Hylomyrma versuta

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Hylomyrma versuta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Pogonomyrmecini
Genus: Hylomyrma
Species: H. versuta
Binomial name
Hylomyrma versuta
Kempf, 1973

Hylomyrma versuta casent0246042 p 1 high.jpg

Hylomyrma versuta casent0246042 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species inhabits sites at elevations between 50 and 1520 m. Most specimens were collected in the leaf-litter in wet montane forests, and a few were sampled in dry forest, bamboo, coffee and cardamom plantations. One specimen was collected from the stomach contents of Incilius coniferus (Cope, 1862) in Nicaragua. Wilson observed a H. versuta nest (firstly identified as H. columbica and later as H. versuta by Kempf) in captivity; workers captured flies, springtails, and other selected small invertebrates offered in the feeding chamber, where they fed directly the larvae (Wheeler & Wheeler 1960). (Ulyssea & Brandao, 2021)


Pierce et al. (2017) - At present, there are no known morphological differences between Hylomyrma versuta and Hylomyrma dentiloba. We differentiate the two species geographically, with H. versuta occurring from the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica northward to Mexico, and H. dentiloba occurring from the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica eastward through Panama. See further discussion under H. dentiloba.

Ulyssea & Brandao (2021) - Irregular and longitudinal striae on head dorsum slightly diverge towards posterior margin, interspaces between thicker striae mostly smooth or filled with thinner striae; irregular striae on mesosoma mostly longitudinal, interspaces between thick and thin striae distinguishable by smooth areas; dorsal margin of petiole discontinuous; petiole ventral surface almost entirely covered with transverse striae, anterior region smooth; node dorsal surface mostly covered with irregular striae; subpostpetiolar process smooth at middle and laterally striate; profemur and protibia mostly smooth; striae length on tergum slightly shorter than postpetiole length; branched setae of two types: 1) thin setae with multiple small branches of subequal size arising from the main axis; 2) thick setae flattened at its final half, with several branches of subequal size.

The study of the type specimens, in addition to specimens from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, have allowed us to understand that this species has both unbranched and branched setae. The observation of the branched setae is difficult, because in some specimens the lateral branches are small, and also because sometimes both short and long branches collapse to the seta main axis, giving the wrong impression that the setae is unbranched and thick.

Hylomyrma versuta is very similar to Hylomyrma plumosa. There are not great differences in body sculpture. In H. versuta, the propodeum is laterally covered by thinner striae (microsculpture) with indistinguishable interspaces between irregular and thicker striae (macrosculpture), whereas H. plumosa has thinner striae (microsculpture) with indistinguishable interspaces superimposed on irregular and thicker striae (macrosculpture). The conspicuous and trifid setae of H. plumosa are easily observed, but H. versuta has unbranched and branched setae. Hylomyrma versuta and H. plumosa are restricted to Central America, co-occurring near La Virgen and in La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica. Hylomyrma plumosa is only known from these two localities (Fig. 85), but H. versuta has a broader distribution, from southern Mexico to western Colombia (Fig. 88). Molecular analysis using UCE and COI also confirms the proximity of these two species, with H. plumosa sister to the H. cf. dentiloba sp.2–H. versuta clade (Pierce et al. 2017). We emphasize that H. cf. dentiloba sp.2 is understood here as the true H. dentiloba, but the voucher specimens of sp.2 still need to be examined.

Pierce et al. (2017) stated that there are no known morphological differences between H. versuta and H. dentiloba, with both species being differentiated only in their geographical distribution. However, we found that H. versuta can be distinguished from H. dentiloba (the H. cf. dentiloba sp.2) in the striation with distinguishable interspaces on the head dorsum (vs. striation with indistinguishable interspaces), the mesosoma and petiolar node covered by thinner striae with indistinguishable interspaces between on irregular and thicker striae (vs. thinner striae with indistinguishable interspaces superimposed irregular and thicker striae), the profemur predominantly smooth (vs. with regular and transverse striae weakly marked), the protibia predominantly smooth (vs. mainly covered with regular and weakly marked striae), and the longer striae on tergum of the first gastral segment (vs. shorter striae). Also, Hylomyrma versuta can be distinguished from Hylomyrma jeronimae (the H. cf. dentiloba sp.1) in the longitudinal striation on the mesosomal dorsum (vs. striae assuming multiple directions), the striae interspaces on the mesosoma distinguishable (vs. indistinguishable), and the discontinuous dorsal margin of petiole (vs. continuous).

Hylomyrma versuta also resembles Hylomyrma reitteri (characteristic in parentheses), from which it can be distinguished in the irregular striae on the dorsum of head and mesosoma (vs. regular striae), the transverse striae on the ventral surface of petiolar node (vs. smooth surface), and the long striae on tergum of the first gastral segment (vs. short striae, restrict to its basal region). The two species are allopatric; Hylomyrma versuta occurs in Central America and Colombia, and H. reitteri in eastern Brazil and Paraguay.

