Opamyrma hungvuong Yamane et al 2008
Vietnam

It isn’t every day we get a whole new genus. In this week’s Zootaxa, Seiki Yamane, Tuan Vet Bui, and Katsuyuki Eguchi report the discovery of Opamyrma, an amblyoponine ant from central Vietnam. The full article is behind Zootaxa’s subscription barrier, but detailed specimen photos are already up at Antweb.

The ant subfamily Amblyoponinae is an ancient group. They diverged from the other ant lineages prior to the evolution of trophallaxis food-sharing behavior, and have instead adopted an odd and seemingly brutal way of passing food around the colony. Adult ants pierce the skin of the larvae with their jaws and drink the haemolymph. This behavior has lead to the common name “Dracula Ants” for the Amblyoponinae, and it is likely that Opamyrma engages in it as well.

Where the natural history is known, amblyoponine species are predatory. Judging from the stinger, Opamyrma must be too.

source: Yamane et al. 2008. Opamyrma hungvuong, a new genus and species of ant related to Apomyrma (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Amblyoponinae). Zootaxa 1767: 55-63.