Pachycondyla stigma (Fabricius 1804)

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker lateral view


USA (Florida) to northern Argentina, widespread in Caribbean, oceanic islands throughout the tropics, New Guinea, Indonesia. Costa Rica: common in wet lowland habitats, including mangroves, usually in open or disturbed areas.


Opening of propodeal spiracle viewed perpendicularly slit-shaped, more than twice as long as wide (spiracle is very small, and boss around spiracle is round, but actual orifice still slit-shaped); petiole scale-shaped, tapering dorsally to rounded summit; in lateral profile, posterior margin of anteroventral petiolar lobe broadly rounded; mandible with 6 teeth, basal and masticatory margins not well-differentiated; lateral wings of clypeus almost smoothly convex, with a weak transverse ridge, portion anterior to ridge flat to weakly concave, not strongly bent ventrad; head width about 1.2mm.

Similar species: cauta, cognata, gilloglyi.

Natural History

Pachycondyla stigma is well-known as a tramp species found throughout the world in the tropics. It is very widespread, and is able to colonize remote oceanic islands. It is extremely generalized with respect to nesting sites and habitats. I have collected it in mangrove swamps, banana plantations, and mature rainforest. It usually nests in dead wood or under loose bark. Nests may occur at ground level, in the low arboreal zone, or in the canopy. Colonies are small and inconspicuous.

This nest observation is from Corcovado National Park: In canopy of tall Licania (Chrysobalanaceae) tree. Nesting in rotten wood protruding from a knothole. The material was humus-like, covered with moss. The nest was in the form of small, inter-connected chambers, each about the size and shape of half a peanut shell, containing 5-10 larvae of varying sizes, some with 3-4 pupae.

Type Data

Formica stigma Fabricius 1804:400. Syntype queen: South America.

Ponera succedanea Roger 1863:170. Syntype worker, queen, male: Cuba. Probable junior synonym (Snelling, pers. comm.)

Literature Cited

Fabricius, J. C. 1804. Systema Piezatorum secundum ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Brunswick: C. Reichard, xiv + 15-439 + 30pp. Ants - p. 395-428.

Roger, J. 1863. Die neu aufgefuehrten Gattungen und Arten meines Formiciden-Verzeichnisses nebst Erganzung einiger frueher gegebenen Beschreibungen. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7:131-214.

Page author:

John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505

Date of this version: 1 April 2006.
Previous versions of this page: 3 April 1999
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