This species is unique within the genus due to its savanna nest sites as opposed to the forest preferences of most species. Its range is apparently restricted to high (>1200m), cool savannas of the Upper Rio Caroni watershed (La Gran Sabana). It has not been found in lower savannas, despite the fact that another ant, Pogonomyrmex naegelii, is widespread in savannas isolated in the midst of great expanses of forest. The extent of savannas in the Guiana Shield was much broader during the last glaciation (75,000-11,000 B.P.), as were generally cooler temperatures and a drier climate (Schubert 1988; Clapperton 1993). Such conditions could conceivably have favored the origin of this species from its apparent sister species Gnamptogenys striatula during the course of the last glaciation. (Lattke 1995)
A member of the striatula subgroup (in the striatula species group). Black, finely costulate with brown scapes and mandibles, light brown legs. Subpetiolar process subquadrate, not as projecting anterad as in Gnamptogenys striatula. Mesosomal dorsum with longitudinal costulae and erect hairs up to 0.30 mm in length. (Lattke 1995)
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Not much is known about the the biology of Gnamptogenys ammophila. We can speculate that the biology of this species is similar to other species of the genus. Gnamptogenys are predatory ponerine ants that inhabit tropical and subtropical mesic forests. Nesting is typically at ground level in rotten wood or leaf litter. Some exceptions include species that are arboreal, a dry forest species and species that nests in sandy savannahs. Colony size tends to be, at most, in the hundreds. Queens are the reproductives in most species. Worker reproduction is known from a few species in Southeastern Asia. Generalist predation is the primary foraging/dietary strategy. Specialization on specific groups (millipedes, beetles, other ants) has developed in a few species.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- ammophila. Gnamptogenys ammophila Lattke, 1990b: 6, figs. 6, 9 (w.) VENEZUELA.
- Lattke, J. E. 1990b. Revisión del género Gnamptogenys Roger en Venezuela (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Acta Terramaris 2: 1-47 (page 6, figs. 6, 9 worker described)
- Lattke, J.E., Fernández, F. & Palacio, E.E. 2007. Identification of the species of Gnamptogenys Roger in the Americas (pp. 254-270). In Snelling, R.R., Fisher, B.L. & Ward, P.S. (eds). Advances in ant systematics: homage to E.O. Wilson – 50 years of contributions. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 80: 690 pp. PDF