Odontomachus haematodus

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Odontomachus haematodus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Odontomachus
Species: O. haematodus
Binomial name
Odontomachus haematodus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Odontomachus haematodus casent0103104 profile 1.jpg

Odontomachus haematodus casent0103104 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


DaRocha et al. (2015) studied the diversity of ants found in bromeliads of a single large tree of Erythrina, a common cocoa shade tree, at an agricultural research center in Ilhéus, Brazil. Forty-seven species of ants were found in 36 of 52 the bromeliads examined. Bromeliads with suspended soil and those that were larger had higher ant diversity. Odontomachus haematodus was found in 15 different bromeliads and was associated with the suspended soil and litter of the plants.

At a Glance • Tandem running  



Identification Keys including this Taxon


MacGown et al. (2014) - Due to misidentifications, the worldwide distribution of this species is not clearly understood at this time. However, based on recent examination of numerous specimens from the US, the distributional records for this species from this country can be considered reliable. Additionally, specimens from Brazil, British Guiana, and Peru were identified as O. haematodus by MacGown [LSAM, UGCA, and UMMZ]. Brown (1976) reported this species' distribution as continental South America from Orinoco Delta to Tucuma, Argentina. McGlynn (1999) reported O. haematodus as being introduced to Hawaii; however, these records have not been verified, nor is this species thought to have been established in that state. Krushelnycky et al. (2005) did not include O. haematodus in their recent list of ant species from Hawaii. In the US we have verified records of established populations of this species only from the Gulf Coast region, specifically from: Alabama: Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile Counties. Florida: Escambia County. Louisiana: Orleans Parish. Mississippi: Greene and Jackson Counties. Distributional information for US specimens from AntWeb (2013) (Florida record), and examination of specimens in AUEM, MEM and USNM.

Odontomachus haematodus is native to South America. The earliest record in the US we found was of three specimens collected on 1 June 1956 from Mobile, Alabama. These specimens were borrowed from the USNM and examined by MacGown. Earliest MEM records are from 2000 from Baldwin County, Alabama, by which time this species had become locally abundant. Until recently, specimens of this species from the Gulf Coast were identified as Odontomachus insularis, Odontomachus brunneus, and/or Odontomachus ruginodis. However, after examination of workers and males of all three species, it became clear that this now-common Gulf Coast species is O. haematodus.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Lesser Antilles, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Regional Notes

French Guiana

A study by Talaga et al. (2015) investigated the species of ants found in the bromeliad Aechmea aquilega. Odontomachus haematodus was "by far the most frequent species in the rural area where it occupied 60% of all of the sampled plants sheltering ants. We noted that elementary nests (the colonies are composed of multiple nests) of this species were installed both between the leaves of several adjacent A. aquilega individuals and between their shoots and the bark of the host trees." They also note this species can nest in decaying logs and branches on the ground.

Puerto Rico

Wheeler (1908): Common, nesting under stones or logs or in untidy mound nests about the roots of trees, but only in shady places and rather rich soil.

Association with Other Organisms

  • This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Chalcura deprivata (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).
  • This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Kapala terminalis (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).
  • This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Schizaspidia convergens (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 500 (Holldobler & Engel, 1978; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: tandem recruitment (Holldobler & Engel, 1978; Beckers et al., 1989)





