Colonies or nest chambers that form part of a nest of Brachymyrmex depilis can be found in the soil under stones or in rotting wood in a wide variety of habitats: open forest, dense moist forest, grasslands, and fields. The workers lead almost wholly subterranean lives. In addition to being general scavengers workers also tend root aphids and coccids in underground galleries. The gastral tergites of Brachymyrmex depilis workers have flexible connections that permit their gaster to easily expand and contract. Their crops can be filled with a large amount of liquid, at least relative to the overall size of a worker.
Very small yellow ants. Their color distinguishes this species from other named North American Brachymyrmex, which vary from grey to dark brown. The genus can be readily separated from other Formicinae by the combination of their small size, hair fringed acidophore, and 9 segmented antenna.
Keys including this Species
Range United States, S Canada, Mexico. Most U.S. states and south into Mexico. This species is putatively wide ranging. A badly needed taxonomic revision of the North America forms will likely reveal Brachymyrmex depilis is a number of distinctive species.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Brachymyrmex depilis are opportunistic nesters, making galleries in downed wood, at the base of living vegetation, under bark, under stones, in litter, along roots and in the soil. Their small size and thin integument means individuals desiccate quickly, leading colonies to settle in places where they can have humid nest chambers.
Headley (1943) reported finding nests of Brachymyrmex depilis in Oak acorns.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- depilis. Brachymyrmex heeri subsp. depilis Emery, 1893i: 635 (w.q.) U.S.A. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 139 (l.). Raised to species: Santschi, 1923b: 663. Senior synonym of nanellus: Creighton, 1950a: 359; of flavescens: Cole, 1953g: 266.
- nanellus. Brachymyrmex nanellus Wheeler, W.M. 1903b: 102, fig. 7b (w.m.) U.S.A.
- Junior synonym of depilis: Creighton, 1950a: 359; Ortiz-Sepulveda et al., 2019: 46.
- flavescens. Brachymyrmex depilis subsp. flavescens Grundmann, 1952: 117 (w.) U.S.A.
- Junior synonym of depilis: Cole, 1953g: 266; Ortiz-Sepulveda et al., 2019: 46.
Descriptive. depilis = "without hair"
- Cole, A. C., Jr. 1953j. Brachymyrmex depilis subsp. flavescens Grundmann a synonym of Brachymyrmex depilis Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomol. News 64: 266 (page 266, Senior synonym of flavescens)
- Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 359, Senior synonym of nanellus)
- Emery, C. 1893k. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 7: 633-682 (page 635, worker, queen described)
- Headley, A. E. 1943. Population studies of two species of ants, Leptothorax longispinosus Roger and Leptothorax curvispinosus Mayr. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 36: 743-753 (doi:10.1093/aesa/36.4.743).
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Ortiz-Sepulveda, C.M., Van Bocxlaer, B., Meneses, A.D., Fernández, F. 2019. Molecular and morphological recognition of species boundaries in the neglected ant genus Brachymyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): toward a taxonomic revision. Organisms Diversity & Evolution (DOI 10.1007/s13127-019-00406-2).
- Santschi, F. 1923b. Revue des fourmis du genre Brachymyrmex Mayr. An. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. B. Aires 31: 650-678 (page 663, raised to species)
- Smith, M. R. 1965. House-infesting ants of the eastern United States. Their recognition, biology, and economic importance. U. S. Dep. Agric. Tech. Bull. 1326: 1-105
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1968a. The ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): supplement. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 61: 205-222 (page 210, larva described)
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.