Simopone wilburi

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Simopone wilburi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Simopone
Species group: schoutedeni
Species: S. wilburi
Binomial name
Simopone wilburi
Weber, 1949

Simopone wilburi casent0004516 p 1 high.jpg

Simopone wilburi casent0004516 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen labels

Specimens have been collected as ground foragers and on low vegetation in rainforest.


A member of the schoutedeni species group. Closely related to Simopone vepres but separated by the characters in the key. In addition, in the little material available, EL/HW tends to be a little lower in vepres. S. wilburi is known to be size-variable in the worker, an observation that may apply throughout the schoutedeni group. A short series of six wilburi workers from near Minvoul, in Gabon (CASC) produced both the largest and smallest examples of the species noted above (e.g. HW 0.94–1.08), the latter the same size as the holotype; all others fell between these extremes, but of course it is not known if these include the actual minimum and maximum sizes possible. Brown (1975) synonymised wilburi under Simopone schoutedeni, and indeed the two do seem very closely related. But direct comparison of the holotypes of the two shows distinct differences in the size of the eyes and in the shape of AII. These features were consistent in all specimens assigned to wilburi here, and consistently different from the holotype of schoutedeni, still the only known specimen of that species. (Bolton and Fisher 2012)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Democratic Republic of Congo (type locality), Gabon.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.


Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.



Explore-icon.png Explore Overview of Simopone biology 
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)



Images from AntWeb

Simopone wilburi casent0004516 h 2 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0004516. Photographer Shannon Hartman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Simopone wilburi casent0004515 p 2 high.jpgSimopone wilburi casent0004515 p 3 high.jpg
Specimen code casent0004515. .


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

  • wilburi. Simopone wilburi Weber, 1949a: 7, figs. 6, 7 (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Democrtaic Republic of Congo (“B. Congo”): Ituri Forest, Beni-Irumu, 17 mi. N Beni, 24.ii.1948, #2119 (N.A. Weber).
    • Type-depository: AMNH.
    • Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 41 (q.).
    • Junior synonym of schoutedeni: Brown, 1975: 36; Bolton, 1995b: 383.
    • Status as species: Bolton & Fisher, 2012: 40 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon.

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 0.94–1.08, HW 0.64–0.75, SL 0.32–0.40, EL 0.34–0.40, PW 0.47–0.55, AIIW 0.48–0.55, AIIL 0.49–0.58, AIIIW 0.57–0.67, AIIIL 0.58–0.72, WL 1.14–1.36, MFL 0.58–0.69, CI 67–71, SI 50–54, EL/HW 0.51– 0.53, EP 0.86–1.00, AIIW/AIIL 0.93–0.98, AIIIW/AIIIL 0.94–1.00 (7 measured).

With head in full-face view the outlines of the outer margins of the eyes conspicuously project beyond the outlines of the sides of the head through at least the median third of their lengths. ES 0.30–0.35 and width of head across broadest part of eyes 0.67–0.76; minimum distance between eyes 0.28–0.36. Frontal carinae extend back to level of anterior margins of eyes and are weakly divergent posteriorly. Cephalic dorsum with scattered broad, shallow punctures. Ground sculpture is present between the eyes, organised into roughly longitudinal fine costulae or striolae between the punctures; ground sculpture fades out behind the level of the eyes. Leading edge of scape with a few setae, inclined toward the scape apex. Sides of head below and behind eyes with projecting short setae, inclined anteriorly. Cephalic dorsum with numerous short, curved setae and with a few pairs of longer setae present; longest setae occur on the frontal carinae and above the eye. Ventral surface of head with short setae. Mesosoma in dorsal view narrowest across the mesonotum (maximum width 0.46–0.54), broadest across the propodeum (maximum width 0.51–0.62). Anterior margin of pronotum weakly, finely carinate. Propodeum with a fine weak carina between dorsum and declivity. Entire dorsum of mesosoma with widely spaced broad, shallow punctures, somewhat less dense on pronotum than elsewhere. Mesopleuron with a few punctures and a distinct transverse sulcus. Propodeal declivity smooth except for a narrow band of disorganised superficial sculpture immediately below the dorsal carina. In profile, dorsal surfaces of mesosoma and all abdominal tergites with numerous posteriorly curved setae. Standing setae are sparsely present on middle and hind tibiae. AII (petiole) in dorsal view with a weak transverse carina both anteriorly and posteriorly, the sides convex and divergent posteriorly, broadest just behind the midlength; the width across the anterior margin is less than across the posterior margin. Dorsum of AII with large, shallow punctures whose diameters are usually equal to or greater than the distances that separate them. On tergite of AIII the punctures are of similar size and distribution. AII and AIII both usually slightly longer than broad, AIV distinctly broader than long (width 0.68–0.78, length 0.56–0.73; AIVW/AIVL 1.07–1.20). Head capsule and body black; scapes and funiculi dull yellow; femora brown; tibiae and tarsi yellow.


Bolton and Fisher (2012) - (dealate gyne; not previously described). Answers the description of the worker. About the same size as the largest worker but with a full complement of flight sclerites. HL 1.08, HW 0.74, SL 0.39, EL 0.37, PW 0.56, AIIW 0.54, AIIL 0.58, AIIIW 0.70, AIIIL 0.75, WL 1.44, MFL 0.70, CI 69, SI 53, EL/HW 0.50, EP 0.90, AIIW/ AIIL 0.93, AIIIW/AIIIL 0.93; mesoscutum maximum width 0.64, maximum length 0.40.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Democratic Republic of Congo (“B. Congo” on data label): Ituri F., Beni-Irumu, 17 mi. north of Beni, 24.ii.1948, #2119 (N.A. Weber) (American Museum of Natural History) [examined]. (Bolton and Fisher 2012)


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Borowiec M. L. 2016. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dorylinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 608: 1–280.