Solenopsis minutissima

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

Solenopsis minutissima casent0913881 p 1 high.jpg

Solenopsis minutissima casent0913881 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Solenopsis minutissima was collected nesting under a rock in Argentina (Wheeler, 1914).


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

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) – Worker - The worker is very small and concolorous yellow. The head is elongate and coarsely punctate. The scape is short at 0.185 mm. The minor funicular segments 3-8 are short as well at 0.078 mm in total length. The eye is extremely small with 1-2 ommatidia and has a maximum diameter of 0.012 mm. Queen - Not seen. Emery 1906, "The female is easy to recognize for its minute stature, elongate head and short, thick legs and antennae." Male - The male is brown with yellowish appendages. The head is as wide as long and coarsely punctate. The propodeal spiracle is large at 0.250 mm in width. The propodeum, petiole and postpetiole are completely horizontally striated.

This species is a small, pale yellow, slender ant, with few erect hairs on the mesosoma. It is also one of the species with long apical antennal segments (segments 9-10), longer than the combined length of the minor segments of the funiculus (others include Solenopsis leptanilloides and Solenopsis dysderces). Solenopsis minutissima is similar to Solenopsis leptanilloides and Solenopsis dysderces but can be separated as it has a quadrate shaped head compared to the other two species which have noticeably elongate heads. Solenopsis minutissima can be easily confused with Solenopsis subterranea as well, as both species have short hairs about the same length on the pronotum and on dorsum of the gaster. It can be separated as the eyes are poorly developed and nearly absent (present and well-defined in Solenopsis subterranea). Additionally, the head of S. minutissima is thicker when viewed from the dorsal to ventral surface. Based on available material, S. minutissima is found in Argentina and the southernmost distribution of S. subterranea is Venezuela.

Keys including this Species


Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catamarca (Tucuman); Guianas; Trinidad; Mexico, Hildalgo (Kempf 1972 [possibly S. subterranea mididentified). Note, the Mexican records, from Wheeler (1914) are probably misidentifications of Solenopsis pollux or Solenopsis subterranea.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -26.808285° to -37.533333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina (type locality), Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Mexico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

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 minutissima casent0913912 h 1 high.jpgSolenopsis minutissima casent0913912 p 1 high.jpgSolenopsis minutissima casent0913912 d 1 high.jpgSolenopsis minutissima casent0913912 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Solenopsis minutissimaWorker. Specimen code casent0913912. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.


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

  • minutissima. Solenopsis minutissima Emery, 1906c: 133, fig. 15 (w.m.) ARGENTINA (Buenos Aires).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 231), 1 paralectotype worker, 1 paralectotype male.
    • [Note: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 231, report 8 syntype workers, 3 syntype males from the original type-series, in MSNG, which should also be paralectotypes.]
    • Type-locality: lectotype Argentina: Buenos Aires, Nuñez, 17.ii.1899 (F. Silvestri); paralectotypes with same data.
    • Type-depositories: MCZC (lectotype); MCZC, MSNG (paralectotypes).
    • Wheeler, W.M. 1914b: 44 (q.).
    • Status as species: Bruch, 1914: 223; Wheeler, W.M. 1914b: 43; Wheeler, W.M. 1916d: 324; Emery, 1922e: 200; Wheeler, W.M. 1922c: 9; Santschi, 1923c: 253; Borgmeier, 1934: 103; Kusnezov, 1953b: 337; Ettershank, 1966: 142; Kempf, 1972a: 238; Bolton, 1995b: 389; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 229 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of brevipes: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 229.
    • Distribution: Argentina.
  • brevipes. Solenopsis brevipes Emery, 1906c: 135, fig. 16 (w.) ARGENTINA (Entre Ríos).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (numbr not stated, “several”).
    • Type-locality: Argentina: Entre Rios, Chajari (F. Silvestri).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Status as species: Forel, 1908c: 362; Bruch, 1914: 222; Emery, 1922e: 199; Ettershank, 1966: 140; Kempf, 1972a: 234; Bolton, 1995b: 386.
    • Junior synonym of minutissima: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 229.

