Solenopsis globularia

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Solenopsis globularia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species complex: globularia
Species: S. globularia
Binomial name
Solenopsis globularia
(Smith, F., 1858)

Solenopsis globularia casent0104814 profile 1.jpg

Solenopsis globularia casent0104814 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This species is found predominantly in coastal areas, although it has been found at 35 m at a plantation/parkland in Guatemala and at 50 m and 710 m in Mexico. Most often colonies are discovered under rocks and especially in driftwood and rotten logs on beaches. Workers in large nests can be aggressive. Sexuals were found in nests in June. Occasionally, S. globularia can be collected foraging on the ground, loose on vegetation, with bait (surface wiener and tuna, subterranean Vienna sausage). It is occasionally collected in pitfall traps. This species has also been found in the Yucatan of Mexico in rocky arid thorn scrub as well as in a slash and burned area in Chiapas. Additionally, a S. globularia male was collected in cow dung in Florida. Solenopsis globularia has also been collected in various situations in the Caribbean such as at a destroyed church, a suburban bus stop, wooded yard, beach and in a sugarcane field. They occur in a variety of habitats ranging from grassland and weedy area, to forests. (Pacheco and Mackay 2013)


A New World thief ant that is a member of the globularia species complex

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) – Worker - The workers are polymorphic with the largest workers moderately large in total length (~ 2 mm). All the workers can be distinguished by their greatly dilated/enlarged postpetiole. The carinae are well developed on the clypeus. There are five teeth present on the anterior clypeal margin. The eye is large, ranging from 15-25 ommatidia. It has horizontal striae present on the mesopleuron as well as the metapleuron and ranges in color from light to dark brown. Both the petiolar peduncle and postpetiole are lacking a tooth or flange ventrally. Queen - The gyne is moderately large (total length ~ 4 mm) and medium brown in color. The clypeal carinae are well defined. The propodeum is entirely striated. The petiolar peduncle and enlarged postpetiole lack a teeth or flanges ventrally. Male - The male is moderately large (total length ~ 3 mm) and concolorous dark brown with lighter brown appendages. The head is smooth and shiny, lacking sculpturing. The anterior clypeal margin is nearly straight and a single, medial carina is present on the clypeus and it lacks teeth on the anterior margin. The propodeum is striated and the petiole and postpetiole are weakly striated, both lacking a tooth or flange ventrally.

Solenopsis globularia is a widely distributed, highly variable species with different colors and sizes. It is one of few of the smaller Solenopsis that is polymorphic. Several synonymies are proposed based on the following traits, five clypeal teeth, with the medial clypeal tooth occasionally reduced and eye of 15-25 ommatidia with the worker, horizontal striae present on the mesopleuron and metapleuron and the greatly dilated postpetiole, all of which makes this species easily recognizable. Additionally, this species seems to be consistently found on the coastline on beaches under rocks or most often in logs; a consistent nesting site throughout the Caribbean, Gulf coastline of the USA as well as in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Solenopsis globularia is very similar to Solenopsis bucki (southern Brazil) and Solenopsis loretana (southern Brazil and Paraguay), which also have greatly dilated postpetioles. Solenopsis bucki is easily separated by having a mandible with only three teeth that is elongate and nearly straight, while S. globularia has a mandible with four teeth on the masticatory border. Solenopsis loretana is easily differentiated from S. globularia as it has a small eye with only 3-5 ommatidia; S. globularia nearly always has 15-25 ommatidia.


Keys including this Species


Ranging throughout the Caribbean to the gulf coast of the USA to Central and Northern part of South America (Brazil, Ecuador, Guiana) and Galapagos Is.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saint Helena.
Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Barbados, Brazil (type locality), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands (type locality), Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, United States Virgin Islands, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Wheeler (1905), Bahamas - A single colony taken May 14 at Nicholl's Town, Andros Island, in pure sand under a prostrate coconut trunk on the beach.






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

  • globularia. Myrmica globularia Smith, F. 1858b: 131 (w.q.m.) BRAZIL. Combination in Solenopsis: Roger, 1863b: 32; in S. (Euophthalma): Creighton, 1930b: 110. Material of the unavailable name curta referred here by Creighton, 1930b: 110. Current subspecies: nominal plus desecheoensis, littoralis, lucayensis, pacifica, steinheili.
  • borinquenensis. Solenopsis globularia var. borinquenensis Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 131, pl. 11, fig. 7 (w.) PUERTO RICO. Junior synonym of steinheili: Creighton, 1930b: 116; of globularia: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 164.
  • cubaensis. Solenopsis globularia var. cubaensis Wheeler, W.M. 1913b: 493 (w.) CUBA. Junior synonym of steinheili: Creighton, 1930b: 116; of globularia: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 164.
  • littoralis. Solenopsis (Euophthalma) globularia subsp. littoralis Creighton, 1930b: 113, pl. 6, fig. 3 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1960b: 22 (l.). Senior synonym of mobilensis: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 813; of globularia: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 164.
  • mobilensis. Solenopsis globularia subsp. mobilensis Smith, M.R. 1931a: 20 (w.) U.S.A. (attributed to Creighton). Junior synonym of littoralis: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 813; of globularia: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 164.
  • pacifica. Solenopsis globularia subsp. pacifica Wheeler, W.M. 1919c: 273 (w.m.) ECUADOR (Galapagos Is). Wheeler, W.M. 1924a: 108 (q.). Junior synonym of globularia: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 164.
  • steinheili. Solenopsis steinheili Forel, 1881: 11 (w.) ANTILLES. Junior synonym of globularia: Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 130; Emery, 1922e: 199. Revived from synonymy as subspecies of globularia and senior synonym of borinquenensis, cubaensis: Creighton, 1930b: 116. Junior synonym of globularia: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 164.

