Answer to the Monday Mystery: Stigmatomma pallipes

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:

Stigmatomma pallipes, alate females (South Bristol, New York, USA)

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.


3 thoughts on “Answer to the Monday Mystery: Stigmatomma pallipes”

  1. No Way! That did not look like a Stigmatomma to me. Congratulations on that one, James! (I am cracking up, what a wild looking specimen you photographed!)

  2. I clearly remember my first encounter with Stigmatomma pallipes. As a new grad student, I turned over a rock in the Blue Ridge Mountains and found a small group of workers. For some reason I didn’t dump them in alcohol. I noticed one looked a little different, and back in my office at NCSU I open the vial to transfer them to another container, but the different one adeptly flew away! It was a wasp colored like S. pallipes, with the abdomen perhaps a little redder. Has anyone found wasps associated with this ant?

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