|At a Glance||• Ergatoid queen|
Specimens have been collected from a dead twig above the ground in montane rainforest.
Within the Malagasy fauna of the emeryi species group there is a complex of six species (Simopone consimilis, Simopone emeryi, Simopone fera, Simopone inculta, Simopone merita, Simopone nonnihil) distinguished by the following combination of characters.
1 Complete absence of setae on the tergites of AII to AIV (and frequently also absent from AV), while setae are retained on sternites of AIII and AIV.
2 AII in dorsal view is usually slightly longer than broad, at most about as broad as long (AIIW/AIIL 0.88–1.03).
3 Posterior corners of AII, in dorsal view, do not project into laterally directed triangular teeth.
4 Dorsum of mesosoma entirely lacks pubescence, or at most pubescence is extremely dilute and inconspicuous.
5 There is a tendency for the apices of the frontal lobes to project anteriorly, so that their apices are distinctly anterior to the level of the anterior clypeal margin (not in consimilis or merita).
Within this complex reduction in setae is taken to extremes in fera and inculta, where standing setae are absent from the leading edges of the scapes, from the cephalic dorsum above the eyes and from the pronotal humeri, sites where they are usually present in the other species. In addition to this, setae are restricted to the posterior margins of the sternites of AIII and AIV, and the degree of projection of the frontal lobes beyond the level of the anterior clypeal margin is very pronounced. Of the final four, consimilis is unique as it is the only known species in which the sides of the mesosoma, in dorsal view, are evenly shallowly convex along their entire length, so that the mesosoma is broadest across about the midlength of the mesonotum. In nonnihil the propodeal declivity is bluntly carinate laterally and the carina extends across the junction of the propodeal dorsum and declivity, but is usually interrupted mid-dorsally. Also in this species the frontal lobes distinctly project farther forward than the anterior margin of the clypeus and the cephalic dorsum between the eyes has dense, longitudinal striolate-punctulate ground sculpture. In both emeryi and merita the propodeal dorsum meets the declivity through a narrow but rounded angle, without a carina, and in both species the anteriormost points of the frontal carinae are roughly level with the anterior clypeal margin, not conspicuously projecting beyond it. S. merita has strong longitudinal ground sculpture right across the head between the eyes and has punctate sculpture on the mesonotum that is very reduced, much less dense and intense than on the pronotum. By comparison, emeryi lacks longitudinal ground sculpture between the eyes, or at most has a small patch above each eye, and has punctate sculpture on the mesonotum equal in density and intensity to that on the pronotum.
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Little is known about the biology of most species of Simopone. Specimens are rarely collected, and the number of species known only from workers is telling in regards to a lack of nest samples. Species are almost entirely arboreal but on occasion foraging workers are found on the ground or in rotten logs. Prey records are extremely sparse. They consist only of Crematogaster brood by Simopone vepres, and the brood of Terataner by Simopone sicaria. Nevertheless, these two records support the general supposition by Brown (1975) that most or all members of tribe Cerapachyini prey on other ants, or more probably the brood of other ants, but actual records are extremely rare. (Bolton and Fisher 2012)
Unlike in Africa, dealate queens have never been found in Madagascar, and the working assumption is that ergatoid queens exist in all species from Madagascar.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- emeryi. Simopone (Cerapachys) emeryi Forel, 1892l: 247 (w.) MADAGASCAR. See also: Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 50, figs. 46-48.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Bolton and Fisher (2012) - HL 1.32–1.56, HW 0.87–1.14, SL 0.38–0.48, EL 0.35–0.43, PW 0.66–0.86, AIIW 0.61–0.78, AIIL 0.66–0.80, AIIIW 0.72–0.90, AIIIL 0.81–0.97, WL 1.50–1.76, MFL 0.76–0.93, CI 66–74, SI 41–44, EL/HW 0.36– 0.40, EP 0.96–1.08, AIIW/AIIL 0.92–1.00, AIIIW/AIIIL 0.89–0.94 (6 measured).
In full-face view anteriormost points of frontal lobes project slightly beyond the level of the anterior clypeal margin. Eyes located very close to the cephalic midlength (EP 0.96–1.08). Leading edge of scape with 1–2 projecting setae that are inclined toward the scape apex. In full-face view sides of head without projecting setae and in profile cephalic dorsum without standing setae. Cephalic dorsum between eyes without striolate ground sculpture between punctures, or at most with a small patch above each eye. In dorsal view the pronotum with a transverse carina anteriorly. Propodeal dorsum meets declivity through a blunt angle, without trace of a carina. Promesonotal suture weakly impressed; metanotal groove vestigial to absent. Mesosoma in dorsal view narrowest across mesonotum, broadest across propodeum. Density of punctate sculpture on pronotal and
mesonotal dorsa about the same, without a very obvious reduction in density on the mesonotum. Pronotum with a single pair of setae close to the humeri; mesonotum and propodeum without setae. Mesopleuron without a transverse sulcus but area of katepisternum sculptured, of anepisternum smooth. Dorsal (outer) surfaces of mesotibiae and metatibiae without projecting setae. Dorsal surface of AII (petiole) meets anterior surface through an angle, but there is no transverse carina. Posteriorly the dorsum of AII lacks a sharp carina, but usually a weak ridge is present immediately above the foramen. In dorsal view the posterior corners of AII are rounded, without posteriorly or laterally projecting sharp angles or teeth. In dorsal view AII as long as broad to slightly longer than broad; AIII slightly longer than broad; AIV broader than long. Abdominal tergites from AII to AIV without setae, but setae sparsely present on sternite of AIII, and very obvious on sternite of AIV. Abdominal tergites AII to AIV sculptured only with small punctures. Full adult colour black, appendages and clypeus somewhat lighter.
Bolton and Fisher (2012) - Holotype worker, Madagascar: data label on holotype states, “Nosibé, Village de l’Imerina (Sikora)”; published locality data states, “Environs de la ville d’Anosibé (province des Bezanozano), à trois journées à l’est-sud-est d’Antananarivo (Sikora)” (Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève) [examined].
- Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2012. Taxonomy of the cerapachyine ant genera Simopone Forel, Vicinopone gen. n. and Tanipone gen. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 3283, 1–101.
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1975. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. V. Ponerinae, tribes Platythyreini, Cerapachyini, Cylindromyrmecini, Acanthostichini, and Aenictogitini. Search Agric. (Ithaca N. Y.) 5(1 1: 1-115 (see also)
- Forel, A. 1892o. Les Formicides. [concl.]. In: Grandidier, A. Histoire physique, naturelle, et politique de Madagascar. Volume XX. Histoire naturelle des Hyménoptères. Deuxième partie. Supplèment au 28e fascicule. Paris: Hachette et Cie, pp. 229-280. (page 247, worker described)