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Fire Ant? - Brachyponera chinensis

Fire Ant? - Brachyponera chinensis
Newport News, Virginia, USA
October 18, 2005
Size: Approx. 0.5 cm.
Is this a species of fire ant? I have been bitten/stung by several of these ants and in some cases the bite has swollen to the size of a quarter and itched for days even after the swelling went down after a few hours. If this is a fire ant, how does its venom compare to that of other species? Any help with ID is appreciated!

Images of this individual: tag all
Fire Ant? - Brachyponera chinensis Fire Ant? - Brachyponera chinensis

Moved from Ponerinae based on Richard Vernier's comments below.

Joshua S. Rose, Ph.D.
World Birding Center
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
956-584-9156 x 236

Pachycondyla chinensis - worker(s) (Ponerinae)
One more introduced species - from Eastern Asia as its species name indicates. I could find out this mysterious Ponerine ant, too large and leggy to be a Ponera or Hypoponera sp., thanks to the online resource indicated by Mr. Jeff Hollenbeck about Platythyrea punctata (see this species).
Two other, native North-American species of Pachycondyla (formerly Brachyponera) also exist, but only P. chinenis goes as far North as Virginia.

P. chinensis now known as far as New York state, including NY City and a location just a few miles form the Connecticut border, so really spreading up (and down) the East Coast from its orignal area of introduction in North Carolina.

Thanks for your help with ID!

I've been stung by fire ants several times,
and the sting is not only painful, but always raises a distinctive white pustule (forgive unpleasant detail) in the middle of the reddened swollen area. I believe this is the usual result and one way to identify them. Google "fire ant sting" images (if you have a strong stomach).

sure looks like
Appears to be Solenopsis sp. alright - one of our native ones though, not the infamous introduced variety - S. invicta. That one may well be in Newport News by now, or could be soon.

I disagree, say Ponerinae.
This is not even in the same subfamily as Solenopsis. This specimen has only one node between the thorax and abdomen (the "hump" easily visible in the image). I'm thinking it's a ponerine, as they can sting vicously, too. Solenopsis, in the subfamily Myrmicinae, has two nodes, so it looks much more linear. Fire ants also do not get that large:-)

Thought I saw two humps. I'm guessing S. invicta is in SE Virginia now though, since I have some of the obligate Scarab Aphodiines - Martineziella dutertrei from there.

Martineziana dutertrei
Keep your eyes out for Martineziana dutertrei also.

Comes to light - very distinctive looking sp.

Check this out.
I wanted to double check, so I went to look at the images of both Solenopsis and various Ponerinae at: That website is fantastic in helping ID ants:-)

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