Megalomyrmex iheringi

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Megalomyrmex iheringi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Megalomyrmex
Species group: modestus
Species: M. iheringi
Binomial name
Megalomyrmex iheringi
Forel, 1911

Megalomyrmex iheringi casent0908786 p 1 high.jpg

Megalomyrmex iheringi casent0908786 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Brandão (1990) - At the Estacao Biologica de Boraceia I collected, under a rotten log, a colony with 260 workers, immatures (only larvae) and a dealated queen. The colony occupied hollow spaces among crevices and the soil beneath. I was not able to observe any definite entrances. Uiderwaldt (1926) described the nest of M. iheringi as: “found in the wild, among bromeliads and epiphytes, with approximately 200 workers”.


Brandão (1990) - The medium seta of the clypeus may be wanting in some workers. Also the antennal sockets may be circled by a faint striation, which can reach the lateral portions of the clypeus.


M. iheringi is known only from localities above 800m at Serra do Mar, in the vicinity of the city of Sao Paulo.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -23.33° to -24.315°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil (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.


Brandão (2003) - The Estação Biológica de Boracéia, from where most of the few known samples of M. iheringi came from, is located some 70 Km in straight line from Ilha de São Sebastião. This island is separated from the mainland by the relatively narrow São Sebastião Channel (less than 2 Km in the narrower width), and it is covered by vegetation which is very similar to that of the Serra do Mar. In my 1990 revision, I listed a worker of Megalomyrmex goeldii from Boracéia, although a re-examination of this individual led me to re-identify it as a very small M. iheringi. This raises doubts on the identity of M. iheringi, as I used overall size as the main diagnostic character between them. This was also the only locality where sympatry was ever recorded among these two species. It seems premature to consider them conspecific given that the two species consistently differ in the length of the trunk.

I also studied a worker (Laboratório de Mirmecologia CEPEC / CPDC collection # 143) from Parque Estadual Carlos Botelho, São Paulo state, Brazil (24°00’-20’S, 47°44’-48’W) collected with “Taz” (sic) bait by Y.M.B. Neptume in January 13, 1991. This collection was made probably around the headquarters of the Park. The latter covers parts of Eldorado Paulista, Sete Barras, Tapirai and São Miguel Arcanjo counties. This is an additional record of M. iheringi with consistently larger measurements of Weber’s length of thunk than in any M. goeldii.

Recently, Tavares (2002) collected a worker of M. iheringi at 750 m of altitude from sea level in Base Barra Grande, Parque Estadual Intervales (24°17’02”S, 47°45’20’30”W), São Paulo state, Brazil, syntopic with M. goeldii, also from 1 m2 litter samples subjected to Winkler extractor. This is the southernmost record for this species.



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

  • iheringi. Megalomyrmex iheringi Forel, 1911c: 304 (w.) BRAZIL (São Paulo).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Brandão, 1990b: 425), 14 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: lectotype Brazil: São Paulo, Parque Cajuru, Alta da Serra (Lüderwaldt) (by restriction of Brandão, 1990b: 424); paralectotypes: 4 workers with same data, 10 workers Alta da Serra, Bahnhof (v. Ihering).
    • Type-depositories: MZSP (lectotype); MHNG, MNRJ, MZSP (paralectotypes).
    • [Misspelled as jheringi by Borgmeier, 1927c: 100, Kempf, 1972a: 140.]
    • Borgmeier, 1930: 33 (q.).
    • Status as species: Luederwaldt, 1918: 43; Emery, 1922e: 190; Wheeler, W.M. 1925a: 33 (in key); Borgmeier, 1927c: 100; Borgmeier, 1930: 33; Ettershank, 1966: 105; Kempf, 1972a: 140; Brandão, 1990b: 424 (redescription); Bolton, 1995b: 249; Brandão, 2003: 148.
    • Distribution: Brazil.

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



Brandão (1990) - Mandibles smooth; clypeus not carinate, with anterior margin round, not denticulate; frontal suture not impressed: club with 3 segments; occipital margin raised but not visible in frontal view; dorsal pronotal profile continuous: promesonotal suture impressed dorsally; mesosternum and metasternum without ventral processes: dorsal face and declivity of propodeum meeting laterally in an obtuse angle, dorsal face faintly impressed medially; declivity without rugosities: ventral face of petiole with anterior denticle; postpetiole without ventral process.

Pilosity: small suberect hairs (ca .1 mm) uniformly covering antennae, head capsule, mandibles, legs, anterior face of petiole and postpetiole nodes and gaster. Long hairs (ca. .2mm) at thorax dorsum and apex of petiole and postpetiole nodes.

Color: uniformly bright reddish-brown.

