AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Brachymyrmex patagonicus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Myrmelachistini
Genus: Brachymyrmex
Mayr, 1868
Type species
Brachymyrmex patagonicus
41 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Brachymyrmex patagonicus casent0173480 profile 1.jpg

Brachymyrmex patagonicus

Brachymyrmex patagonicus casent0173480 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (41 species)

  (69 species)

  (10 genera)

  (9 genera)

  (8 genera)

Gesomyrmex, Oecophylla

  (9 genera)

Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella

  (8 genera)

Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Ortiz and Fernández (2014) - Brachymyrmex is a genus of minute ants that at first glance exhibit little morphological variation. Currently only the 9-segmented antennae and lack of antennal club have been proposed to diagnose workers of the genus (Bolton 2003). The combination of small size, soft metasoma, and the simple morphology makes observations and interpretation of morphological characters difficult. These difficulties impede taxonomic revisions and even led Creighton (1950) to call Brachymyrmex a “miserable little genus”. Nevertheless, 41 described species and subspecies are currently assigned to Brachymyrmex (Bolton, 2013). The genus has a mainly Neotropical distribution, ranging from the United States to Argentina and Chile, including the Caribbean islands (Kempf 1972, Brandão 1991, Bolton 1995, 2003), but some species have been introduced to Japan (M. Yoshimura, pers. comm.), and Madagascar (Dejean et al. 2010). More recently, Ortiz-Sepulveda et al. (2019) published a revision that: (1) redefined the limits of all of the described species, subspecies, and varieties in light of intra and interspecific morphological variation in workers; (2) documented this variation both qualitatively and quantiatively; (3) summarized these findings on diagnostic traits with a new, dichotomous, illustrated identification key to increase reproducibility and to make the diversity of Brachymyrmex more accessible for future research; and (4) examined the significance of our morphological identification system and the monophyly of the genus in light of molecular evidence. Finally, we also report on the biogeographical distribution of the recognized species and how our taxonomic framework compares with previous studies. In summary, we recognize a total of 40 species, 4 of which are newly described here. We also synonymize 25 previously described species/subspecies and raise two former subspecies to species status. This important revision was also stated to be work toward a comprehensive revision of Brachymymex. Remaining taxonomic work in the genus includes describing a number of putative new species. These remain undescribed due to there not being sufficient material and more collections are needed. There is also a need to determine if there are true intercastes present in a number of named species. This requires ovarian dissections and the collection of demographic data (Peeters 1991 ti insure these intercastes are not ergatoid queens. This problem also would be aided by additional collections of the Brachymyrmex species with intercastes.


Minute ants (maximum length ~ 3 mm) with an acidopore and 9-segmented antennae that lacks an antennal club.

The combination of small body size, soft metasoma, and at least superficially monotonous external morphology complicate the observation and interpretation of morphological variation.

LaPolla and Longino (2006) - The genus Brachymyrmex is most likely to be confused with Myrmelachista. The most obvious distinction between these two genera is the presence of a 3 to 4-segmented antennal club in Myrmelachista. Although Brachymyrrnex usually possess incrassate antennae, they never form a distinct antennal club. Both genera include species with 9-segmented antennae, although Myrmelachista also includes some species with 10-segmented antennae (species in the synonymized subgenus Hincksidris [Snelling and Hunt 1975]). No Brachymyrrnex have been recorded with 10-segmented antennae. Two other morphological characteristics separate the two genera. The clypeus of Myrmelachista is typically subguadrate and compact, whereas Brachymynnex possess a broadly rounded (along the anterior margin) and wide clypeus. The shape of the mandible also differs between the two genera. In Myrmelachista, the masticatory and basal margins form a right angle. Whereas in Brachymynnex the masticatory and basal margins form an obtuse angle.

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


LaPolla and Longino (2006) - In Neotropical forests, the common species of Brachymyrmex nest in a variety of small plant cavities, under epiphytes, or in the leaf litter. They seem quite generalized in choice of nest site, and the nests can be in relatively fragile or ephemeral substrates, suggesting frequent nest movement. Brachymyrmex species seem to feed mainly at carbohydrate sources, being common at extrafloral nectaries and at sugar water baits. Some species are known to tend Coccoidea (Hemiptera) in underground chambers (Wheeler 1910; Santschi 1923). Very little is known about the natural history for the vast majority of Brachymyrmex species.


Most species monomorphic, with two dimorphic species Brachymyrmex pilipes and Brachymyrmex micromegas.


Worker Morphology

  • Antennal segment count: 9
  • Antennal club: absent-gradual, weak
  • Palp formula: 6,4
  • Total dental count: 5
  • Spur formula: 0, 0
  • Eyes: present
  • Scrobes: absent
  • Caste: monomorphic, dimorphic in a few species
  • Sting: absent


Species Uncertain

  • 2n = 18 (Brazil) (Crozier, 1970b).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

Explore Data: All, Drilldown
Click here to show/hide karyotype data.
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Brachymyrmex 18 Brazil Crozier, 1970b
Brachymyrmex admotus 18 16M + 2SM Brazil Teixeira et al., 2020


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

  • BRACHYMYRMEX [Formicinae: Plagiolepidini]
    • Brachymyrmex Mayr, 1868b: 163. Type-species: Brachymyrmex patagonicus, by monotypy.
    • Brachymyrmex senior synonym of Bryscha: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1424.
  • BRACHYPONERA [junior synonym of Pachycondyla]
    • Brachyponera Emery, 1900c: 315 [as subgenus of Euponera]. Type-species: Euponera (Brachyponera) croceicornis, by monotypy.
    • [Brachyponera also described as new by Emery, 1901a: 43. Type-species not Ponera sennaarensis, unjustified subsequent designation by Emery, 1901a: 43, repeated in Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 160, Emery, 1911d: 84, Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 777, Donisthorpe, 1943g: 628, Wilson, 1958d: 346; Bolton, 1973a: 335 and Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 23.]
    • Brachyponera as subgenus of Euponera: Emery, 1911d: 83; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 649.
    • Brachyponera raised to genus: Bingham, 1903: 101; Wilson, 1958d: 346.
    • Brachyponera junior synonym of Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1994: 164.
  • BRYSCHA [junior synonym of Brachymyrmex]
    • Bryscha Santschi, 1923b: 652 [as subgenus of Brachymyrmex]. Type-species: Brachymyrmex pilipes, by original designation.
    • Bryscha junior synonym of Brachymyrmex: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1424.