Solenopsis decipiens

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Solenopsis decipiens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species complex: molesta
Species: S. decipiens
Binomial name
Solenopsis decipiens
Emery, 1906

Solenopsis decipiens casent0904636 p 1 high.jpg

Solenopsis decipiens casent0904636 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Solenopsis decipiens has been collected in a cafetal (coffee plantation) at 1405 m as well as from leaf litter gathered in Colombia.


A New World thief ant that is a member of the molesta species complex. (Key to New World Solenopsis Species Complexes)

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) – Worker - This species is concolorous golden yellow with a smooth sculpture. The head is nearly quadrate, with relatively long scapes that extend 3/4 the length of the head to the posterior lateral comer. The anterior clypeal margin is slightly concave and the space between the tips of the lateral teeth is relatively wide at 0.096 mm. The lateral clypeal teeth are present and angular and the extralateral teeth are absent with a swollen area in their place. The eyes have about six ommatidia and are slightly kidney-shaped. The petiole and postpetiole are roughly equal in width when seen in profile. The petiole has a rounded node, the postpetiole is oval when viewed from above.

Solenopsis decipiens is similar to Solenopsis stricta and Solenopsis hayemi which overlap in distributions (southern South America). It can be separated from both species as its petiole is not as enlarged and wide (viewed laterally). Additionally, S. decipiens has weakly developed clypeal carinae, a rare character within the thief ants. Solenopsis decipiens could be confused with Solenopsis parva based on the kidney-shaped eye, but the eye of S. parva is much larger with up to eight ommatidia and the mesopleuron of S. parva is striated while that of S. decipiens is not.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 5.133333333° to -34.55°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina (type locality), Brazil (type locality), Colombia, Paraguay.

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.




Images from AntWeb

Solenopsis scelesta casent0178145 head 1.jpgSolenopsis scelesta casent0178145 profile 1.jpgSolenopsis scelesta casent0178145 dorsal 1.jpgSolenopsis scelesta casent0178145 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0178145. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ALWC, Alex L. Wild Collection.


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

  • decipiens. Solenopsis decipiens Emery, 1906c: 126, fig. 8 (w.q.m.) ARGENTINA (Buenos Aires).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 147), 2 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: lectotype Argentina: La Plata, Las Talas (F. Silvestri); paralectotypes with same data.
    • [Note: other original syntype locality: Rio Santiago, 5.ii.1899.]
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • [Note: other syntypes probably also in MSNG.]
    • Status as species: Bruch, 1914: 223; Emery, 1922e: 199; Ettershank, 1966: 140; Kempf, 1972a: 235; Bolton, 1995b: 387; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 146 (redescription); Fernández & Serna, 2019: 816.
    • Senior synonym of abjecta: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 146.
    • Senior synonym of scelesta: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 146.
    • Material of the unavailable name ignobilis referred here by Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 146.
    • Distribution: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia.
  • abjecta. Solenopsis decipiens subsp. abjecta Emery, 1906c: 128, fig. 10 (w.) ARGENTINA (Buenos Aires).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Argentina: Buenos Aires, Nuñez, Palermo (F. Silvestri).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Forel, 1912g: 8 (q.).
    • Subspecies of decipiens: Santschi, 1912e: 526; Forel, 1912g: 8; Forel, 1913l: 220; Bruch, 1914: 223; Emery, 1922e: 199; Borgmeier, 1927c: 104; Santschi, 1929d: 298; Ettershank, 1966: 139; Kempf, 1972a: 235; Bolton, 1995b: 386.
    • Junior synonym of decipiens: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 146.
  • scelesta. Solenopsis decipiens var. scelesta Forel, 1908c: 364 (w.) BRAZIL (São Paulo).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: São Paulo (von Ihering).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Subspecies of decipiens: Forel, 1911e: 268; Luederwaldt, 1918: 42; Emery, 1922e: 199; Borgmeier, 1927c: 103; Ettershank, 1966: 143; Kempf, 1972a: 235; Bolton, 1995b: 391.
    • Status as species: Wild, 2007b: 37, 53.
    • Junior synonym of decipiens: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 146.

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



Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=11). TL 1.44-1.68 (1.59); HL 0.438-0.504 (0.470); HW 0.330-0.408 (0.364); EL 0.042-0.060 (0.051); ED 0.030-0.048 (0.039); SL 0.276-0.333 (0.302); FSL 0.120-0.144 (0.127); CI 75.0-81.9 (77.6); SI 62.5-66.9 (64.2); PL 0.084-0.090 (0.089); PW 0.096-0.120 (0.106); PI 70.0-93.8 (84.6); PPL 0.102-0.120 (0.111); PPW 0.114-0.138 (0.127); PPI 75.8-94.7 (84.6); WL 0.330-0.378 (0.359); PSL 0.042-0.048 (0.044); PSW 0.030-0.036 (0.034).

Small, concolorous golden yellow; head nearly quadrate; scape relatively long, extends ~ 3/4 length of head to posterior lateral comer; clypeal carinae weakly developed; lateral clypeal teeth angular, space between lateral teeth wide, extralateral teeth absent; eyes moderately small with six ommatidia, slightly kidney-shaped; notopropodeal suture well depressed, groove breaks sculpture of mesosoma; pronotum and mesopleuron smooth and shiny; posterior propodeal margin rounded; propodeal spiracle large; metapleuron with horizontal striae; petiole and postpetiole roughly equal in width viewed laterally; petiolar node rounded; postpetiolar node oval viewed dorsally.

Moderately hairy; erect and sub erect hairs of various lengths present on all body surfaces; scape with numerous suberect hairs; sub erect hairs on mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole and gaster, hairs on petiole curve posteriorly.

Type Material

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Argentina, Las Talas, La Plata, M.C.Z.C. 1-3 22614, Silverstri (lectotype worker (farthest to the left) and 2 paralectotype workers [here designated], Museum of Comparative Zoology). Solenopsis decipiens scelesta, Brazil, Sao Paulo, (v. Ihering). Forel coll. (5 workers types Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève). Solenopsis decipiens abjecta ignobilis, Brazil, Santa Catharina, (von Ihering) Forel coll. (3 workers types MHNG).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Emery C. 1906. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. XXVI. Bullettino della Società Entomologica Italiana 37: 107-194.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Forel A. 1908. Ameisen aus Sao Paulo (Brasilien), Paraguay etc. gesammelt von Prof. Herm. v. Ihering, Dr. Lutz, Dr. Fiebrig, etc. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 58: 340-418.
  • Forel A. 1911. Die Ameisen des K. Zoologischen Museums in München. Sitzungsber. Math.-Phys. Kl. K. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. Münch. 11: 249-303.
  • Forel A. 1913. Fourmis d'Argentine, du Brésil, du Guatémala & de Cuba reçues de M. M. Bruch, Prof. v. Ihering, Mlle Baez, M. Peper et M. Rovereto. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles. 49: 203-250.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Luederwaldt H. 1918. Notas myrmecologicas. Rev. Mus. Paul. 10: 29-64.
  • Pacheco J. A., and W. P. Mackay. 2013. The systematics and biology of the New World thief ants of the genus Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 501 pp.
  • Rosa da Silva R. 1999. Formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) do oeste de Santa Catarina: historico das coletas e lista atualizada das especies do Estado de Santa Catarina. Biotemas 12(2): 75-100.
  • Ulyssea M. A., C. R. F. Brandao. 2013. Catalogue of Dacetini and Solenopsidini ant type specimens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Papies Avulsos de Zoologia 53(14): 187-209.
  • Wild, A. L. "A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)." Zootaxa 1622 (2007): 1-55.