Brazil Bugs #9 – Formiga hostil


I found this ant crawling over the blossoms of the Ixora shrubs on the grounds of my hotel in Campinas (São Paulo state). Normally I wouldn’t even try to identify a South American ant, but the individual quickly and easily keyed out in the recent revision of North American Formicidae to Formica nigra – apparently a very wide-ranging species!¹

¹ Seriously, I would welcome input from any myrmecophiles out there on the actual identity of this species.

As I started taking some photographs, she seemed to take note of my presence.
With each shot, she seemed to become increasingly more irritated.
Irritation soon gave way to outright hostility.
In short order, the meaning was all too clear – “Stay away from my flower!”
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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13 Responses to Brazil Bugs #9 – Formiga hostil

  1. Henry Hespenheide suggests Ectatomma – seems a good match to these photos by Alex.

  2. Recent revision of North American formicidae?

  3. Francis says:

    Amazing pictures.

  4. TGIQ says:

    LOL! She is definitely giving you the ol’ stink-eye in that second pic! :-) Great series!

    • Thanks, TGIQ – amazing how you can see emotion in a rigid, chitinized face!

      • James C. Trager says:

        Those chitinous mandibles are quite expressive!

        This, btw, is the South Amercan species (not in your earlier key) Ectatomma brunneum, a synonym in your upcoming revision of Neotropical Formicidae of Formica grandebrunnea, I think.

        • Thanks for the ID, James – once Henry clued me in to Ectatomma and I looked at photos of the genus at AntWeb, I figured E. brunneum was the likely choice.

          Sure looks more nigrous than brunneus to me!

  5. troymullens says:

    Love the series of photos. Makes a nice story.

  6. Alex Wild says:

    Lovely shot of a lovely ant, Ted!

    I think Ectatomma is the photographer’s perfect ant. They are big, pretty, prone to sitting motionless, and they like to hang out in vegetation at a very comfortable eye-level.

    • Thanks, Alex. There’s some weird parallel universe thing going on here – we both go to South America this winter, and on the day you blog about beetles I blog about ants :)

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