Paraphaenogaster wuttkei

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Paraphaenogaster wuttkei
Temporal range: Oligocene Enspel Formation, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Genus: Paraphaenogaster
Species: P. wuttkei
Binomial name
Paraphaenogaster wuttkei
Jessen, 2020


Jessen (2020) - Characterised by its complex sculpture in the central part of the clypeus and the frontal triangle. With regard to combination with its body length (BLw/oG: 6.34) and its forewing length (FWL < 0.9), this species differs from the other Paraphaenogaster males described here. As it is not clear, if the remarkable wide anterior part of the petiole is natural or caused by taphonomic processes, it will not be taken as a specific morphologic feature. Since the alitrunk is seen from dorsal, it is not clear if the pronotum is anteriorly extended into a neck-like shape.


This taxon was described from Enspel Formation, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany (Oligocene).

This species and other fossil ants were collected as part of yearly excavation campaigns between 1995 and 2013 conducted by the Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Directorate Archaeology, Department of Earth History.



Jessen 2020 F7a.jpgJessen 2020 F7c.jpg


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • wuttkei. †Paraphaenogaster wuttkei Jessen, 2020: 16, Figs. 7a-c (m.) GERMANY.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Holotype BLw/ oG: 6.2, HL 1.44, HW: 1.34, ED: 0.49, GeL: 0.29, ML: 0.66, MML: 0.29, AL: 3.15, ScuL: 1.27, ScutL: 0.44, HiTL: 2.64, FWL: 9.08, PL: 0.82, PH: 0.5, G1L: 1.53. Wing venation: 2M+ Cu: 0.69, 1Cu: 0.84, 1M: 0.47, m-cu: 0.62, 1RS+M: 0.56, 2RS+ M: 0.31. Indices: CI: 92.86, IED/HL: 33.67, IHL/AL: 45.75, Imcu: 66.67, I2RS+M/1RS+M: 55.26, I2RS+M/m-cu: 92.67, I2RS+M/2M+Cu: 44.68.

Position: Head: dorsal, alitrunk: dorsolateral, petiole: dorsolateral, gaster: dorsal.

Colour: Dark brown to black.

BL about 9.23. Head longer than wide, with smoothly rounded posterior corners. Mandibles subtriangular with six teeth. Last two apical teeth bigger than the others, which are of about the same size. Eyes are about 33.7% of head length. Eyes located laterally at about midlength of head. It looks as if the compound eye is not only oval in shape, but also has a small anterior bulge. However, this impression may also have been caused by the compaction. Further specimens of this species would be needed to verify this morphological interpretation. Antenna with short scape and filiform funiculus, 12- or 13-segmented. Funicular segment 6 and 7 almost two times longer than wide. Funiculus about 3.3 times longer than scape. Anterior clypeal margin smooth and distinctly convex. Irregularities along the margin are interpreted to be due to taphonomic influences. Along and parallel to the anterior margin, there are a few long transverse striae. Posterior margin of clypeus projects backwards. The frontal triangle is structured with short, semicircularly arranged striae and forms a rosette-like pattern. Posterior part of the rosette is raised like a ridge with rounded top. Anteriorly to this ridge, semicircular concentric circles are arranged. Frontal lobes are hardly covering base of scape. Head striated, particularly at gena and at frontal carina. Posterolateral parts of head reticulated. Alitrunk large and arched as a whole. It is sculptured almost all over with fine and dense striae. Straight striae extend obliquely at lateral and posterior parts of scutum. The anterior part of scutum shows no distinct striae. The striation pattern could follow notauli. Anterior part of scutellum slightly protruding. Proscutellum distinct, slightly recessed. Propodeum longitudinally densely striated. There is no evidence for the existence of spines. Petiole with elongate stout peduncle, increasing height towards distal, rounded top posteriorly. Ventral part of peduncle expands anteriorly so alitrunk-petiole connection seems to be particularly wide and solid. This anterior ventral extension, however, could also have been caused by extreme flattening during the fossilization process. Postpetiole disarticulated from petiole and incomplete. Two longitudinal ridges can be identified on postpetiole’s node. Forewing with closed cells: mcu and 1+2r. Pterostigma well developed. Cell mcu triangular. Wing venation pattern follows in all other aspects the description of the genus. Parts of first gastral segment preserved. Sculpture of first gastral tergite not specific, shiny.

Type Material

Holotype: NHMM-PE1997/5513-LS, winged male. Enspel Oilshale, Rhineland- Palatinate, Germany. Enspel Formation, Upper Oligocene, MP 28; (24.56–24.79 Ma, Mertz et al. 2007), layer S16.

Abbreviation of specimen numbers:NHMM= Naturhistorisches Museum Mainz; PE = Palaeontology Entomology; 2009 = found in 2009; 6281 = running inventory number of the year; LS = Landessammlung (State Collection). Information on the layer is given. They refer to the standard profile in Felder et al. (1998).

Currently stored in the Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Directorate Archaeology, Department Earth History, Mainz, Germany. In the long term, they will be deposited in the “Typothek” of the State Collection of Natural History Rhineland-Palatinate/Museum of Natural History Mainz, Mainz, Germany (NHMM).


Honouring Dr. Michael Wuttke, former head of the Section History of the Earth at the General Department of the Cultural Heritage of Rhineland Palatinate, Department Archaeology/Section History of the Earth, Mainz (Germany), who initiated and headed the scientific excavations through 26 years at the Fossil-Lagerstätte Enspel.