Very poorly known, this genus is only known from three type workers from two different species.
Wilson (1989) - A small ant closely similar to the minor worker of many species of Pheidole. It possesses a 12-segmented antenna and 3-segmented club and it displays the same general body form, but with the following differences:
(1) The head capsule and antennae are disproportionately large relative to the rest of the body. In fact, the capsule is about that which would be expected of a true minor-major intermediate in Pheidole (a completely dimorphic genus).
(2) The mandible is unique within the Myrmicinae: hook-shaped, that is, strongly incurving and tapered to a sharp point; in addition it bears a large additional dorsoventrally flattened tooth at is basal corner. A broad, deep groove, demarcated along each side by a sharp ridge, extends from near the apex to the base of the mandible, where it passes underneath the basal tooth.
Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps
Wilson (1989) - The obvious question that follows is: what do the Chimaeridris do with their mandibles? It seems likely that the ants have undergone some kind of remarkable specialization in the way they gather energy. Two possibilities come to mind. One is that Chimaeridris are slavemakers, perhaps raiding colonies of Pheidole. This hypothesis gains some credence from the possession of saber-Shaped mandibles by the slavemaking genera Polyergus and Strongylognathus. While not altered into the hooks of the Chimaeridris kind, the mandibles of these ants are narrow, sharply pointed, and used to pierce the bodies of defending workers. That the Chimaeridris workers do indeed constitute a fighting caste may be further indicated by their proportionately large heads. Yet-no slavemaking ant species has been discovered in the tropics to the present time.
The second possibility is that Chimaeridris are specialized predators. They may either attack a narrow range of unusual prey, utilize novel hunting tactics, or both. Such is the case for many ponerine and myrmicine genera that have narrowed their mandibles and replaced the ordinary teeth of the masticatory borders with one to several long, spike-like teeth. Until living colonies can be studied, the use Chimaeridris put to their mandibles will remain one of the more intriguing mysteries in the natural history of the ants.
Known only from the worker caste.
• Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club 3 • Palp formula 2,2 • Spur formula 0, 0 • Sting present
• Caste unknown
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- CHIMAERIDRIS [Myrmicinae: Pheidolini]
- Chimaeridris Wilson, 1989: 63. Type-species: Chimaeridris boltoni, by original designation.
- Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 106, Chimaeridris in Myrmicinae, Pheidolini)
- Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 145, Chimaeridris in Myrmicinae, Pheidolini)
- Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 230, Chimaeridris in Myrmicinae, Pheidolini)
- Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 16, Chimaeridris in Myrmicinae, Pheidolini)
- Wilson, E. O. 1989. Chimaeridris, a new genus of hook-mandibled myrmicine ants from tropical Asia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insectes Soc. 36: 62-69 (page 63, Chimaeridris as genus)