Amblyopone pallipes

Amblyopone pallipes - Full face view of head and habitus. Drawing by Holly K. Coovert.

A. pallipes is variable, but typically brown to very dark reddish-brown with mandibles, an­tennae, and legs yellowish-brown; tenerals (incompletely pigmented adults) common, paler, mottled with yellow­ish-brown; head and alitrunk distinctly sculptured (punc­tate), surface dull or only very weakly glossy; body with fine, short pubescence. This is the only species found in our area and is easily recognized by the characters given for the genus.

Slow-moving workers forage in leaf litter, under bark of logs, and under rocks, rarely, if ever, being found on the surface (hypogaeic). Females also forage for food during the period of nest founding which is an archaic habit in ants. Centipede prey is paralyzed by sting­ing, then brought back to the nest where it can be stored for some time (Holldobler & Wilson, 1990).

The A. pallipes species, our most primitive ant, is ex­clusively subterranean (hypogaeic). The bidentate jaws of this ant are very distinctive.

Colonies are small, consist­ing of 9 to 16 workers and one or more queens (Traniello, 1978); Holldobler & Wilson ( 1990) cite colony size of 1-35. GAC 21 54#21 with 6 dealate females.

Females “call” males not far from the nest by releasing phero­mones; after mating, females usually return to the home nest (Holldobler & Wilson, 1990).

Habitat

Prefers moist, shaded woodlands. DuBois & LaBerge ( 1988) note "shaded areas in deciduous forest, usually on south-facing slopes".

Food

Centipedes (chilopods), usually lithobiids or geophilomorphs, are the main food source and the ant larvae are apparently transferred to the prey to feed (Brown, 1960; D.R. Smith, 1979).

Behavior

Slow-moving workers forage in leaf litter, under bark of logs, and under rocks, rarely, if ever, being found on the surface (hypogaeic). Females also forage for food during the period of nest founding which is an archaic habit in ants. Centipede prey is paralyzed by sting­ing, then brought back to the nest where it can be stored for some time (Holldobler & Wilson, 1990).

Nesting Information

Under rocks and stones, under bark of logs, in ground in leaf litter.

Size

4.5mm - 6.5mm

Verified Locales (counties)

Ashtabula, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Greene, Hocking, Lucas, Monroe, Muskingum, Ottawa, Pike, Seneca, Vinton,

Nuptial Flight Dates

08/22/2017 - 10/31/2017

Image Gallery

  • Amblyopone pallipes - Full face view of head and habitus. Drawing by Holly K. Coovert.