Key to Western Hemisphere Carebara species complexes

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This key is based on: Fernández, F. 2004a. The American species of the myrmicine ant genus Carebara Westwood (Hymentoptera: Formicidae). Caldasia. 26(1):191-238. PDF

According to the classificiation proposed here, the only know genus for America is Carebara, with approximately 30 species distributed from the USA to Argentina. The great majority of the species are Neotropical. The study of these species (as of all in the genus) is greatly limited by isolated descriptions of females and males, and the poor descriptions of workers. The latter problem is especially acute with reference to the tiny minor workers of the genus, which are fairly uniform morphologically and moreover rarely greater than 1.20 mm in length. For this reason, the user should keep in mind that some future associations of sexes and castes, from nest samples, might change the number and limits of the American species as defined here.

As in other myrmicine ants, tiny size is associated with morphological monotony; consequently, accurate separation of Carebara minor workers is challenging and requires careful scrutiny of fine characters at more than 80 magnifications. Future discovery of nests and complete samples of all phases may result in changes in the number of recognized species, which may well be lower than that proposed here. Unfortunately many Carebara minor workers collected alone cannot be identified with certainty.

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