Southern Broadnosed Killer Ants

Official Name

Platythyrea

Size

6 mm

Color

Black in Colour or Charcoal-Colored Ant

Geographical Location

Found in Panama, South America or Trinidad and Tobago.

Common Household Location

Lawn, Garden, Home and Kitchen

Identifying Characteristics

  • This species is distinguished from all other North American ants by the following combination of features:
  • The petiole is elongate-rectangular in both dorsal and lateral view.
  • The body is covered with appressed pale pubescence that gives it a silvery appearance.
  • The head and body are heavily punctate, but not striate. In the field it is a medium-sized (about 6 mm) charcoal-colored ant seen dashing over leaf litter, difficult to catch because of its speed and its tendency to hide under fallen leaves when pursued.

Official Name

Platythyrea

Size

6 mm

Color

Black in Colour or Charcoal-Colored Ant

Geographical Location

Found in Panama, South America or Trinidad and Tobago.

Common Household Location

Lawn, Garden, Home and Kitchen

Identifying Characteristics

  • This species is distinguished from all other North American ants by the following combination of features:
  • The petiole is elongate-rectangular in both dorsal and lateral view.
  • The body is covered with appressed pale pubescence that gives it a silvery appearance.
  • The head and body are heavily punctate, but not striate. In the field it is a medium-sized (about 6 mm) charcoal-colored ant seen dashing over leaf litter, difficult to catch because of its speed and its tendency to hide under fallen leaves when pursued.

Notes

The parthenogenic ant Platythyrea punctata is of general interest bio geographically because it occupies a very large range that extends from south Texas to Costa Rica and from Florida to most islands in the West Indies and the Bahamas. It is not known to occur in Panama, South America or Trinidad and Tobago. Throughout its range it is found in relatively undisturbed, wooded areas and is probably a native species (Deyrup et al., 1988; Deyrup, 2000). A seeming contradiction to this wide distribution is that it would seem to be a very poor disperser. Winged queens have only been found in Florida, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic (Wheeler, 1905; K. Kellner, unpublished data). Moreover, queens presumably do not fly, because they lack ocelli, possess poorly developed thoraces and wing muscles (Schilder et al., 1999a) and do not appear to be collected in malaise traps (Deyrup & Trager, 1986). Colonies are presumed to reproduce mainly by splitting or fragmenting (fission or budding) and the ants subsequently disperse by walking over land.