Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Geographic distribution of Strumigenys lanuginosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

Abstract

Strumigenys lanuginosa Wheeler is a small, inconspicuous New World ant (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). After being described in 1905 from two sites in the Bahamas, there were no additional published records of this species for more than 50 years. Reports of S. lanuginosa in 1957 and 1961 from Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama, however, suggested that this species may be native to Central America. Here, I compiled and mapped published and unpublished S. lanuginosa records from >160 sites. I documented the earliest known records for 16 geographic areas (countries and US states), including five for which I found no previously published records: Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, and Nicaragua. Strumigenys lanuginosa appears to be native to Central America (where it is known from every country) and possibly northern South America (where it is known from Colombia, Venezuela, and French Guiana). Past researchers proposed that S. lanuginosa populations in the Bahamas and Florida were probably exotic, no doubt based on the large gap between these populations and the species' presumed native range in Central America. The discovery of S. lanuginosa populations in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, however, raises the possibility that S. lanuginosa may have continuous native populations across the Greater Antilles and into Florida and the Bahamas.