New Trap-Jaw Ant Species: Daceton boltoni

Daceton boltoni Azorsa & Sosa-Calvo 2008
Iquitos, Peru

If I had to make a list of the most beautiful ants in the world, the honey-colored trap-jaw ant Daceton armigerum would be near the top. Daceton is an unmistakable insect: large, graceful, spiny, with bulging eyes and a heart-shaped head. They live in the canopy of Amazonian rain forests and, like several other canopy ants, are able to glide back to a tree trunk if dislodged from their foraging trails. As the impressive jaws suggest, these ants are largely predatory.

Daceton has been known to myrmecologists by a single species, D. armigerum. Until today, that is. Frank Azorsa and Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo are reporting a second, new species of Daceton in this morning’s Zootaxa. Daceton boltoni is rather similar in appearance to D. armigerum but is hairier and has stouter, thicker mandibles. A bit brutish, at first glance. And as Daceton boltoni apparently lacks the gliding skills of its better-known sibling species, the new species is clumsy too.  Ah, well.  Every family has its black sheep.

Source: Azorsa, F., Sosa-Calvo, J. 2008. Description of a remarkable new species of ant in the genus Daceton Perty (Formicidae: Dacetini) from South America. Zootaxa 1749: 27-38.

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