Distribution and Differentiation of Fossil Oecophylla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Species by Wing Imprints

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Abstract: Ten Middle Miocene imprints of Oecophylla Smith, 1860 (Stavropol Region, Russia) are described and redescribed from the collection of the Arthropoda Laboratory of the Borissiak Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Oecophylla has distinctive features of the wing venation, allowing the identification of fossils. Based on our study of extant ants, a procedure for identifying externally similar forewing imprints of Formicinae using the example of Oecophylla (Bembridge, United Kingdom) is proposed. It seems that the oldest Oecophylla is recognized now among early and middle Eocene ants from North America, a continent no longer inhabited by weaver ants, despite the apparently suitable climatic conditions. We suggest that historical distribution of weaver ants was determined by their ecology and behavior, and competition within ant assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
JournalPaleontological Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Scopus subject areas

  • Paleontology


  • ant assemblages
  • ant wings
  • biogeography
  • Eocene
  • Formicidae
  • fossil ants
  • geometric morphometrics
  • Miocene
  • Oecophylla


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