Hylomyrma balzani

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Hylomyrma balzani
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Pogonomyrmecini
Genus: Hylomyrma
Species: H. balzani
Binomial name
Hylomyrma balzani
(Emery, 1894)

Hylomyrma balzani casent0173968 profile 1.jpg

Hylomyrma balzani casent0173968 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Photo Gallery

  • Hylomyrma balzani nest in dead wood. The tiny nest contained only 2 workers with brood. Florianopolis, Brazil. Photo by Philipp Hönle.

There is no information on the collection method or in which phytophysiognomy most known specimens were sampled. Specimens from Brazil inhabit Atlantic forest areas and forested enclaves in the Central-West region (in Serra da Bodoquena, MS). Most specimens were collected with winkler extractors, and a few were sampled with pitfall traps, honey baits, and Berlese-Tüllgren funnels. Apart from the presence of intercastes, and possibly ergatoids (a few intercastes have more queen-like traits), there is no further information available regarding the biology of H. balzani. (Ulyssea & Brandao, 2021)


Regular and longitudinal striae on head dorsum diverge towards posterior margin; rugose striae on mesosoma and petiole; dorsal margin of petiole discontinuous; ventral surface of node transversely striate; anterior region of node higher than posterior region; profemur posterior surface smooth; striae on protibia extensor surface weakly marked; striation on tergum of first gastral segment restricted to base; branched setae of two types: 1) thin setae, main axis branching off 2–4 times, short branches of equal size; 2) thick setae, main axis flattened in its final half, with several branches. (Ulyssea & Brandao, 2021)

Hylomyrma balzani can be distinguished from Hylomyrma reitteri (characteristic in parentheses) by the rugose striae on the mesosoma (vs. regular to irregular striae), the rugose striae on the petiole (vs. irregular striae), and the ventral surface of petiole with transverse striae (vs. smooth surface). The winged queens of both species are very similar, differing only in the laterodorsal sculpture of the propodeum. In Hylomyrma balzani this region presents rugose striae, whereas H. reitteri has regular to irregular striae in this region.

Specimens of H. lopesi have been identified as H. balzani, especially due to the similarity of the sculpture on gena, petiole and postpetiole, and the similar shape of the petiole and postpetiole. But both species can be distinguished by the rugose striae on the mesosoma of H. balzani and the regular striae on the mesosoma of H. lopesi. The distribution of these species cover a broad area in Brazil, both co-occurring in Botucatu (SP) and Milagres (BA). Hylomyrma balzani is more restricted to eastern portions of Brazil, from northeast to southern regions (Fig. 84), whereas H. lopesi is distributed mainly in the center of Brazil from northern (state of Pará) to southern (state of São Paulo) regions (Fig. 89).

Hylomyrma balzani is similar to Hylomyrma primavesi, a species known only from higher elevations in Serra do Cipó, MG, Brazil (Fig. 88). Hylomyrma balzani can be distinguished from H. primavesi by the smaller body, TL 4.27–5.23 mm, WL 1.10–1.39 mm (vs. larger, TL 5.32–5.78 mm, WL 1.34–1.48 mm); and the indistinct promesonotal junction and metanotal groove (vs. both distinct).

There is considerable variation among H. balzani specimens, mainly because of the presence of intercastes. Out of the 11 Hylomyrma species with intercastes, H. balzani, H. lopesi, and H. reitteri present the larger phenotypic plasticity associated with head and mesosoma modifications. Intercastes with one inconspicuous central ocellus usually have two darker regions on the head similar to the ocelli location of winged queens. Intercastes with a more conspicuous central ocellus may also have these two darker regions on the head; they also have the metanotal groove distinguished by a slight to well-marked depression. In intercastes with three ocelli, gradual changes in the mesosoma are observed. The 3-ocelli intercaste from Vargito, BA, Brazil, bears also a slight differentiation of the mesonotum in scutellum and prescutellum, and of the metanotum. The specimens from Maranguape, CE, Brazil, in addition to the characteristics described above, present the promesonotal suture (specimens W49, Mg50W), and also the insertion wing region in the mesosoma, as observed in winged queens (specimen P1).

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -4° to -29°.

Tropical South
  • Source: Ulyssea & Brandao, 2021

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Paraguay (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • balzani. Tetramorium balzani Emery, 1894c: 165 (w.) PARAGUAY.
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 22)
    • [Note: species originally described from syntype workers (number not stated).]
    • Type-locality: lectotype Paraguay: Asunción (Balzan).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Kempf, 1960f: 434 (q.); Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 23 (m.).
    • Combination in Lundella: Emery, 1915i: 191;
    • combination in Hylomyrma: Kempf, 1960f: 434.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1924d: 292; Santschi, 1933e: 117; Kempf, 1960f: 434 (redescription); Kempf, 1964e: 55 (in key); Kempf, 1972a: 118; Kempf, 1973b: 230 (redescription); Kutter, 1977a: 88; Bolton, 1995b: 213; Wild, 2007b: 33; Pierce, M.P., Branstetter, et al. 2017: 137; Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 22 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of speciosa: Kempf, 1960f: 434; Kempf, 1972a: 118; Kempf, 1973b: 230; Bolton, 1995b: 213; Pierce, M.P., Branstetter, et al. 2017: 137; Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 22.
    • Distribution: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay.
  • speciosa. Lundella speciosa Borgmeier, 1937b: 241, figs. 25-29 (w.) BRAZIL (no state data).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 22), 2 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: lectotype Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Itatiaia (J.F. Zikán); paralectotypes with same data.
    • [Note: initially described from Bazil (no further data). Kempf, 1960f: 435, recorded 3 syntypes with the data Rio de Janeiro, Itatiaia (J.F. Zikán).]
    • Type-depository: MZSP.
    • Junior synonym of balzani: Kempf, 1960f: 434; Kempf, 1972a: 118; Kempf, 1973b: 230; Bolton, 1995b: 213; Pierce, M.P., Branstetter, et al. 2017: 137.

Type Material

Emery (1894) only described the worker of Tetramorium balzani. While visiting MSNG, Ulyssea & Brandao (2021) found a worker and queen pinned together and labeled “typus”. The original description gives a worker size range, but there were no other workers in the collection, and Emery may have mistakenly included the queen in the measurements or the other worker(s) from this series is missing. Ulyssea & Brandao (2021) designate the worker as lectotype.

Taxonomic Notes

Ulyssea & Brandao (2021): Borgmeier’s (1937) original description of Lundella speciosa makes reference to the similarity between L. speciosa (RJ, Brazil) and L. balzani (Argentina, Paraguay). Lundella speciosa was separated from L. balzani by the larger body (vs. smaller), bicolored integument—blackish mesosoma, light-brown appendices (vs. brownish), and longer propodeal spine (vs. shorter). Brown (1953) synonymized Lundella under Hylomyrma, and Kempf (1960) considered Hylomyrma balzani as a senior synonym of H. speciosa based on the study of more than 100 specimens (workers and queens) from Argentina, Brazil (PR, RJ, RS, and SC), and Paraguay. According to Kempf (1960), the range of morphological variation observed in H. balzani specimens from the south and southeast regions of Brazil included body measures, propodeal spine length, and the bicolored integument of H. speciosa.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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