Borgmeier (1930) pointed out some inaccuracies in Forel's original description, especially as to the raised margin of vertex. Furthermore, I observed in all studied workers an anterior denticle on the ventral face of the petiole, contrary to Forel's statements.

Type Material

Parque Cajuru, Alto da Serra (municipio de Paranapiacaba), SP, Brasil (23°47'S, 46°19'W). Borgmeier, 1930: 33-34, est. 5, figs. 29-32, queen. Lectotype designation: Lectotype (Alto da Serra) and 14 paralectotypes (10 from Alto da Serra and 4 from Parque Cajuru) at Museu de Zoologia da USP; 1 paralectotype (Alto da Serra) at Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro: 3 paralectotypes (Alto da Serra) at Museum de Ia Ville de Geneve.

The female caste has been described by Borgmeier (op. cit.) from a dealated queen, possibly collected with the syntype workers. and labelled as a “cotype”. As Forel explicitly used only the worker and may have not even studied this particular female I added a label to the queen saying “nao consta da descricao original, Brandao, 1985”. All known queens of this species are dealated. Borgmeier's specimen has the largest ocelli in the series.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bieber A. G. D., P. D. Silva, and P. S. Oliveira. 2013. Attractiveness of Fallen Fleshy Fruits to Ants Depends on Previous Handling by Frugivores. Écoscience 20: 85-89.
  • Borgmeier T. 1930. Duas rainhas de Eciton e algumas outras formigas brasileiras. Archivos do Instituto Biológico (São Paulo) 3: 21-40.
  • Brandão C. R. F. 1990. Systematic revision of the Neotropical ant genus Megalomyrmex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae), with the description of thirteen new species. Arquivos de Zoologia (São Paulo) 31: 411-481
  • Brandão C. R. F. 2003. Further revisionary studies on the ant genus Megalomyrmex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia (São Paulo) 43: 145-159
  • Fernandes T. T., R. R. Silva, D. Rodrigues de Souza-Campana, O. Guilherme Morais da Silva, and M. Santina de Castro Morini. 2019. Winged ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) presence in twigs on the leaf litter of Atlantic Forest. Biota Neotropica 19(3):
  • Figueiredo C. J. de, R. R. da Silva, C. de Bortoli Munhae, and M. S. de Castro Morini. 2013. Ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) attracted to underground traps in Atlantic Forest. Biota Neotrop 13(1): 176-182
  • Forel A. 1911. Ameisen des Herrn Prof. v. Ihering aus Brasilien (Sao Paulo usw.) nebst einigen anderen aus Südamerika und Afrika (Hym.). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1911: 285-312.
  • Kempf W. W. 1978. A preliminary zoogeographical analysis of a regional ant fauna in Latin America. 114. Studia Entomologica 20: 43-62.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Luederwaldt H. 1918. Notas myrmecologicas. Rev. Mus. Paul. 10: 29-64.
  • Pacheco, R., R.R. Silva, M.S. de C. Morini, C.R.F. Brandao. 2009. A Comparison of the Leaf-Litter Ant Fauna in a Secondary Atlantic Forest with an Adjacent Pine Plantation in Southeastern Brazil. Neotropical Entomology 38(1):055-065
  • Silva R.R., and C. R. F. Brandao. 2014. Ecosystem-Wide Morphological Structure of Leaf-Litter Ant Communities along a Tropical Latitudinal Gradient. PLoSONE 9(3): e93049. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093049
  • Souza D. R. de., T. T. Fernandes, J. R. de Oloveira Nascimento, S. S. Suguituru, and M. S. de C. Morini. 2012. Characterization of ant communities (Hymenoptera Formicidae) in twigs in the leaf litter of the Atlantic rainforest and Eucalyptus trees in the southeast region of Brazil. Psyche 2012(532768): 1-12
  • Suguituru S. S., D. R. de Souza, C. de Bortoli Munhae, R. Pacheco, and M. S. de Castro Morini. 2011. Diversidade e riqueza de formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) em remanescentes de Mata Atlântica na Bacia Hidrográfica do Alto Tietê, SP. Biota Neotrop. 13(2): 141-152.
  • Suguituru S. S., M. Santina de Castro Morini, R. M. Feitosa, and R. Rosa da Silva. 2015. Formigas do Alto Tiete. Canal 6 Editora 458 pages
  • Suguituru S. S., R. Rosa Silva, D. R. de Souza, C. de Bortoli Munhae, and M. Santina de Castro Morini. Ant community richness and composition across a gradient from Eucalyptus plantations to secondary Atlantic Forest. Biota Neotrop. 11(1): 369-376.
  • Ulyssea M. A., C. R. F. Brandao. 2013. Catalogue of Dacetini and Solenopsidini ant type specimens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Papies Avulsos de Zoologia 53(14): 187-209.