Odontomachus

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Odontomachus
OdontomachusWynaad.jpg
Odontomachus from India
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Odontomachus
Latreille, 1804
Type species
Formica haematoda
Diversity[1]
69 species
Synonyms

Champsomyrmex Emery, 1892
Myrtoteras Matsumura, 1912
Pedetes Bernstein, 1861

Odontomachus, or trap-jaw ants, is a genus of carnivorous ants found in the tropics and subtropics throughout the world.

Overview[edit]

Head of O. hastatus

Commonly known as trap-jaw ants, species in Odontomachus have a pair of large, straight mandibles capable of opening 180 degrees. These jaws are locked in place by an internal mechanism, and can snap shut on prey or objects when sensory hairs on the inside of the mandibles are touched. The mandibles are powerful and fast, giving the ant its common name. The mandibles either kill or maim the prey, allowing the ant to bring it back to the nest. Odontomachus can simply lock and snap its jaws again if one bite is not enough, or to cut off bits of larger food. The mandibles also permit slow and fine movements for other tasks such as nest building and care of larvae.[citation needed]

Speed record[edit]

Trap-jaw ants of this genus have the fastest moving predatory appendages within the animal kingdom.[2] One study of Odontomachus bauri recorded peak speeds of between 126–230 kilometres per hour (78–143 mph), with the jaws closing within just 130 microseconds on average. The peak force exerted was in the order of 300 times the body weight of the ant. The ants were also observed to use their jaws as a catapult to eject intruders or fling themselves backwards to escape a threat and stings 1 time.[2][3]

Mimicry[edit]

The jumping spider genus Enoplomischus seems to mimic this ant genus.[citation needed]

Distribution[edit]

Odontomachus species are found in Central to South America, tropical Asia, Australia, and Africa.[citation needed]

In the United States, Odontomachus haematodus was "recorded in Alabama back in 1956. But now researchers have officially confirmed that the species has spread across the Gulf Coast, at least as far east as Pensacola, Florida."[4] In the past, "Odontomachus ruginodis was thought to be confined to the Orlando region"; however, Magdalena Sorger, a PhD candidate at North Carolina State University, "has confirmed a record of ruginodis more than a hundred miles north of Orlando, in Gainesville, Florida."[5] Odontomachus relictus, however, is only found in "endangered scrub habitat on central Florida’s ancient sand ridges."[6]

Species[edit]

O. haematodus worker
O. haematodus larva

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bolton, B. (2014). "Odontomachus". AntCat. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Patek SN, Baio JE, Fisher BL, Suarez AV (22 August 2006). "Multifunctionality and mechanical origins: Ballistic jaw propulsion in trap-jaw ants" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (34): 12787–12792. doi:10.1073/pnas.0604290103. PMC 1568925. PMID 16924120. Retrieved 7 June 2008. 
  3. ^ Ant Jaws Break Speed Record — Videos of Odontomachus jumping using its jaws
  4. ^ "Powerful Trap-jaw Ants are Gaining Ground in the Southeastern United States" (in English). Entomology Today. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. "One species called Odontomachus haematodus was unofficially recorded in Alabama back in 1956. But now researchers have officially confirmed that the species has spread across the Gulf Coast, at least as far east as Pensacola, Florida." 
  5. ^ "Powerful Trap-jaw Ants are Gaining Ground in the Southeastern United States" (in English). Entomology Today. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. "As recently as a few years ago, another species called Odontomachus ruginodis was thought to be confined to the Orlando region, and points south. But now Sorger has confirmed a record of ruginodis more than a hundred miles north of Orlando, in Gainesville, Florida." 
  6. ^ "Powerful Trap-jaw Ants are Gaining Ground in the Southeastern United States" (in English). Entomology Today. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. "Not all of the trap-jaw species are on the move, however. Sorger also studies Odontomachus relictus, a species that is found only in endangered scrub habitat on central Florida’s ancient sand ridges." 

External links[edit]