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This wonderful little creature is a Turtle Ant, ants which are rarely seen because they are very small and usually high up in trees. They use beetle tunnels as their burrows and do not excavate tunnels of their own. This one is a Soldier and was 4 mm in length.The soldiers of some species have a huge disc-shaped head and their only function is to place that disc head in the entrance hole to block the passage of any creature except their own workers. A truly unique little ant. The antennae are small and fit into grooves on the side of the head. This species is beautifully sculptured over the head and thorax. Family Formicidae, Myrmecinae.
This Soldier was wandering alone on the rocks below trees and may have fallen to the ground. Heavily forested area along the San Vicente River, Chiflón Waterfall Park, Chiapas, Mexico.
I have found Turtle Ants once before in Campeche, Mexico. A foraging species which does not have the disc-headed soldiers, see: https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/14.... Other references about Turtle Ants: https://www.antweb.org/description.do?su... https://www.alexanderwild.com/Ants/Natur... https://dailyant.com/2016/12/22/a-tale-o... https://phys.org/news/2019-03-laborer-do.... htmlhttp://ellerg.blogspot.com/2010/06/unique-turtle-ant.html https://me.me/i/this-is-a-worker-variant... https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstron...
Spotted on May 30, 2019
Submitted on Jun 26, 2019