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



Creighton (1930) - Worker minor : Length 1 .7 mm. Head, exclusive of the mandibles, one-eighth longer than broad, the sides moderately convex, widest just behind the eyes, the occiput very feebly impressed. Clypeus feebly projecting, the two carinae very prominent and terminated by two strong, stout teeth, lateral denticles poorly developed, virtually absent in some specimens; a small median denticle is present on the anterior edge of the clypeus. Mandibles with four larger teeth. The antennal scape in repose fails to reach the occipital border by a distance slightly exceeding the length of the first funicular joint; joints 2-7 all slightly longer than broad; club slender, the terminal joint about two and one-half times as long as the penultimate. Eyes of about twenty-five facets, separated from the insertion of the mandible by a distance slightly less than their greatest diameter.

Promesonotum in profile flattened, forming a straight line with the epinotum, the mesoepinotal impression confined entirely to the suture which is narrow and slot-like. Epinotum in profile angular, the basal face much longer than the declivious. Node of the petiole in profile thick with a very bluntly rounded summit, the anterior face considerably longer than the posterior; the peduncle about two-thirds as long as the base of the node, rather slender and without a ventral tooth. Postpetiole in profile about two-thirds as high as the petiole, its anterior face strongly inclined forward and about equal in length to the unusually long ventral face, the latter bearing a prominent, tooth-like projection near the middle of its anterior edge; dorsum of the postpetiole evenly convex. Seen from above the node of the petiole is a trifle more than half as wide as the postpetiole, the latter is greatly dilated, sub circular with a truncate posterior border. The anterior edge of the first gastric segment is truncate, the truncation being about equal in width to the postpetiole.

Color reddish yellow; the mandibular teeth, the anterior edge of the clypeus and a broad band on the first gastric segment reddish brown, the occiput is also sometimes tinged with brown. The mesopleurae and the entire epinotum are covered with fine striae which give these portions a submatte appearance in contrast to the rest of the insect which is very smooth and shining with small and sparse punctures. Hairs sparse, rather short, stout and erect.

Worker major : Length 2.0 mm. (Plate VI, figs. 1, 2.) Head as broad as long, the sides less convex than in the minor worker. Eyes of about thirty facets. Median clypeal tooth almost as long as the carinal teeth. The area between the eye and the insertion of the mandible bears a few irregular striae. In other regards as in the minor worker.

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=16). TL 1.86-2.16 (2.00); HL 0.528-0.600 (0.563); HW 0.450-0.516 (0.481); EL 0.078-0.102 (0.087); ED 0.054-0.072 (0.064); SL 0.360-0.420 (0.394); FSL 0.162-0.210 (0.185); CI 82.6-88.9 (85.4); SI 66.7-73.7 (69.9); PL 0.090-0.120 (0.111); PW 0.150-0.210 (0.187); PI 53.3-80.0 (59.8); PPL 0.222-0.250 (0.239); PPW 0.240-0.330 (0.281); PPI 72.7-100 (85.9); WL 0.360-0.480 (0.428); PSL 0.030-0.036 (0.032); PSW 0.024-0.036 (0.029).

Polymorphic, major worker moderately large; concolorous light to dark brown; head quadrate, longer than wide, finely punctate; five clypeal teeth present, lateral teeth well developed, extralateral teeth angulate, medial tooth occasionally reduced; clypeal carinae well defined; frontal lobes weakly vertically striated; eyes large, 15-25 ommatidia; scape lighter brown, long, reaching ¾ length of head; minor funicular segments 3-8 long (average length 0.185 mm); pronotum finely punctate, smooth and shiny between punctures; mesopleuron entirely horizontally striated; posterior edge of propodeum angulate; propodeal spiracle small (average 0.030 mm), circular; metapleuron horizontally striated, remainder of propodeum occasionally fully striated; peduncle relatively long at 0.060 mm; anterior and posterior faces of petiole nearly straight, peduncle lacking tooth or flange ventrally; postpetiole greatly dilated, globose, much larger than petiole viewed laterally and dorsally, lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Moderately hairy; pilosity yellow to light brown; erect and suberect hairs of various lengths (0.060-0.120 mm) on dorsum of head and mesosoma; petiole and postpetiole with long erect and suberect hairs (0.120-0.150 mm), several curve posteriorly.


