Monday, September 18, 2006


Drawing by Christine Parent

I have just finished updating my Wasmannia page. Previously I had been using the Costa Rica key, which is somewhat helpful, but I knew I definitely had ants that weren't there. I had heard a new revision and key was coming out soon, but this has yet to actually appear. Luckily, I was able to talk to Jack Longino at the IUSSI conference and he kindly forwarded a copy of the new key to me. Happily, it was fairly straightforward and easy to use and I am confident in my identifications. My species list now has W. auropunctata, W. iheringi, W. lutzi, W. rochai, W. scrobifera, and W. sigmoidea. There is even a key to queens so I was able to identify those, too. Some notes:

W. auropunctata: this one is very easy to identify due to its strongly quadrate petiole (see picture above). Scrobifera also has a quadrate petiole but the clypeus shape is completely different (see below).

W. iheringi: I'm not positive, but I believe that the species which is currently labeled as JTL-001 on the Ants of Costa Rica site is iheringi. The petiolar peduncle is very long, there is no erect hair on the gaster. All of my specimens were collected from canopy fogging samples, including several queens.

W. lutzi: this species is closely related to affinis, which I did not collect. They both have scrobes which are wide and flat and reach all the way to the sides of their head. lutzi differs from affinis by having longer propodeal spines which are about as long as the space between them. Also the postpetiole is strongly punctate and opaque and more trapezoidal or quadrate than elliptical. Also it looks like it has only been collected from Brazil, so I guess my having found them in Ecuador is fairly significant. They were all collected from the canopy.

W. rochai: I only have a single specimen of this, collected from the canopy. It is similar to sigmoidea but is smaller, the propodeal spines are shorter and curved downwards, and the setae are more curved and a bit clavate.

W. scrobifera: Has a quadrate petiole like auropunctata but the clypeus looks completely different -- strongly projecting at a right angle. Scapes are flatter and setae are shorter than in auropunctata. My specimens were collected in the canopy and with winklers

W. sigmoidea: Similar to rochai but a little larger, propodeal spines are a little larger and upturned, setae are not as curved or clavate as rochai. I found myself having a little bit of trouble confusing the petioles for auropunctata, but they are not quite as quadrate and the anterior and dorsal faces meet in a more sloping manner. My specimens were collected in winklers, pitfalls, and hand collected.

There are tons of webpages and photos out there of Wasmannia auropunctata but almost nothing of any of the other species. Here are a few links:

Ants of Costa Rica species list

Original description of genus, partly in English

Original description of W. scrobifera

Some basic info on the genus from the Ants of North America

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