Simopelta fernandezi

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Simopelta fernandezi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Simopelta
Species: S. fernandezi
Binomial name
Simopelta fernandezi
Mackay, W.P. & Mackay, E.E., 2008

Mackay and Mackay 2008 Simopelta33.jpg

Specimens have been collected by hand from tropical forest.


Mackay and Mackay (2008) - This species could be confused with Simopelta williamsi, as both have well defined, transverse striae on the posterior half of the head. It can be separated by the relatively short mesonotum (the mesonotum and dorsal face of the propodeum are about equal in length in S. williamsi). Additionally the third (basalmost) mandibular tooth is sharp, not truncated as in S. williamsi. It could also be confused with S. breviscapa, but differs in having an elongated antennal scape. The relatively large eye could cause confusion with Simopelta oculata. It can be easily separated by the transverse striae on the dorsum of the head, the head of S. oculata is densely punctated. A few specimens have a relatively long mesonotum, as well as an elongated petiolar node (Colombia: Magdalena, Valle del Cauca, Caquetá, Humboldt Institute). The specimens will be considered to be “near williamsi” until more specimens become available.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 2.7975° to 2.7975°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Colombia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


High elevation (1770-1800 m) tropical forest.



Known only from the worker caste.



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

  • fernandezi. Simopelta fernandezi Mackay & Mackay, 2008: 301, figs. 15, 33 (w.) COLOMBIA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 1 paratype worker.
    • Type-locality: holotype Colombia: Caquetá, PNN Picachos, 2°47’51’’N, 74°51’18’’W, 1770 m., manual 3h No. 6, 3.xi.1997 (F. Escobar & E. González); paratype with same data.
    • Type-depositories: IAVH (holotype); WEMC (paratype).
    • Status as species: Fernández & Guerrero, 2019: 546.
    • Distribution: Colombia.

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



The worker is medium sized (total length < 4 mm), dark reddish brown ant, with lighter brown appendages. The head length ranges from 0.86-0.94 mm, the head width from 0.66-0.70. The anterior medial border of the clypeus is angulate, but does not project significantly from the border. The mandible has three teeth, which are approximately equal in size and all with sharp tips. The eye is relatively small (maximum diameter 0.09 mm) located nearly two maximum eye diameters from the anterior border of the head. The scape (0.90-0.99 mm) is relatively long, and extends well past the posterior lateral corner of the head. The anterior border of the mesonotum is noticeably lower than the posterior border of the pronotum, and the outline of the mesosoma is broadly concave. The mesonotum is noticeably shorter in length (0.30 mm, as seen in profile) than the dorsal face of the propodeum (> 0.40 mm). The anterior and posterior faces of the petiole are nearly parallel, and a well defined, horizontal, dorsal face is present. The node is elongate and narrowed anteriorly, as viewed from above. The spiracular horns are developed and the subpetiolar process is developed into a triangular-shaped form. The process can be seen to be thickened and nearly bipartite posteriorly, when viewed from below.

Erect hairs are short (< 0.04 mm), sparse, and mostly restricted to the clypeus, the ventral surface of the head, and all surfaces of the gaster. Most of the remainder of the hairs are decumbent or suberect, including the hairs on the legs, and the scapes. The posterior half of the dorsum of the head is covered with reticulated striae, which pass transversely across the head and turn anteriorly along the sides of the head. The anterior half of the dorsum of the head is mostly punctate. The dorsum and sides of the mesosoma have similar sculpture, although the transverse rugulae are more defined on the mesonotum and dorsum of the propodeum. The side of the pronotum has concentric, curved rugulae, those on the mesopleuron and side of the propodeum are longitudinal, and oblique. The striae on the petiole pass around the anterior face, the side and the posterior face, and pass transversely across the top. The gaster is smooth and glossy. The female and male are unknown.

Type Material

Holotype worker (Humboldt Institute), one paratype worker (William and Emma Mackay Collection), COLOMBIA Caquetá, PNN Picachos 2°47’51N 74°51’18W 1770m, manual 3h No 6-3.xi.97, F. Escobar E. González.


This species is named in honor of our close friend and colleague, Fernando Fernández, tropical myrmecologist, who has done extensive work to further the understanding of Neotropical ants.