Simopelta oculata

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Simopelta oculata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Simopelta
Species: S. oculata
Binomial name
Simopelta oculata
Gotwald & Brown, 1967

Simopelta oculata casent0249243 p 1 high.jpg

Simopelta oculata casent0249243 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

The type series formed a column about 30-150 cm above the ground in vegetation in deep shade. The nest was in a hollow, dead twig 1.5 cm in diameter and 33 cm long, suspended vertically by a dead vine about 1.5 m above the soil surface. The column was carrying larvae, pupae and workers of a medium-size species of Pheidole, which was the dominant ant genus in the area. Partly eaten pieces of prey were found in the twig. The nest contained at least several hundred workers, plus a female and brood. The workers ran rapidly, holding their antennae in a similar fashion to the workers of Ecitoninae. Workers are able to sting, which feels something like a mosquito bite (Gotwald and Brown, 1966).

Identification

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - The large eyes would separate this species from most other species. Simopelta andersoni also has relatively large eyes, but can be separated by the four-toothed mandibles (S. oculata has a three-toothed mandible). Occasionally, the eyes of Simopelta paeminosa are moderately large, and in these cases the partially smooth and shiny mesopleuron would separate the two species (mostly coarsely sculptured in S. paeminosa). It would not be confused with Simopelta pergandei due to its larger size and wider petiole as seen from the side. The large eyes would also separate this species from those that occur in South America, such as Simopelta fernandezi, in which the dorsum of the head has transverse striae.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Atlantic slope, Costa Rica and Panama.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality), Panama.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Habitat

Various middle elevation forest sites on the Atlantic slope.

Biology

Castes

Worker

Queen

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • oculata. Simopelta oculata Gotwald & Brown, 1967: 267, figs. 1-14 (w.q.l.) COSTA RICA. Combination in Belonopelta: Baroni Urbani, 1975b: 300; in Simopelta: Bolton, 1995b: 383. See also: Mackay & Mackay, 2008: 314.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Mackay and Mackay (2008):

Description

Worker

The worker is a small (total length 3.5 mm), black ant, with dark brown appendages. The mandible has 3 teeth, and the anterior margin of the clypeus is broadly rounded or only slightly angulate. The relatively large eye (maximum diameter ~ 0.1 mm), which is located less than two eye diameters from the anterior margin of the head, characterizes this species. The dorsum of the mesosoma is broadly concave. The petiole is thick when viewed in profile, with well-developed spiracular horns and a poorly developed subpetiolar process.

The head is covered with punctures, as is the dorsum of the pronotum. The lower half of the side of the pronotum is smooth and shining, the mesonotum and propodeum have transverse, poorly defined striolate, most of the side of the mesopleuron is smooth and shiny, and the sides of the propodeum have longitudinal, poorly defined striae. Most of the side of the petiole is moderately smooth and glossy, the dorsum has transverse, poorly defined striolae, the dorsum of the first tergum is mostly smooth and shiny.

Queen

The female is wingless and has a large, protruding scutum and scutellum, as well as a large propodeum, and a wide petiole (when viewed from above).

Type Material

Worker, female, Costa Rica: Limón: Río Toro Ama-rillo near Guapiles.

References