Monday Night Mystery: The Plunder


This photograph shows ants with ant brood.

Your challenge is not to identify the adult ants. In a fit of generosity, I’ll tell you what they are: Eciton hamatum army ants. No, your challenge is to identify the immature ants in that impressive brood pile. Hint: they are not Eciton.

Army ants sometimes stash prey in temporary caches before carrying it to the bivouac for their own hungry larvae to consume. This photo shows a cache we uncovered during our insect photo workshop last month in Belize. So, what are these army ants eating?

I will award 5 Myrmecos points for the first correct guesses of the identity of the prey ants.

The cumulative points winner across all mysteries for the month of October will win their choice of 1) any 8×10-sized print from my insect photography galleries, or 2) a guest post here on Myrmecos.

Good luck!


15 thoughts on “Monday Night Mystery: The Plunder”

  1. I see Pachycondyla and Pheidole (major worker) pupae, and even alate pupae which could also be Pachycondyla.

    1. I think that the individual that Dave thought to be a Pachycondyla is actually a queen of the same Dolichoderus species. I first agreed with him, but the gaster is dolichoderoid.

    2. I’d put my two cents on Dolichoderus too—you can really see the finely serrate mandibles on some of the older pupae (not too many dolichoderine genera in Belize with both masticatory and basal margins serrate). Also, to my eyes, D. lutosus is a good guess!

  2. Never known Camponotus to not spin cocoons, or any Formicinae ants for that matter, but they lack a second node on their Petiole…so they are not a Myrmicinae species either. I have broken it down to a Dolichoderinae species. To me they look like Liometopum….and i don’t believe that large pupa to be a major worker either, but rather an alate, you can see the wing stubs. I am only familiar with a few species of them…..perhaps Liometopum luctuosum?

  3. I’ll second the comments above pointing to Azteca, but only because a few posts back on Sept. 21, Alex showed us a photo from Belize of Azteca guards pinning down an army ant, so perhaps this was shot nearby.

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