Mycetophylax conformis

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Mycetophylax conformis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Mycetophylax
Species: M. conformis
Binomial name
Mycetophylax conformis
(Mayr, 1884)

Mycetophylax conformis casent0905913 p 1 high.jpg

Mycetophylax conformis casent0905913 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Mycetophylax conformis builds its nests in dry sand of ocean beaches and foraged exclusively along the water's edge (Jaffe, 1993). It occurs sympatrically with Mycetophylax morschi in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Atlantic beaches, but their nest distribution does not overlap, as M. conformis nests close to the sea, at the pre-dunes, while M. morschi nests at the dune and “restingas” areas. Klingenberg et al. (2007) published detailed information on M. conformis nest architecture, position and size of the fungus chamber, composition of the waste, and colony population.

At a Glance • Intertidal zone  



Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil, French Guiana (type locality), Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




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

  • conformis. Cyphomyrmex conformis Mayr, 1884: 38 (w.) FRENCH GUIANA. Klingenberg & Brandão, 2009: 8, 16 (q.m.). Combination in Mycetophylax: Kempf, 1962b: 34. Senior synonym of brittoni, littoralis: Kempf, 1962b: 34.
  • brittoni. Myrmicocrypta brittoni Wheeler, W.M. 1907c: 728, pl. 50, figs. 18, 19 (w.) PUERTO RICO. Wheeler, W.M. 1911b: 170 (m.). Combination in Cyphomyrmex (Mycetophylax): Emery, 1913b: 251; in Mycetophylax: Weber, 1937: 401. Junior synonym of conformis: Kempf, 1962b: 34.
  • littoralis. Mycetophylax brittoni var. littoralis Weber, 1937: 401 (w.m.) TRINIDAD. Junior synonym of conformis: Kempf, 1962b: 34.

Type Material

Klingenberg and Brandao 2009:

(worker) Holotype, French Guiana, Cayenne (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, not examined)

Myrmicocrypta brittoni (worker) Syntype, "Porto Rico (sic), Santurce (Wheeler), no coll. date" (American Museum of Natural History, examined)

Mycetophylax brittoni var. littoralis (worker) Syntype, "Trinidad, B. W. I. Mayaro Bay, 11.iii.1935, N. A. Weber" (Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, examined)


Klingenberg and Brandao 2009:


Range of measurements (in mm) and indices of examined specimens (N = 80): IOD 0.58-0.78; HL 0.63-0.82; CI 91-101; SL 0.49-0.70; SI 76-98; ML 0.28-0.43; MI 39-59; WL 0.78-1.13; PrW 0.37-0.58; PL 0.10-0.20; PPL 0.17-0.29; GL 0.53-0.78; FL 0.64-0.92; TL 2.62-3.41.

Color dark brown to black, legs brownish. Entire body covered by short golden hairs, sparse and appressed. Legs and antennae covered by the same type of hairs, only the area between the preocular carinae and frontal carinae hairless, and masticatory border of mandibles with longer hairs. Sculpture shiny and areolate; mandibles shining.

Head slightly longer than wide (see CI). Compound eyes at anterior fourth of head with eleven ommatidia at major length and nine ommatidia at major width. Mandibles triangular with nine to ten regular teeth. Median portion of clypeus attaining posterior level of antennal insertions, ending in a rounded suture followed by a small but distinctly impressed hairless frontal triangle. External margins of frontal lobes gently rounded, their maximum expansion little more than half the distance between the median line and external borders of the head. Lateral carinae parallel to the head lateral margin in frontal view, touching the internal margins of the compound eyes, but not reaching the vertexal margin. The space between the lateral and frontal carinae depressed, mostly smooth or vestigially areolate. Antennal scapes slightly curved, surpassing the posterolateral corners of the head by a distance smaller than their diameter at apex. Antennae ending in a two-segmented club, last antennal segment as long as the two anterior together.

Mesosoma. In lateral view, profile of dorsal surface evenly convex and continuous, with a low vestigial tumulus at mid mesonotum. Inferior margin of pronotum mostly rounded, sometimes with a recognizable inferior spine, varying in size among individuals. Metapropodeal impression barely distinct. Basal face of propodeum slightly convex and armed with a pair of small but conspicuous spines, directed up-and backwards. Declivous face of propodeum concave and nearly with the same length as the basal face. Propodeal spiracle distinct, with rounded opening obliquely directed circa 30° in relation of the main body axis. Node of petiole twice as wide as the peduncle and, in lateral view, as long as high; postpetiole wider than long. Posterior area of postpetiole with a slight impression, however the posterior margin straight. Gaster with a small median ventral keel at first sternite.


Range of measurements (in mm) and indices of examined specimens (N = 10): IOD 0.82-0.96; HL 0.84-0.95; CI 96-102; SL 0.66-0.78; SI 77-87; ML 0.36-0.50; MI 36-46; WL 1.28-1.46; PL 0.22-0.30; PPL 0.22-0.26; GL 1.06-1.24; TL 4.00-4.65.

