Other Common Names
Dracula Ants, in reference to adults gaining nourishment by biting at designated spots on the cuticle of last instar larvae to obtain haemolymph.
Most English-speaking myrmecologists say AM-bleeopone. Those wishing to be understood by non-English speakers may say am-bleh-OH-poh-neh.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
NA spp. used to be treated for some time in Amblyopone
53 valid species worldwide as of 2020.
3 spp. in our area:
Pacific NW distribution, from northern CA to southern BC
Our most widespread species, from SE Canada across the entire eastern US. Rarely seen in the southwestern states, not found in states west of the 100th meridian and north of CO.
Very rare, one worker collected from NC in 1948 and another worker photographed in 2008.
4-5 mm (queens 4.5-5.5 mm)
Straight or gently curved clypeal margin is armed with a "saw edge" of (sometimes minutely bidenticulate) teeth, actually dentifom setae.
Mandibles elongate with bidenticulate teeth.
Petiole broadly attached posteriorly to remainder of gaster.
across NA south of the Subarctic
Most often found in spring and fall, when near-surface temperatures are close to their thermal preferendum
Apparently, the preferred food is geophilimorph centipedes, which they effectively subdue, not withstanding the gluey defensive secrietions of these much larger and squirmy arthropods (Trager, pers. observation). But, other elongate, "wiggly" prey such as other centipedes and elaterid larvae, are also taken. Prey is grasped with the ants' toothy mouthparts, underground in narrow burrows, and then stung with the formidable aculeus, which is nearly as long as the entire gaster when exserted.
Mating flights occur during the cool months, September to April throughout their broad range, but obviousl, not in winter in cooler regions.
This genus and some Prionoplta are part of an ancient lineage of ants, long included in Ponerinae, but now separated into their own subfamily.