Social parasitism in ants is the coexistence of two or more ant species in one nest or colony, whereby the parasitic species lives dependence of one or several host species. There are different forms of social parasitism ranging from short term guests to downright slavery.
With more than 380 species the genus Temnothorax is one of the largest in the ant subfamily Myrmicinae. Social parasitism is often encountered in this group of ants and parasitic species were usually described in different genera. This is different this time. The new species was found in the colony of one of its sister species (Temnothorax antigoni).
The name of the new species refers to the length of some tiny bristles on its body.
For the experts: Temnothorax antigoni (Forel, 1911) is redescribed basing on a new material from southwestern Turkey (Antalya province), Lesbos and Rhodes (Greece, Aegean and Dodecanese islands). The gyne of this species is described for the first time. Temnothorax curtisetosus, a new species of social parasite collected in a nest of T. antigoni, is described. Colour photos of both taxa are given. A key to the worker caste of the eastern Mediterranean species belonging to both T. recedens and T. muellerianus groups are provided.