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Temporal range: Turonian–Campanian
Sphecomyrma freyi worker no 1 holotype (Wilson, Carpenter and Brown 1967).jpg
S. freyi worker, holotype
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Sphecomyrminae
Tribe: Sphecomyrmini
Genus: Sphecomyrma
Wilson & Brown, 1967
Type species
Sphecomyrma freyi

Sphecomyrma is an extinct genus of ant which inhabited the northern hemisphere of the supercontinent Laurasia approximately 80 mya in the Cretaceous.[1] It is one of the earliest known species of ant.

In 1966 a specimen of Sphecomyrma freyi was found embedded in amber which had been exposed in the cliffs of Cliffwood, New Jersey by Mr. Edmund Frey and his wife. In 1967 Edward Wilson, Frank Carpenter and William L. Brown, Jr. published a paper describing and naming Sphecomyrma freyi.[2] They described an ant with a mosaic of features, a mix of characteristics from modern ants and aculeate wasps. It possessed a metapleural gland, a feature unique to ants, it was wingless and possessed a petiole which was ant-like in form. The mandible was short and wasp-like with only two teeth, the gaster constricted and the middle and hind legs had double tibial spurs, wasp-like features. The antennae were, in form, midway between the wasps and ants, having a short first segment but a long flexible funiculus.[1]


  • Sphecomyrma canadensis Wilson, 1985
  • Sphecomyrma freyi Wilson & Brown, 1967
  • Sphecomyrma mesaki Engel & Grimaldi, 2005


  1. ^ a b Wilson, E. O.; Hölldobler, B. (1990). The Ants. Harvard University Press. pp. 23–25. ISBN 0-674-04075-9. 
  2. ^ Wilson, E. O.; Carpenter, F. M.; Brown, W. L. (1967). "The First Mesozoic Ant, with the Description of a New Subfamily" (PDF). Psyche 74 (1): 1–19. doi:10.1155/1967/89604. 

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