Simopelta paeminosa

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Simopelta paeminosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Simopelta
Species: S. paeminosa
Binomial name
Simopelta paeminosa
Snelling, R.R., 1971

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Specimen Labels

Workers have been collected from leaf litter. Longino - This species occurs in mature montane forest habitats, generally above 1000m elevation. I know it from the upper Peñas Blancas Valley, the 1100m site on the Barva transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park, Wilson Botanical Garden near San Vito, and the Bocas del Toro area of Panama. I also have one collection given to me by Bill Brown from Valle, Colombia. He identified it as an undescribed species, but it matches my concept of paeminosa. For one collection (JTL0863) I observed workers and brood caches in the leaf litter. The larvae were of uniform size, and closely matched the "young larva" illustrations in Wheeler and Wheeler (1986, Figs. 11b, 13a, 14c). Another collection (JTL4360) was a colony in a clump of dirt in the middle of a recent clearing in mature forest. I tried excavating it and found workers and larvae scattered in the dirt mound, but I never found a queen.

Identification

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - The relatively small eye would separate this species from Simopelta oculata and Simopelta andersoni. The granulated sculpturing of the head distinguishes it from several species, which have transverse striae or rugae (i.e. S. transversa). The three-toothed mandible separates it from the Brazilian Simopelta curvata. The dark color distinguishes it from the Brazilian Simopelta minima and the Central and South American Simopelta pergandei. The punctures on the dorsum of the postpetiole would distinguish it from all the other species. Five specimens (5 k SW of the Estación Biológica Las Cruces) differ in having finer and sparser punctures (about 6 per 0.1 mm2 versus about 10 per 0.1 mm²), as well as in having small punctures on the second gastral tergum, which are lacking in the typical S. paeminosa, and could be a new species.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Colombia, Costa Rica (type locality), Panama.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Habitat

Wet montane tropical and cloud forest, 1050 - 1150m. Costa Rica: montane sites from Cordillera de Tilarán southward.

Biology

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Worker

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • paeminosa. Simopelta paeminosa Snelling, R.R. 1971b: 17, fig. 1 (w.) COSTA RICA. Combination in Belonopelta: Baroni Urbani, 1975b: 300; in Simopelta: Bolton, 1995b: 383. See also: Mackay & Mackay, 2008: 315.

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

Description

Worker

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - These are moderate sized (total length slightly over 4 mm), dark reddish black ants, with appendages being somewhat paler. The mandible has three teeth, the basalmost tooth usually being poorly developed. The anterior border of the clypeus is broadly convex, without a spine. The eye is relatively small (0.08 mm, maximum diameter about ½ distance between anterior edge of eye and anterior edge of head). The anterior face of the petiole is broadly rounded, meeting the posterior, vertical face at a right angle.

Erect and suberect hairs are present on most surfaces, including the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the head, scape, mesosoma, petiole, gaster, the hairs on the legs are finer and suberect. The entire head, mesosoma, and petiole are granulate and dull, or with poorly defined rugae, the dorsum of the propodeum and petiole have poorly defined, transverse rugae, the dorsum of the postpetiole is covered with scattered, punctures, with the region between the punctures being smooth and glossy.

Type Material

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - Worker, Costa Rica: Puntarenas, 4 mi S San Vito de Java [paratype seen, Museum of Comparative Zoology]. The holotype is deposited in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, paratypes are in the LACM, American Museum of Natural History and MCZC.

References