Stigmatomma reclinatum

Stigmatomma reclinatum

     This is a medium sized ant about 6-7 mm in size. They do not have a recognizable queen but a mated worker called a gamergate lays the eggs. Colonies are usually quite small circa 50-100 individuals, and they usually nest in old wood or under bark.

     The workers of this species do not take food direct, but drink or suck the blood/juice (hemolymph) of their larvae, hence the name "Dracula ants" or "Vampire ants". In reality They perform a form of non-destructive cannibalism, by cutting a hole in the skin of their larvae to feed on the exuding fluid. This action however does not seem to harm the larvae, which continue growing and eventually emerge as normal adults.

     To feed their larvae the workers usually hunt specific arthropods such as centipedes, but our colonies have been accustomed to take a range of food and seem quite happy with most small dead insects.

     We have several small colonies which we have had in captivity for just over two months, and they are still producing brood so this would indicate that the gamergate is present. They are young colonies with between 10-20 workers.