. First of all, I would like to thank all employees of Bogdinsko-Baskunchaksky Nature Reserve who helped me during three years of work in this organization. In addition, I was also assisted in my work on the territory of the Astrakhansky Nature Reserve by the Reserve's researchers. I am sincerely grateful to M.V. Mokrousov (Nizhny Novgorod) for organizing the most interesting expeditions, in which I took part in the last few years, and for productive discussions on a wide range of scientific topics.

Literature mentioned above
Arnol'di, K. V. (1928) Studien über die Systematik der Ameisen. III. Rossomyrmex. Neue Gattung der Ameisen und ihre Beziehungen zu den anderen Gattungen der Formicidae. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 75, 299-310.
Arnol'di, K. V. (1970) New species and races of the ant genus Messor (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) [Novye vidy i rasy murav'ev roda Messor (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)]. Zoological Journal [Zoologicheskii Zhurnal], 49, 72-88.
Emery, C. (1889) Intorno ad alcune formiche della fauna paleartica. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, 27, 439-443.
Emery, C. (1898) Beiträge zur Kenntniss der palaearktischen Ameisen. Öfversigt af Finska Vetenskaps-Societetens Förhandlingar, 20, 124-151.
Emery, C. (1925) Revision des espèces paléarctiques du genre Tapinoma. Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 32, 45-64.
Grebennikov, K. A. & Zryanin, V. A. (2017) Interesting records of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Volga region and Dagestan [Interesnye nahodki murav'ev (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) iz Povolzh'ya i Dagestana]. Proceedings of the Russian Entomological Society [Trudy Russkogo Entomologicheskago Obshchestva], 88, 38–43.
Grebennikov, K. A. (2015) New records of ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the Lower Volga region [Novye nahodki murav'ev (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) v Nizhnem Povolzh'e]. SCI-ARTICLE.RU. Available from: http://sci-article.ru/stat.php?i=1421406586 (11.02.2020).
Grebennikov, K. A. (2019) First records of Cardiocondyla sahlbergi Forel, 1913 (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the Volga Region [Pervye nahodki Cardiocondyla Sahlbergi Forel, 1913 (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Formicidae) v Povolzh'e]. Entomological and parasitological studies in the Volga region [Jentomologicheskie i parazitologicheskie issledovanija v Povolzh'e], 46-48.
Grebennikov, K. A., Dubovikov, D. A. & Savranskaya, Zh. V. (2002) Ecological-faunistic characteristics of ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the Lower Volga region [Fauna i ekologicheskie osobennosti murav'ev (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) Nizhnego Povolzh'ya]. In: Biodiversity of Insects of the Southeast of the European Part of Russia [Bioraznoobrazie nasekomykh Yugo-Vostoka Evropeiskoi chasti Rossii]. Region. Tsentr po izucheniyu i sokhraneniyu bioraznoobraziya; Volgogradskoe otd. Rus. entomol. obshch., Volgograd, pp. 178–195.
Ruzsky, M. D. (1903) Essay on the myrmecofauna of the Kirghiz steppe [Ocherk mirmekologicheskoy fauny Kirgizskoy stepi]. Proceedings of the Russian Entomological Society [Trudy Russkago Entomologicheskago Obshchestva], 36, 294-316.
Ruzsky, M. D. (1905) The ants of Russia. (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Systematics, geography and data on the biology of Russian ants. Part I. [Murav'i Rossii (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Sistematika, geografija i dannye po biologii russkikh murav'ev. Chast' 1]. Trudy Obshchestva Estestvoispytatelei pri Imperatorskom Kazanskom Universitete, 38, 1-800.
Ruzsky, M. D. (1907) The ants of Russia. (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Systematics, geography and data on the biology of Russian ants. Part II [Murav'i Rossii (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Sistematika, geografija i dannye po biologii russkikh murav'ev. Chast' 2]. Trudy Obshchestva Estestvoispytatelei pri Imperatorskom Kazanskom Universitete, 40, 1-122.

Konstantin Grebennikov, 2020.02.14

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