Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Cao, H., Boudinot, B.E., Wang, Z., Miao, X., Shih, C., Ren, D. & Gao, T.

Year: 2020


Two new iron maiden ants from Burmese amber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: †Zigrasimeciini)

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 30

Pages: 161-173

Type of contribution: Original Article

Supplementary material: No


Zigrasimecia Barden & Grimaldi, 2013 is easily identified among the total diversity of the Formicidae by the unique form of the mandibles, presence of an antennal scrobe, and the massive, blocky cranium. Two species from mid-Cretaceous Burmese (Myanmar) amber are currently attributed to the genus, one is a dealate gyne and the other a worker. Herein, we describe two new species from Burmese amber based on workers: †Zigrasimecia hoelldobleri sp.n. and †Protozigrasimecia chauli gen.n. sp.n., which display a suite of plesiomorphies which are retained relative to †Zigrasimecia. We also illustrate and provide a descriptive sketch of an unplaced alate. With the new morphological characters from the two new taxa, we provide a key to the genera of the †Zigrasimeciini. The remarkable preservation of †Z. hoelldobleri sp.n. sheds considerable light on the functional morphology of zigrasimeciine mouthparts. Due to the ferocious function of the mouthparts of †Zigrasimecia and †Protozigrasimecia, we colloquially dub these the iron maiden ants. Furthermore, we discuss wing venation of Mesozoic Formicidae and evolution of mesosomal form. Our work constitutes a contribution to a better understanding of the Mesozoic Formicidae and documents diversity for the phylogeny of the family.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2020 The Author(s).

Key words: Stem ants, alate gyne, mandibles, labrum, Cretaceous.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: 1997-3500

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