What was last night’s oddly unplaceable waspy insect?
The female of the species, photographed at the same location in upstate New York, is more commonly recognized:
Points are awarded as follows:
2 to Guillaume D for guessing the order (Hymenoptera).
5 to Boud for guessing the family (Formicidae), and the sex (male), along with an extra point for being the first to the subfamily (Amblyoponinae).
4 to James Trager for getting the correct genus and species, Stigmatomma pallipes.
Stigmatomma pallipes is one of my favorite ants. North American myrmecologists must remember their first field encounter with this unusual animal. The initial impression is not antlike at all, but of a small, stubby worm. Its movements are sluggish. The segments of the elongate abdomen are visible. And the long, thin, toothy mandibles are unlike anything else in our fauna. And as you’ve seen from last night’s mystery, males of Stigmatomma pallipes are themselves more generically wasp-ish in appearance than those of most other ants.