Length 1 3/4 line - Rather darker red than the worker: the thorax oblong-ovate; the wings hyaline and beautifully iridescent; the nodes of the petiole of the same relative proportions as in the workers; abdomen oblong-ovate, rufo-fuscous, with the base and the apical margins of the segments pale rufo-testaceous.

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=2). TL 3.96; HL 0.744; HW 0.660; EL 0.222; ED 0.168; MOL 0.060; MOD 0.066; SL 0.528; FSL 0.300; CI 88.7; SI 70.9; PSL 0.060- 0.072 (0.066); PSW 0.060; PL 0.120; PW 0.330-0.360 (0.345); PI 33.3-36.4 (34.8); PPL 0.300; PPW 0.462; PPI 64.9; WL 0.960-1.08 (1.02).

Moderately large; concolorous medium brown; head quadrate, longer than wide; finely punctate; lateral clypeal teeth well developed, extralateral teeth angulate, medial occasionally absent; clypeal carinae well defined; frontal lobes weakly vertically striated; eyes large, extend 0.540 mm past sides of head; medial ocellus small, without pigment; scape long, extends ¾ length of head, 0.072 mm diameter at maximum thickness; minor funicular segments 3-8 long (0.300 mm in total length); finely punctate, smooth and shiny between punctures; posterior edge of propodeum angulate; entire propodeum striated; propodeal spiracle small, circular; anterior and posterior faces of petiole nearly straight, peduncle lacking tooth or flange ventrally; postpetiole enlarged, dilated, globose, much larger than petiole viewed laterally and dorsally; lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Abundantly hairy; pilosity yellow to light brown; erect and suberect hairs of various lengths (0.090-0.180 mm) on dorsum of head and mesosoma; long suberect hairs (0.180-0.240 mm) on petiole and postpetiole, curve posteriorly.


Creighton (1930) - Length : 3.0 mm. Head, including the eyes, slightly broader than long, the sides moderately convex from the eyes to the occiput, the latter flat. Ocelli large and prominent. Clypeus not projecting when seen from above, angular with a well-defined central portion when seen from the side. Mandibles narrow, bidentate. Eyes large, strongly convex, nearly circular when seen from the side, their anterior edge virtually reaches the insertion of the mandible. Antennal scape short, cylindrical, twice as long as the globose second joint, the following joints all two or more times as long as broad. Thorax wider than the head, approximately twice as long as broad. Node of the petiole in profile angular, depressed, not sharply separated from the peduncle. Postpetiole in profile also depressed, the dorsum feebly convex; slightly lower than the node of the petiole, the lower face with a prominent ventral tooth. Seen from above the node of the petiole and the postpetiole are both strongly transverse.

Color brownish black, the legs, antennae and mandibles dirty yellow. Smooth and shining with numerous, long, erect, yellow hairs. Wings hyaline, iridescent and clothed with numerous, short hairs.

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=2). TL 2.88-3.12 (3.00); HL 0.432-0.480 (0.456); HW 0.450-0.510 (0.480); EL 0.240; ED 0.198; MOL 0.066; MOD 0.078-0.084 (0.081); SL 0.168; FSL 0.900-0.960 (0.930); CI 104-106 (l05); SI 35.0-38.9 (36.9); PSL 0.078; PSW 0.060-0.066 (0.063); PL 0.090-0.096 (0.093); PW 0.192-0.210 (0.201); PI 42.9-50.0 (46.4); PPL 0.180; PPW 0.288; PPI 62.5; WL 0.720-0.840 (0.780).

Moderately large; concolorous dark brown, light brown appendages; head wider than long, smooth and shiny, lacking cephalic striae; anterior clypeal margin nearly straight, with single medial carina; eyes large, extend 0.084 mm past sides of head; medial ocellus moderately large, without pigment; pronotum finely punctate, smooth and shiny between punctures; posterior propodeal margin rounded; propodeal spiracle large, oval; entire propodeum striate; petiole weakly striate, peduncle short, lacking tooth or flange ventrally; postpetiole weakly striate, node globose, not greatly dilated, lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Moderately hairy, pilosity pale yellow to light brown; erect and suberect hairs of various lengths (0.060-0.120 mm) on dorsum of head and mesosoma; hairs on petiole and postpetiole long (0.150-0.180 mm), several curve posteriorly.

Type Material

Hab. Brazil. (Coll. F. Smith.)

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - USA Alabama, Baldwin County, Mobile, Bay Shore, X-24-26, M.C.Z. Cotype 1-9, 20927 (lectotype worker [here designated], 8 paralectotype workers, 1 paralectotype queen Museum of Comparative Zoology). Solenopsis globularia steinheili, Cuba, Cogimar, W. M. Wheeler (type 4 workers MCZC); Cuba, Cienaga de Zapata, W. M. Wheeler (M.C.Z. Cotype 30-32 8893, 3 workers MCZC); Culebra Island, W. M. Wheeler, M.C.Z. (Cotype 23178, 18 workers MCZC).


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