Simopone marleyi

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Simopone marleyi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Simopone
Species group: emeryi
Species: S. marleyi
Binomial name
Simopone marleyi
Arnold, 1915

Simopone marleyi casent0106075 profile 1.jpg

Simopone marleyi casent0106075 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

A series collected by Robertson contained workers, queens and males. This is the only Afrotropical species for which a worker-associated male is known. Arnold (1915) reported S. marleyi from hollow stalks of castor bean plant in Natal, South Africa.


A member of the emeryi species group. This beautiful South African species is unlikely to be confused with any other in the region. The morphology of the clypeus and frontal lobes is unique among the Afrotropical species, and this, coupled with its size and the clear yellow colour of nearly the entire head and body, renders the species unmistakable. (Bolton & Fisher, 2012).

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa (type locality).

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)



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

  • marleyi. Simopone marleyi Arnold, 1915: 20 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA.
    • Type-material: 3 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: South Africa: Durban, Stella Bush,, in hollow stems of castor-oil plant (H.W.B. Marley).
    • Type-depository: SAMC.
    • Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 32 (q.).
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 757; Brown, 1975: 36; Bolton, 1995b: 383; Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 30 (redescription).
    • Distribution: South Africa.



Bolton and Fisher (2012) - HL 1.48–1.58, HW 0.93–1.07, SL 0.40–0.46, EL 0.38–0.42, PW 0.71–0.82, AIIW 0.64–0.74, AIIL 0.65–0.72, AIIIW 0.82–0.93, AIIIL 0.76–0.88, WL 1.55–1.76, MFL 0.74–0.80, CI 63–68, SI 42–45, EL/HW 0.38–0.42, EP 1.11–1.25, AIIW/AIIL 0.97–1.06, AIIIW/AIIIL 0.97–1.08 (5 measured).

Clypeus strongly reflexed so that the clypeo-labral junction is conspicuously below and far behind the anteriormost point of the apparent anterior margin. In full-face view the frontal lobes/carinae broadest anteriorly; flared outwards apically and forming a pair of rounded, anteriorly prominent small lobes whose apices project distinctly farther forward than the apparent anterior clypeal margin between them. Lateral portions of clypeus also with a prominent lobe on each side, in full-face view located in front of the antennal sockets, lateral to and on a slightly lower level than the apical lobes of the frontal lobes. Frontal carinae extend back to the level of the anterior margins of the eyes. Eyes located close to the cephalic midlength, EP 1.11–1.25; in full-face view outer margins of eyes do not interrupt the outlines of the sides. Scape flattened apically but not extremely broad, SW/SL 0.63–0.69. Leading edge of scape with 1–2 short inconspicuous setae present. Sides of head below and behind eyes with a few very short, anteriorly curved setae present; cephalic dorsum with a few short, subdecumbent to decumbent inconspicuous setae present. Cephalic dorsum with faint, weak superficial microreticulate ground sculpture, upon which are scattered a few punctures. In dorsal view pronotum with a conspicuous anterior carina; humeri not sharply angulate; promesonotal suture an incised line, without distinct cross-ribs. Metanotal groove vestigial to absent. Side of pronotum, just above base of anterior coxa, with a conspicuous translucent fenestra of extremely thin cuticle. Propodeum with a weaker carina between dorsum and declivity, which continues down the sides of the declivity. Entire dorsum of mesosoma sculptured as the head but the superficial microreticulation may be extremely faint, no more than surface patterning. Dorsal surfaces of mesosoma with short setae that are decumbent to appressed. AII (petiole) with a very weak transverse ridge between anterior and dorsal surfaces; posteriorly with a somewhat stronger ridge or weak carina. In dorsal view the sides of AII are divergent from front to rear, broadest at or just before the posterior angles, the latter acute and sometimes slightly produced laterally. Anteroventral process of AII a short cuticular flange that may be dentiform apically; not a slender recurved hook or spur. AII in dorsal view about as long as broad, AIII usually fractionally broader than long, and AIV distinctly broader than long; maximum width of AIV 0.97–1.14, maximum length 0.76–0.88. Abdominal tergites, from AII to apex, without distinct elevated setae except at their apices; most setae very short and almost appressed, with the appearance of appressed long pubescence. Femora and tibiae of middle and hind legs with very sparse, short, strongly inclined setae, almost hairless. Pygidial fork short and stout, the pygidial margins on each side with a row of 6–7 denticles. Full adult colour of head and body clear yellow, pretergites of AIV and posterior halves of pygidium and hypopogyium dark brown.


Bolton and Fisher (2012) - (dealate gyne). HL 1.52–1.54, HW 1.02, SL 0.44, EL 0.40–0.41, PW 0.86–0.87, AIIW 0.67–0.72, AIIL 0.70–0.71, AIIIW 0.89–0.92, AIIIL 0.84–0.86, AIVW 1.08–1.14, AIVL 0.88–0.92, WL 1.74–1.82, MFL 0.80–0.82, CI 66–67, SI 43, SW/SL 0.70, EL/HW 0.39–0.40, EP 1.22–1.25, AIIW/AIIL 0.96–1.01, AIIIW/AIIIL 1.06–1.07 (2 measured). Matching the description and general shape of the worker but the mesosoma with a full complement of flight sclerites.

Type Material

Bolton and Fisher (2012) - Syntype workers, South Africa: Durban, Stella Bush, (H.W.B. Marley)(South African Museum) [examined].


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton B., and B. L. Fisher. 2012. Taxonomy of the cerapachyine ant genera Simopone Forel, Vicinopone gen. n. and Tanipone gen. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3283: 1-101.
  • Borowiec M. L. 2016. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dorylinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 608: 1–280.
  • 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): 1-115.
  • Weber N. A. 1949. New African ants of the genera Cerapachys, Phryacaces, and Simopone. Am. Mus. Novit. 1396: 1-9.