Sphecomyrminae is an extinct subfamily of ants in family Formicidae
known from a series of
Cretaceous fossils found in North America,
Europe, and Asia.
Sphecomyrminae contains ten genera, divided into
two tribes, Haidomyrmecini and Sphecomyrmini. The tribe
Haidomyrmecini contains the four genera Ceratomyrmex, Haidomyrmex,
Haidoterminus and Linguamyrmex, while Sphecomyrmini
contains Baikuris, Cretomyrma, Dlusskyidris, Sphecomyrma, and
Zigrasimecia. The genus
Sphecomyrmodes was formerly placed
into Sphecomyrmini; however, in 2016, it was made a synonym of the
stem group genus Gerontoformica, which is considered incertae sedis in
Sphecomyrminae is the most basal of the
Formicidae subfamilies, but
has not been included in several recent phylogenetic studies of the
family. Symplesiomorphies of the subfamily include the structure of
the antenna, which has a short basal segment and a flexible group of
segments below the antenna tip. The petiole is low and rounded, with
an unrestricted gaster and the presence of a metapleural gland. The
subfamily is characterized by three major synapomorphies, the short
pedicel, a second flagellar segment that is double the length of the
other antenna segments, and the loss of the apical end of the CuA
veins in the wings of adult males.
1 History and classification
2 Tribes and genera
4 External links
History and classification
Haidomyrmodes mammathus, is known
from fossil insects that are inclusions in transparent chunks of
French amber. The genus was first described by paleoentomologists
Vincent Perrichot and André Nel in 2008. The sister genus,
Haidomyrmex, is more diverse with three described species, Haidomyrmex
Haidomyrmex scimitarus and
Haidomyrmex zigrasi, all
described from fossils in Burmese amber. While the type specimen of
Haidomyrmex cerberus was collected in the early 1900s and deposited in
the Natural History Museum in London, a description of the specimen
did not occur until 1996 with a paper by the Russian paleoentomologist
Gennady M. Dlussky. Both H. scimitarus and H. zigrasi were described
in the same 2012 paper by Phillip Barden and David Grimaldi. The
third genus, Haidoterminus, and its single species, Haidoterminus
cippus, were described in 2013 from Canadian amber. This extended the
age range for the tribe by an additional 20 million years into the
Cretaceous and expanded the geographic range into North
In the sphecomyrmins,
Baikuris is known from four species. Both B.
mandibularis, and B. miriabilis were described in 1987 by Dlussky from
a group of fossil males found in Taymyr amber while the third species,
B. casei, was described in 1997 from New Jersey amber. A fourth
species was described from Charentes amber as B. maximus. Both
Cretomyrma species, C. arnoldii and C. unicornis are also described
from Taymyr amber specimens, with their descriptions being published
by Dlussky in 1975. In the same descriptive paper as Cretomyrma was
another new monotypic genus, which Dlussky named "Palaeomyrmex";
however, this name was already preoccupied by Palaeomyrmex, which
Oswald Heer described in 1865, and the Taymyr amber genus was given a
new name, Dlusskyidris, in 1994 by B. Bolton. Fossils belonging to
the subfamily were first discovered in exposures of the Santonian
Magothy Formation at
Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey
Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey in 1966. The fossils
were described in 1967 by
Edward O. Wilson
Edward O. Wilson and William L. Brown, who
placed the new genus
Sphecomyrma and species
Sphecomyrma freyi into
the new subfamily Sphecomyrminae. A second species of Sphecomyrma
was described by Wilson in 1985 based on fossils found in Canadian
amber from the
Foremost Formation in Alberta. The third known
species, S. mesaki was described in 2005 from New Jersey amber of the
The eighth genus of the subfamily, Zigrasimecia, was studied by Barden
and Grimaldi with its description being published in 2013. The genus
contains the type species
Zigrasimecia tonsora, which is known from a
solitary dealate female preserved in Burmese amber. While noting the
close relationship between
Zigrasimecia and Sphecomyrmodes, Barden and
Grimaldi did not specifically place
Zigrasimecia into any
Sphecomyrminae tribe. In a later publication, Perrichot (2014)
described the second species of Zigrasimecia, Z. ferox, and placed
this genus in the tribe Sphecomyrmini.