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=5). TL 1.20-1.32 (1.29); HL 0.330-0.360 (0.347); HW 0.252-0.258 (0.257); EL 0.006-0.018 (0.013); ED 0.006-0.018 (0.012); SL 0.180-0.192 (0.185); FSL 0.072-0.084 (0.078); CI 71.7-78.2 (74.1); SI 51.7-54.5 (53.3); PL 0.072-0.084 (0.074); PW 0.078-0.096 (0.089); PI 75.0-92.3 (84.1); PPL 0.084-0.102 (0.091); PPW 0.096-0.114 (0.102); PPI 84.2-100 (89.5); WL 0.240; PSL 0.018; PSW 0.018.

Small; concolorous yellow; head quadrate, elongate, coarsely and densely punctate; lateral clypeal teeth well developed, extralateral teeth absent; clypeal carinae weakly defined; scape short, barely exceeds half-length of head; minor funicular segments 3-8 short; eyes small, with little pigmentation (eyes usually not defined), 1-2 ommatidia; mesosoma mostly smooth and shiny; posterior propodeal margin rounded; propodeal spiracle round, small; metapleuron horizontally striated; petiole wider than postpetiole viewed laterally; petiolar node rounded, triangular, peduncle without tooth or flange ventrally; postpetiolar node oval viewed dorsally, lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Abundantly hairy, pilosity yellow; erect and suberect hairs covering all body surfaces; hairs appear uniform in total length (majority 0.036-0.048 mm).


Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=4). TL 3.12-3.24 (3.16); HL 0.480; HW 0.480-0.516 (0.495); EL 0.180; ED 0.162; MOL 0.054-0.066 (0.059); MOD 0.048-0.066 (0.056); SL 0.252-0.264 (0.258); FSL 1.32; CI 100-108 (103); SI 52.5-55.0 (53.8); PSL 0.066-0.084 (0.072); PSW 0.060; PL 0.150-0.162 (0.155); PW 0.222-0.240 (0.233); PI 62.5-70.3 (66.5); PPL 0.210-0.222 (0.213); PPW 0.240-0.270 (0.248); PPI 77.8-92.5 (86.3); WL 0.720-0.780 (0.735).

Moderately large; concolorous brown, with yellowish appendages; head as wide as long, coarsely punctate; anterior clypeal margin convex, lacking carinae; scapes and funicular segments long; eyes large, extend 0.108 mm past lateral margin of head; medial ocellus small; pronotum coarsely punctate; posterior propodeal margin rounded; propodeal spiracle large; propodeum horizontally striate; petiole wider than postpetiole viewed laterally; petiolar and postpetiole horizontally striate, both lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Abundantly hairy, pilosity yellow; erect and suberect hairs covering all body surfaces; hairs on head 0.150 mm in total length; hairs on pronotum 0.120-0.150 mm in length; hairs on petiole, postpetiole and gaster curve posteriorly.

Type Material

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Nunez 13.18. Silvestri. M.C.Z. cotype 22755 (lectotype worker [here designated], 1 paralectotype worker and 1 paralectotype male Museum of Comparative Zoology). Argentina, Buenos Aires, Nunez 17.11.99, Museo Genova, Coll. C. Emery (dono 1925) (Syntypus 8 workers, 3 males, (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa). Solenopsis brevipes Emery, Argentina. Entre Rios, Chajari.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Borgmeier T. 1934. Contribuição para o conhecimento da fauna mirmecológica dos cafezais de Paramaribo, Guiana Holandesa (Hym. Formicidae). Archivos do Instituto de Biologia Vegetal (Rio de Janeiro) 1: 93-111.
  • Cuezzo, F. 1998. Formicidae. Chapter 42 in Morrone J.J., and S. Coscaron (dirs) Biodiversidad de artropodos argentinos: una perspectiva biotaxonomica Ediciones Sur, La Plata. Pages 452-462.
  • 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.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Kusnezov N. 1978. Hormigas argentinas: clave para su identificación. Miscelánea. Instituto Miguel Lillo 61:1-147 + 28 pl.
  • Maes, J.-M. and W.P. MacKay. 1993. Catalogo de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Nicaragua. Revista Nicaraguense de Entomologia 23.
  • 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.
  • Santschi F. 1923. Solenopsis et autres fourmis néotropicales. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 30: 245-273.
  • Van Pelt A. F. 1956. The ecology of the ants of the Welaka Reserve, Florida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). American Midland Naturalist 56: 358-387
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. The ants of Trinidad. American Museum Novitates 45: 1-16.
  • Wheeler, William Morton. 1916. Ants Collected in Trinidad by Professor Roland Thaxter, Mr. F. W. Urich, and Others. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparitive Zoology at Harvard University. 40(8):322-330