Color yellowish to brown, depending on age. Compound eyes at maximum length with 18 ommatidia and at maximum width with 17 ommatidia. In lateral view, scutum covering almost the whole pronotum, scutum flattened above. Pronotum with blunt and triangular inferior pronotal spines. Parapsidial lines smooth, shiny and free of hairs, almost parallel in relation to the median axis of the body. Notaulices almost indistinct, marked only by the lighter color of the integument; axillae subtriangular. Scutum-scutellar sulcus distinct and prescutellum well developed with longitudinal rugae. Scutellum reduced in width posteriorly; posterior margin slightly concave with two small protuberances at the posterior angles. Anepisternum subtriangular, anterior border of katepisternum sinuous; both divided by a groove. The propodeum with a pair of blunt spines, directed back- and upwards.


Range of measurements (in mm) and indices of examined specimens (N = 13): IOD 0.46-0.52; HL 0.46-0.53; CI 90-104; SL 0.44-0.52; SI 92-108; ML 0.18-0.22; MI 36-46; WL 1.02-1.18; PL 0.20-0.22; PPL 0.16-0.19; GL 0.82-0.94; TL 2.87-3.16.

Color brown. Mandibles, legs, base and apical segments of antennae yellowish. Integument areolate-imbricate, gaster imbricate. Head subquadrate, posterolateral corners rounded, vertexal margin straight. Compound eyes with 25 ommatidia at maximum length and 20 ommatidia at maximum width. Number of teeth on mandibles variable, at most seven. The two subequal apical teeth longer than the preceding. Anterior clypeal margin straight, bearing three fine and long setae. Median portion of clypeus attaining the posterior level of antennal insertions. Posterior clypeal margin rounded. Frontal lobes reduced, not fully covering the antennal insertions, but attaining the posterior level of compound eyes. Lateral carinae following the compound eyes margin until its posterior level, then curving in direction of the middle of the head, converging to the posterior portion of the frontal lobes, and thus forming a rounded almost indistinct arch. Apex of antennal scapes a little wider than base. Antennae 12-segmented, ending in a three-segmented club; the last segment with the same length as the two anterior together. In lateral view, scutum covering more than 2/3 of the pronotum. Anterior pronotal spines vestigial. Notaulices shallowly impressed. Prescutellum reduced, triangular axillae small; scutum-scutellar sulcus distinct and impressed. Scutum subtriangular, with the anterior margin straight. Anepisternum subtriangular with the posterior vertex rounded; antero-inferior corner of katepisternum rounded. Propodeum with a pair of very small spines or teeth.


  • n = 15, 2n = 30, karyotype = 22M+8SM (Brazil) (Cardoso et al., 2012a; Cardoso et al., 2014; Moura et al., 2020).
  • 2n = 30, karyotype = 11M + 4SM (Brazil) (Micolino et al., 2019).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Clemes Cardoso D., M. Passos Cristiano, J. Heinze, and M. G. Tavares. 2014. A nuclear DNA based phylogeny of endemic sand dune ants of the genus Mycetophylax (Emery, 1913): How morphology is reflected in molecular data. Molecular phylogenetics and Evolution 70: 378–382.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Jaffe, Klaus and Lattke, John. 1994. Ant Fauna of the French and Venezuelan Islands in the Caribbean in Exotic Ants, editor D.F. Williams. 182-190.
  • Kempf W. W. 1962. Miscellaneous studies on neotropical ants. II. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 5: 1-38.
  • 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).
  • Klingenberg C. and Brandão, C. R. F. 2009. Revision of the fungus-growing ant genera Mycetophylax Emery and Paramycetophylax Kusnezov rev. stat., and description of Kalathomyrmex n. gen. (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini). Zootaxa 2052: 1-31
  • Klingenberg, C. and C.R.F. Brandao. 2005. The type specimens of fungus growing ants, Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia 45(4):41-50
  • Radoszkowsky O. 1884. Fourmis de Cayenne Française. Trudy Russkago Entomologicheskago Obshchestva 18: 30-39.
  • Smith M. R. 1937. The ants of Puerto Rico. Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico 20: 819-875.
  • Snelling R. 1993. Ants of Guana Island, British Virgin Islands. Notes From Underground 8: 11-12.
  • Torres, Juan A. and Roy R. Snelling. 1997. Biogeography of Puerto Rican ants: a non-equilibrium case?. Biodiversity and Conservation 6:1103-1121.
  • Weber N. A. 1937. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part l. New forms. Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 7: 378-409.
  • Weber N. A. 1945. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part VIII. The Trinidad, B. W. I., species. Revista de Entomologia (Rio de Janeiro) 16: 1-88.
  • Weber, Neal A. 1968. Tobago Island Fungus-growing Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological News. 79:141-145.
  • Weber, Neal A. 1968. Tobago Island Fungus-growing Ants. Entomological News. 79(6): 141-145.
  • Weber, Neil A. 1968. Tobago Island Fungus-growing Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological News. 79(6):141-145.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1907. The fungus-growing ants of North America. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 23: 669-807.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1908. The ants of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24: 117-158.
  • Wheeler, William Morton. 1911. Ants Collected in Grenada, W.I. by Mr. C. T. Brues. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparitive Zoology at Harvard College. 54(5):166-172.