Tribes and genera
A 2017 study recognized three tribes, Haidomyrmecini, Sphecomyrmini,
and Zigrasimeciini and included the genera formerly placed in
Armaniidae within the tribe Sphecomyrmini.
Sphecomyrminae Wilson & Brown, 1967
Haidomyrmecini Bolton, 2003
Ceratomyrmex Perrichot, Wang & Engel, 2016
Haidomyrmex Dlussky, 1996
Haidomyrmodes Perrichot, Nel, et al., 2008
Haidoterminus McKellar, Glasier & Engel, 2013
Linguamyrmex Barden & Grimaldi, 2017
Sphecomyrmini Wilson, Carpenter & Brown, 1967
Armania Dlussky, 1983
Baikuris Dlussky, 1987
Cretomyrma Dlussky, 1975
Dlusskyidris Bolton, 1994
Orapia Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, 2004
Pseudarmania Dlussky, 1983
Sphecomyrma Wilson & Brown, 1967
Zigrasimeciini Borysenko, 2017
Boltonimecia Borysenko, 2017
Zigrasimecia Barden & Grimaldi, 2013
^ a b c d e Grimaldi, D.; Agosti, D.; Carpenter, J. M. (1997). "New
and rediscovered primitive ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in
Cretaceous amber from New Jersey, and their phylogenetic
relationships" (PDF). American Museum Novitates. 3208: 1–43.
^ a b c d e Perrichot, V.; Nel, A.; Néraudeau, D.; Lacau, S.; Guyot,
T. (2008). "New fossil ants in French
Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptera:
Formicidae)" (PDF). Naturwissenschaften. 95 (2): 91–97.
doi:10.1007/s00114-007-0302-7. PMID 17828384.
^ a b McKellar, R. C.; Glasier, J. R. N.; Engel, M. S. (2013). "A new
trap-jawed ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Haidomyrmecini) from Canadian
Cretaceous amber". Canadian Entomologist. 145: 454–465.
^ a b Barden, P.; Grimaldi, D. (2013). "A New Genus of Highly
Specialized Ants in
Formicidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3681 (4): 405–412.
doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3681.4.5. PMID 25232618.
^ Barden, P.; Grimaldi, D.A. (2016). "Adaptive radiation in socially
advanced stem-group ants from the Cretaceous". Current Biology. 26
(4): 515–521. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.060.
^ Barden, P; Herhold, H. W.; Grimaldi, D. A. (2017). "A new genus of
hell ants from the
Cretaceous (Hymenoptera: Formicidae:
Haidomyrmecini) with a novel head structure". Systematic Entomology.
42 (4): 837–846. doi:10.1111/syen.12253.
^ Barden, P.; Grimaldi, D. (2012). "Rediscovery of the bizarre
Haidomyrmex Dlussky (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with two
new species" (PDF). American Museum Novitates. 3755: 1–16.
^ Perrichot, V (2015). "A new species of
Formicidae: Sphecomyrminae) in mid-
Cretaceous amber from France".
Cretaceous Research. 52: 585–590.
^ USGS Magothy Formation entry
^ Wilson, E. O.; Carpenter, F. M.; Brown, W. L. (1966). "The First
Mesozoic Ant, with the Description of a New Subfamily" (PDF). Psyche.
74 (1): 1–19. doi:10.1155/1967/89604. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
^ Vincent Perrichot (2014). "A new species of the
Zigrasimecia based on the worker caste reveals placement of the genus
Sphecomyrminae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)". Myrmecological News.
^ Borysenko, L.H. (2017). "Description of a new genus of primitive
ants from Canadian amber, with the study of relationships between
stem- and crown-group ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)". Insecta Mundi.
Media related to
Sphecomyrminae at Wikimedia Commons
List of ant genera