|Tetramorium auropunctatum, now Wasmannia auropunctata|
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)
Cuezzo and Calcaterra (2015) - The genus Wasmannia is mostly endemic to the Neotropics, with eleven species occurring from Argentina to Mexico. The little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata is the most widely distributed species of the genus, being present from central-eastern Argentina north to the Caribbean and Bermuda (Wetterer & Porter, 2003). It has spread fairly recently throughout Pacific and Atlantic islands, and the Mediterranean region (e.g. Israel), and has become a serious pest in Hawaii and the Galapagos, disrupting agricultural practices and threatening wildlife (Foucaud et al., 2010).
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Morphology
- 6 Nomenclature
- 7 References
Cuezzo and Calcaterra (2015) - All species of Wasmannia are small ants that can be differentiated from Blepharidatta and Allomerus by 1) having shallow, always well-developed antennal scrobes, 2) posterior margin of the vertex not pronounced as lobes or teeth (as in Blepharidatta), 3) petiolar node with a distinct anterior and dorsal face, and 4) irregularly striated head, at least in part, in full face view (Longino & Fernandez, 2007).
Besides these characters, the eight known species of Allomerus inhabit internal cavities of plants and have the propodeum unarmed to bidentate. The well-developed spines between the dorsal and posterior face of the propodeum, so typical of Wasmannia, are absent in Allomerus. The body of workers in Allomerus is always smooth and shining, resembling more a small Solenopsis than a worker of Wasmannia.
Keys including this Genus
Keys to Species in this Genus
Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps
Cuezzo et al. (2015) - The only species widely distributed in Argentina is the little fire ant, W. auropunctata, while the other four recorded species are rare and/or inconspicuous. The distribution of the W. auropunctata known from previous studies by Kusnezov (1952), Kempf (1972), Cuezzo (1998), and Fuentes et al.(1998) (Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Corrientes, Chaco, Formosa, Tucumán, Jujuy, Salta and Misiones) was extended in this work to the provinces of Santiago del Estero, Catamarca, and La Rioja. W. auropunctata was not found in natural/native habitats of the Monte ecoregion, nor in the Patagonian ecoregion (L.A.C., unpublished data). The finding of W. auropunctata in Lozano (southern Buenos Aires province, 34º51´S) extends the known range 100 km further south than previously recorded in northeastern Buenos Aires (Reserva Natural Otamendi; 34º13’S) (Fuentes et al., 1998).
The other four species found in Argentina (W. sulcaticeps, W. rochai, W. williamsoni, and W. longiseta n. sp.) were much less common than W. auropunctata, and they were mostly present in natural and/or disturbed habitats. W. sulcaticeps was recorded for the first time for Corrientes and Catamarca provinces; it was previously known only from Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Córdoba, Tucumán, Salta, and Jujuy provinces (Cuezzo, 1998; Vittar & Cuezzo, 2008). Although intensive surveys were conducted at multiple sites and in different biogeographic regions of Argentina, W. williamsoni was only found in central-eastern Argentina, suggesting it may be a relict endemic species. W. williamsoni was more common in the Parque Provincial Ernest Tornquist. This park protects several rare and endemic species of the Ventania mountainous system (Sellés-Martínez, 2001), which originates from the Tertiary period (around 22 million years ago). This could be the case of W. williamsoni, which is mostly restricted to this region and seems to show very small populations confined mainly to a specific habitat type. According to Longino & Fernández (2007), W. williamsoni and W. sulcaticeps are two related species that occur at the far southern limit of distribution of the genus and, as stated by Kusnezov (1952), could be the most primitive members of the genus, acting in the present as relicts. It is important to note that both species overlapped with W. auropunctata (more commonly in the lowlands) between approximately 400 and 1000 m elevation.
