Wasmannia rochai Forel 1912

Myrmicinae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker lateral view

Additional images: Lectotype worker (click here).

Queen: face view (small, large), lateral view (small, large), petiole (small, large).


Guatemala to Brazil (SP). Costa Rica: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands.


Petiolar node rounded, with sloping anterior and posterior faces, and without sharply differentiated dorsal face; first gastral tergite with abundant erect setae; dorsal setae on mesosoma curved and clavate; head relatively short, CI 0.95-1.00; propodeal spines short and directed posteriorly; eyes short (OI 0.21-0.24).

Similar species: sigmoidea.

Natural History

This species inhabits the canopy of lowland rainforest (at least in Costa Rica). It is rare in Costa Rica, although its superficial similarity to W. auropunctata may result in its being overlooked in a sea of the latter species. A few Costa Rican collections are known. Phil Ward collected workers and a dealate queen (PSW#7628; ex epiphyte mass [ferns, orchids, moss] on fallen dead branch of unidentified tree [possibly Pouteria]) at Carara Biological Reserve. JTL collected a lone dealate queen in a canopy tree at Sirena in Corcovado National Park. The ALAS projected collected the first specimens from the Atlantic slope. Workers were collected in a Malaise trap at the 300m site (Cantarrana) on the Barva Transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park. The species has been collected multiple times on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, where it is a relatively common part of the canopy ant fauna (Mike Kaspari pers. comm.).


The syntype workers from CearŠ are slightly larger than workers from Panama and Costa Rica, but with similar proportions. The differences between rochai and sigmoidea are subtle but consistent. Compared to sigmoidea, rochai is smaller, with a relatively shorter and broader head. The propodeal spines are shorter and are directed posteriorly, instead of upturned in sigmoidea. The setae on the face, mesosoma, and gaster are more curved, appearing shorter than the setae of sigmoidea because of the greater curvature. They are also more clavate, swelling noticeably at the tips. In some specimens of rochai the outer margin of the antennal scrobe is weakly defined, approaching the condition seen in affinis and lutzi. However, the face sculpture of rochai is always much more feeble than the coarse reticulate rugose sculpture on affinis and lutzi (Longino and FernŠndez 2007).

Kempf (1972) recorded the range of rochai as Panama, the Guianas, Trinidad, and six Brazilian states from CearŠ south to S„o Paulo. Given the prior uncertainty of species differences among affinis, lutzi, rochai, and sigmoidea, earlier determinations should be treated cautiously pending reexamination of existing material. We have examined material from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Brazil (Amazonas, Bahia, CearŠ, and S„o Paulo states).

Literature Cited

Longino, J. T., and F. FernŠndez C. 2007. A taxonomic review of the genus Wasmannia. Pages 271-289 in R. R. Snelling, B. L. Fisher, and P. S. Ward, editors. Advances In Ant Systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage To E. O. Wilson ≠ 50 Years Of Contributions. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 80.

Page authors:

John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA. longinoj@evergreen.edu

Fernando FernŠndez, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Apartado 7495, BogotŠ D.C., COLOMBIA

Date of this version: 26 September 2007.
Previous versions of this page: 22 March 2003
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