Solenopsis papuana

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Solenopsis papuana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species: S. papuana
Binomial name
Solenopsis papuana
Emery, 1900

Solenopsis papuana casent0103246 profile 1.jpg

Solenopsis papuana casent0103246 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This species was found in Hawaiʻi in 1967 and is now widespread in mesic to wet forest ecosystems across at least several islands (Huddleston and Fluker, 1968; Gillespie and Reimer, 1993; Reimer, 1994). In these ecosystems S. papuana is generally rare on vegetation distant from the ground (Krushelnycky, 2015), but has occasionally been observed foraging up to a height of at least two meters on tree trunks. More commonly, it attains high densities and is most active in the soil and leaf litter (Ogura-Yamada and Krushelnycky, 2016, unpub. data). Krushelnycky et al (2017) performed a field experiment to determine potential effects of these ants on populations of picture wing flies. Suppression of S. papuana in field plots resulted in a 2.4-fold increase, on average, in the rate of successful development from egg to adult in the Hawaiian picture-winged Drosophila fly D. crucigera. Six species of endangered picture-winged Drosophila species occur or were historically collected in the Waiʻanae Mountains of Oʻahu in the same or similar habitats represented by the field sites, and were therefore considered potentially threatened by S. papuana.

At a Glance • Highly invasive  


Within the Australian fauna, Heterick (2019) provides the following notes: Solenopsis papuana was identified using a combination of Emery's original description (Emery 1900) and AntWeb images. Images of both sets of species and their accompanying labels are available on AntWeb (CASENT0872757 for a Solenopsis papuana queen and CASENT087757 for a Solenopsis papuana worker). The Queensland Solenopsis specimens, collected in Centenary Lakes in Cairns, have paraclypeal teeth in addition to the normal clypeal teeth. This feature is lacking from most workers imaged on AntWeb (including syntypes) but can clearly be seen in an identical worker collected on Oahu, Hawaii and identified by P. Krushelnycky as Solenopsis papuana. Another, similar worker identified by Krushelnycky as S. papuana and also collected on Oahu appears to lack paraclypeal teeth. Apparently, this feature is variable, as is the colour in this species (Wilson & Taylor 1967).

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 14.297° to -21.372969°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia, New Caledonia.
Indo-Australian Region: Fiji, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Guinea (type locality), Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna Islands.
Malagasy Region: Seychelles.

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 papuana casent0103247 head 1.jpgSolenopsis papuana casent0103247 profile 1.jpgSolenopsis papuana casent0103247 dorsal 1.jpgSolenopsis papuana casent0103247 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0103247. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Workers, queens and males have been described.


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

  • papuana. Solenopsis papuana Emery, 1900c: 330 (w.q.) NEW GUINEA (Papua New Guinea).
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens (numbers not stated).
    • Type-localities: Papua New Guinea: Berlinhafen (= Aitepe) (L. Biró), Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen (= Madang) (L. Biró).
    • Type-depositories: HNHM, MSNG.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1922e: 203; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 169; Ettershank, 1966: 142; Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Dlussky, 1994: 54; Bolton, 1995b: 390; Wetterer, 2002: 128; Wetterer & Vargo, 2003: 416; Clouse, 2007b: 250; Sarnat & Economo, 2012: 123; Sarnat, et al. 2013: 72; Ramage, 2014: 163.
    • Senior synonym of cleptis: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Bolton, 1995b: 390.
    • Senior synonym of dahlii: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Bolton, 1995b: 390.
    • Senior synonym of vitiensis: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Bolton, 1995b: 390.
    • Distribution: Fiji Is, French Polynesia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea (+ Bismarck Archipelago), Samoa, Solomon Is, Tonga.
  • cleptis. Solenopsis cleptis Mann, 1919: 330 (w.) SOLOMON IS (San Cristoval I.).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Solomon Is: San Cristoval I., Wai-ai, 1916 (W.M. Mann).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • [Misspelled as cleptes by Wheeler, W.M. 1935g: 26.]
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1935g: 26; Ettershank, 1966: 140.
    • Junior synonym of papuana: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Bolton, 1995b: 386.
  • dahlii. Solenopsis dahlii Forel, 1901b: 14 (w.q.m.) NEW GUINEA (Papua New Guinea: Bismarck Archipelago).
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens, syntype males (numbers not stated).
    • Type-locality: Papua New Guinea: Bismarck Archipelago, Ralum, 22.ix.1896, and 29.xi.1896 (F. Dahl).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Status as species: Dahl, 1901: 19; Emery, 1922e: 203; Wheeler, W.M. 1935g: 26; Ettershank, 1966: 140.
    • Junior synonym of papuana: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Bolton, 1995b: 387.
  • vitiensis. Solenopsis cleptis var. vitiensis Mann, 1921: 444 (w.) FIJI IS (Viti Levu, Tai Levu).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated, “several extensive colonies”).
    • Type-locality: Fiji Is: Viti Levu, Nasoqo (W.M. Mann).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Subspecies of cleptis: Wheeler, W.M. 1935g: 26; Ettershank, 1966: 144.
    • Junior synonym of papuana: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 60; Bolton, 1995b: 391.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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