Association with Other Organisms
All Associate Records for Genus
|Taxon||Relationship||Associate Type||Associate Taxon||Associate Relationship||Locality||Source||Notes|
|Wasmannia auropunctata||host||eucharitid wasp||Orasema minutissima||parasite||Mann, 1918; Heraty, 1994; Wetterer & Porter, 2003; Burks et al., 2018; Baker et al., 2019; Heraty et al., 2021; Universal Chalcidoidea Database||primary host|
|Wasmannia sigmoidea||host||eucharitid wasp||Orasema minutissima||parasite||Mann, 1918; Heraty, 1994; Wetterer & Porter, 2003; Burks et al., 2018; Baker et al., 2019; Universal Chalcidoidea Database||primary host|
Life History Traits
- Mean colony size: 839 (Greer et al., 2021)
- Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
- Nest site: hypogaeic; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
- Diet class: omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
- Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
- Foraging behaviour: cooperative (Greer et al., 2021)
• Antennal segment count: 11 • Antennal club: 2 • Palp formula: 3,2 • Spur formula: 0, 0 • Eyes: 11-100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: present • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent
• Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 3,2 • Total dental count 5 • Spur formula 0, 0
All Karyotype Records for Genus
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.
- WASMANNIA [Myrmicinae: Blepharidattini]
- Wasmannia Forel, 1893g: 383. Type-species: Tetramorium auropunctatum, by subsequent designation of Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 174.
- Wasmannia senior synonym of Hercynia: Brown, 1948d: 102.
- HERCYNIA [junior synonym of Wasmannia]
- Hercynia Enzmann, J. 1947a: 43. Type-species: Hercynia panamana (junior synonym of Tetramorium auropunctatum), by monotypy.
- Hercynia junior synonym of Wasmannia: Brown, 1948d: 102.
- Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 383, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Stenammini)
- Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 100, 102, 105, Wasmannia as genus; Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Blepharidattini)
- Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 201, Wasmannia as genus; Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Blepharidattini)
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1948e. A preliminary generic revision of the higher Dacetini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 74: 101-129 (page 102, Wasmannia senior synonnym of Hercynia)
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1973b. A comparison of the Hylean and Congo-West African rain forest ant faunas. Pp. 161-185 in: Meggers, B. J., Ayensu, E. S., Duckworth, W. D. (eds.) Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Wash (page 185, Wasmannia provisional junior synonym of Ochetomyrmex)
- Cuezzo, F., Calcaterra, L.A., Chifflet, L. & Follett, P. 2015. Wasmannia Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae) in Argentina: Systematics and distribution. Sociobiology. 62:246-265. doi:10.13102/sociobiology.v62i2.246-265
- Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 770, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Attini)
- Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 42, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Ochetomyrmecini)
- Emery, C. 1924f . Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 293, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Ochetomyrmecini)
- Forel, A. 1893j. Formicides de l'Antille St. Vincent, récoltées par Mons. H. H. Smith. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1893: 333-418 (page 383, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae)
- Forel, A. 1895b. A fauna das formigas do Brazil. Bol. Mus. Para. Hist. Nat. Ethnogr. 1: 89-139 (page 126, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Myrmicini)
- Forel, A. 1899d. Formicidae. [part]. Biol. Cent.-Am. Hym. 3: 25-56 (page 54, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Myrmicini)
- Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 245, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Ochetomyrmecini)
- Jaffe, K. 1993. El mundo de las hormigas. Baruta, Venezuela: Equinoccio (Ediciones de la Universidad Simón Bolívar), 188 pp. (page 12, Wasmannia incertae sedis in Myrmicinae)
- Kempf, W. W. 1975c. Miscellaneous studies on neotropical ants. VI. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. 18: 341-380 (page 357, Wasmannia valid genus; Wasmannia incertae sedis in Myrmicinae)
- Longino, J.T. & Fernández, F. 2007. Taxonomic review of the genus Wasmannia (pp. 271-289). In Snelling, R.R., Fisher, B.L. & Ward, P.S. (eds). Advances in ant systematics: homage to E.O. Wilson – 50 years of contributions. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 80: 690 pp PDF
- Richter, A., Hita Garcia, F., Keller, R.A., Billen, J., Economo, E.P., Beutel, R.G. 2020. Comparative analysis of worker head anatomy of Formica and Brachyponera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 78(1), 133–170 (doi:10.26049/ASP78-1-2020-06).
- Snelling, R. R. 1981. Systematics of social Hymenoptera. Pp. 369-453 in: Hermann, H. R. (ed.) Social insects. Volume 2. New York: Academic Press, xiii + 491 pp. (page 398, Wasmannia valid genus)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 141, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Tetramoriini)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1911g. A list of the type species of the genera and subgenera of Formicidae. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 21: 157-175 (page 174, Type-species: Tetramorium auropunctatum, by subsequent designation)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 664, Wasmannia in Myrmicinae, Ochetomyrmecini)