Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Subfamily Amblyoponinae - Dracula Ants

Stigmatomma pallipes - dealated queen - Stigmatomma pallipes - female Unknown Wingless Wasp? (Or Ant?) - Stigmatomma pallipes Stigmatomma pallipes - female Stigmatomma pallipes - female vampire ant - Stigmatomma pallipes - female Groom of Dracula - Stigmatomma pallipes - male Stigmatomma pallipes Stigmatomma - Stigmatomma pallipes - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Formicoidea (Ants)
Family Formicidae (Ants)
Subfamily Amblyoponinae (Dracula Ants)
Explanation of Names
The common name "dracula ants" was coined because many species in this primitive subfamily have been observed to engage in larval hemolymph feeding, due to lacking the regurgitative behavior needed for social food transfer found in higher ants. This larval blood drinking is not exclusive to Amblyoponinae as it has been observed in some other primitive ant subfamilies, but it appears to be most common in this group of ants.
Numbers
5 spp. in the US:
Stigmatomma
Pacific NW distribution, from northern CA to southern BC. Overlaps with S. pallipes in north CA but is locally larger and has a different clypeus.
Our most widespread species, from SE Canada across the entire eastern US. Rarely seen in the southwestern states, not found in states that are both west of the 100th meridian and north of CO.
Very rare, one worker collected from NC in 1948 and another worker photographed in 2008.
Prionopelta
Restricted range but well established, seems to have been introduced in the early-mid 1900s (first collected in FL in 1957). All collections in the US from around Ocala NF, FL.
Fulakora
Collected once in the US near Portal AZ at the SWRS in 2003. More common in tropical Central America.
Remarks
From Ant Web:
As newly defined by Bolton (2003), this ant subfamily (formerly considered a tribe within Ponerinae) is characterized by the following worker characters: eyes small or absent, situated behind midlength of side of head; anterior margin of clypeus with specialized dentiform setae; promesonotal suture flexible; petiole very broadly attached to abdominal segment 3 and without a distinct posterior face; postpetiole absent; sting present and well developed.
Print References
Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and classification of Formicidae. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 71: 1-370.
Internet References
classification designating Amblyoponinae as a subfamily of Formicidae (Alex Wild, myrmecos.net)