Wasmannia sigmoidea (Mayr, in Radoszkowsky 1884)

Myrmicinae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker lateral view

Additional images: Lectotype worker click here. Worker from 500m site on Barva transect, lateral view (small, large). Queen described by Forel click here.


French Guiana (type locality), Venezuela, Costa Rica, Antilles (St. Vincent), Puerto Rico.


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 and gaster straight to weakly curved, thin, not clavate; head relatively long, CI about 0.90; propodeal spines relatively long and upturned; eyes relatively large (OI 0.26).

Similar species: rochai.

Natural History

This species appears to prefer open or disturbed areas, but the Costa Rican records are few. David Olson collected workers during his study of Winkler and Pitfall trap sampling methods at La Selva Biological Station (Olson 1991, as Wasmannia sp.1). This was the only known collection from La Selva, in spite of intensive inventory effort there (Longino et al. 2002), until an August, 2004 collection of workers and alate queens from the rootball of a palm tree in the laboratory clearing. Workers have occurred sparsely in samples from the Project ALAS expeditions to the 300m and 500m sites on the Barva Transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park. They have been from Malaise traps, flight intercept traps, sweep samples, and occasionally Berlese samples.


Wasmannia sigmoidea is the second oldest name in the genus and poorly characterized prior to Longino and Fernandez (2007). Forel (1893) identified material from St. Vincent island in the Antilles as W. sigmoidea, and described the queen and male. We have not been able to examine the workers of this collection, but the queens match queens of sigmoidea from Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.

Kempf (1972) gives the range of sigmoidea as Guianas, Antilles St. Vincent, Grenada, and Santa Catarina state of Brazil. The Guianas are listed because of the type locality in French Guiana and some Surinam specimens he tentatively identified as sigmoidea (Kempf 1961). The St. Vincent record is based on Forel's publication. We do not know the basis of the Grenada record. The Santa Catarina record is based on a published record by Mayr (1887), which is a misidentification of specimens of affinis (see under affinis). We have examined abundant material from Puerto Rico, multiple collections from Costa Rica, and a collection from Guarico state in Venezuela. Thus the current known range of sigmoidea is circumcaribbean.

Literature Cited

Forel, A. 1893. Formicides de l'Antille St. Vincent, récoltées par Mons. H. H. Smith. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1893:333-418.

Kempf, W. W. 1961. A survey of the ants of the soil fauna in Surinam (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 4:481-524.

Kempf, W. W. 1972. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da Regiăo Neotropical. Studia Entomologica 15:3-344.

Longino, J. T., R. K. Colwell & Coddington, J. A. 2002. The ant fauna of a tropical rainforest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83:689-702.

Longino, J. T., and F. Fernández 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.

Mayr, G. 1887. Südamerikanische Formiciden. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 37:511-632.

Olson, D. M. 1991. A comparison of the efficacy of litter sifting and pitfall traps for sampling leaf litter ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in a tropical wet forest. Biotropica 23:166-172.

Radoszkowsky, O. 1884. Fourmis de Cayenne Française. Trudy Russkago Entomologicheskago Obshchestva 18:30-39.

Page authors:

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

Fernando Fernández, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Apartado 7495, Bogotá D.C., COLOMBIA

Date of this version: 26 September 2007.
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