The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • haematodus. Formica haematoda Linnaeus, 1758: 582 (q.) "America meridionali". Emery, 1899c: 5 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1952c: 646 (l.). Combination in Odontomachus: Latreille, 1804: 179. Senior synonym of maxillosa: Retzius, 1783: 75; Olivier, 1792: 502; Latreille, 1802c: 192; of hirsutiusculus: Roger, 1863b: 22; Brown, 1976a: 104; of pallipes and material of the unavailable name bruneipes referred here: Brown, 1976a: 104.
  • maxillosa. Formica maxillosa De Geer, 1773: 601, pl. 31, figs. 3-5 (q.) SURINAM. Junior synonym of haematodus: Retzius, 1783: 75; Olivier, 1792: 502; Latreille, 1802c: 192.
  • hirsutiusculus. Odontomachus hirsutiusculus Smith, F. 1858b: 78 (w.) BRAZIL. Forel, 1909a: 252 (q.). Subspecies of insularis: Dalla Torre, 1893: 51; of haematodus: Roger, 1861a: 24; Forel, 1907e: 1; Wheeler, W.M. 1911a: 22. Junior synonym of haematodus: Roger, 1863b: 22; Brown, 1976a: 104.
  • pallipes. Odontomachus haematoda var. pallipes Crawley, 1916b: 368 (w.) GUYANA. Junior synonym of haematodus: Brown, 1976a: 104.

The following notes on F. Smith type specimens have been provided by Barry Bolton (details):

Odontomachus hirsutiusculus

Two syntype workers in The Natural History Museum. Both labelled, “Santarem. 54/63.” Acc. Reg.: “1854 no. 63 (Oct. 11) Brazil (Santarem on the Amazon). Purchased from Stevens. Collected by Mr Bates, Alta de Chai near Santarem.”



  • Beckers R., Goss, S., Deneubourg, J.L., Pasteels, J.M. 1989. Colony size, communication and ant foraging Strategy. Psyche 96: 239-256 (doi:10.1155/1989/94279).
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1976c. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section A. Introduction, subtribal characters. Genus Odontomachus. Stud. Entomol. 19: 67-171 (page 104, Senior synonym of hirsutiusculus, Senior synonym of pallipes, and material of the unavailable name bruneipes referred here)
  • DaRocha, W. D., S. P. Ribeiro, F. S. Neves, G. W. Fernandes, M. Leponce, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2015. How does bromeliad distribution structure the arboreal ant assemblage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a single tree in a Brazilian Atlantic forest agroecosystem? Myrmecological News. 21:83-92.
  • Emery, C. 1899g. Intorno alle larve di alcune formiche. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (5) 8: 3-10 (page 5, larva described)
  • Latreille, P. A. 1802b. Histoire naturelle générale et particulière des Crustacés et des insectes. Tome 3. Familles naturelles des genres. Paris: F. Dufart, xii + 467 pp. (page 192, Senior synonym of maxillosa)
  • Latreille, P. A. 1804. Tableau méthodique des insectes. Pp. 129-200 in: Société de Naturalistes et d'Agriculteurs. Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle. Tome 24. Paris: Déterville, 84 + 85 + 238 + 18 + 34 pp. (page 179, Combination in Odontomachus)
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae [= Stockholm]: L. Salvii, 824 pp. (page 582, queen described)
  • MacGown, J.A., Boudinot, B., Deyrup, M. & Sorger, D.M. 2014. A review of the Nearctic Odontomachus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae) with a treatment of the males. Zootaxa 3802(4): 515-552.
  • Olivier, A. G. 1792. Encyclopédie méthodique. Histoire naturelle. Insectes. Tome 6. (pt. 2). Paris: Panckoucke, pp. 369-704. (page 502, Senior synonym of maxillosa)
  • Retzius, A. J. 1783. Caroli de Geer. Genera et species insectorum e generosissimi auctoris scriptis extraxit, digessit, Latine quoad partem reddidit, et terminologiam insectorum Linneanam addidit. Lipsiae [= Leipzig]: Cruse, 220 pp. (page 75, Senior synonym of maxillosa)
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 22, Senior synonym of hirsutiusculus)
  • Talaga, S., J. H. C. Delabie, O. Dezerald, A. Salas-Lopez, F. Petitclerca, C. Leroy, B. Heraultd, R. Cereghino, and A. Dejean. 2015. A bromeliad species reveals invasive ant presence in urban areas of French Guiana. Ecological Indicators. 58:1-7. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.05.027
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1952c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Ponerinae - Part II. Am. Midl. Nat. 48: 604-672 (page 646, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1908a. The ants of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24: 117-158.