There is morphological variation across the range of H. versuta. Striae on the petiolar dorsum vary from being irregular and longitudinal or vermicular or transversal. The first two conditions are present in the type specimens of H. versuta, and all three can be observed in the material from Chiquiri, Panama, and Costa Rica. Additionally, the striae on the mesosomal dorsum of the specimens from Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, vary from being more regular to irregular, and mostly longitudinal to forming semi-ellipses. The specimens from Chocó, Colombia, have an anteriorly divergent and posteriorly convergent striation on the most lateral regions of the mesial area of the head dorsum, and a drop-shaped eyes. Notwithstanding these two extremes of variation, and even being the first record to South America, we refer to the specimens from Colombia as H. versuta until we have the opportunity to re-evaluate this material deposited at MCZC.

Intercastes are also present in this species, having the combination of the following characters: one inconspicuous central ocellus, and the metanotal groove discernible by a depression. In some specimens, darker areas on the head dorsum coincident with the ocelli location in winged queens are also observed.

Keys including this Species


Costa Rica to Mexico.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 18.64° to 0.591°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Belize (type locality), Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.

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.




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

  • versuta. Hylomyrma versuta Kempf, 1973b: 253, fig. 6 (w.q.) BELIZE.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 25 paratype workers, 6 paratype queens.
    • Type-locality: holotype Belize (“British Honduras”): Belmopan, 7.viii.1972, berlesate no. 244 (S. & J. Peck); paratypes: 11 workers, 4 queens with same data, 2 workers, 1 queen Belize: Humming Bird Pass, 27 mi. NW Stann Creek, 19.viii.1972, berlesate no. 246 (S. & J. Peck), 9 workers, 1 queen Belize: Caves Branch, viii.1972 (S. & J. Peck), 3 workers Mexico: Pueblo Nuevo, nr Tetzonapa, 14.viii.1953, no. 221, rainforest (E.O. Wilson).
    • Type-depositories: MCZC (holotype); MCZC, MZSP (paratypes).
    • Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 117 (m.).
    • Status as species: Kutter, 1977a: 88; Brandão, 1991: 346; Bolton, 1995b: 213; Pierce, M.P., Branstetter, et al. 2017: 141; Ulysséa & Brandão, 2021: 115 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.

Type Material

  • Holotype worker: Belize, Belmopan, 7 Aug 1972, in second growth forest (S. & J. Peck, berlesate no. 244) Museum of Comparative Zoology, MCZ-ENT00035424 (Pierce et al., 2017; Ulyssea & Brandao, 2021).
  • Paratypes: same data as holotype (1Q) (MCZENT00594551 MCZ35424) [MCZC] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]; (5W 2Q) (MZSP67454, MZSP67455, MZSP67456) [MZSP] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]; Caves Branch, viii.1972, S. & J. Peck (5W) (MZSP67457, MZSP67458) [MZSP] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]; same data (10W 3Q) (MCZ35424) [MCZC] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]; [Stann Creek]: Humming Bird Pass, 27mi NW Stann Creek, 19.viii.1972, S. & J. Peck, #246, forest litter, berlesate (1W) (MZSP67459) [MZSP] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]; same data (1W 1Q) (MCZ35424) [MCZC] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]. MEXICO: VeraCr.[Veracruz]: Pueblo Nuevo, nr. Tetzonapa, Aug.14-53, E.O. Wilson col., #221, rain forest (1W) (MZSP67460) [MZSP] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)]; same data (2W) (MCZ35424) [MCZC] [examined by Ulyssea & Brandao (2021)].

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



Pierce et al. (2017) - (holotype worker): EL 0.194, EW 0.132, GSL 0.185, HFL 0.749, HL 0.86, HW 0.812, ML 1.146, OMD 0.092, PpL 0.265, PpW 0.315, PronW 0.59, SL 0.567, SPL 0.245, CI 94, GSI 16, OI 24, PpWI 119, SI 70, SPI 30. Measurements (range, n = 13): EL 0.17 - 0.241, EW 0.108 - 0.147, GSL 0.127 - 0.236, HFL 0.62 - 0.854, HL 0.734 - 0.99, HW 0.679 - 0.879, ML 0.884 - 1.234, OMD 0.071 - 0.124, PpL 0.231 - 0.3, PpW 0.244 - 0.349, PronW 0.453 - 0.646, SL 0.532 - 0.676, SPL 0.191 - 0.309, CI 87 - 98, GSI 12 - 22, OI 25 - 28, PpWI 105 - 130, SI 71 - 82, SPI 28 - 36. Measurements (paratype queen): EL 0.246, EW 0.144, GSL 0.271, HFL 0.789, HL 0.886, HW 0.823, ML 1.301, OMD 0.118, PpL 0.284, PpW 0.371, PronW 0.765, SL 0.592, SPL 0.304, CI 93, GSI 21, OI 30, PpWI 131, SI 72, SPI 37.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Ahuatzin D. A., E. J. Corro, A. Aguirre Jaimes, J. E. Valenzuela Gonzalez, R. Machado Feitosa, M. Cezar Ribeiro, J. Carlos Lopez Acosta, R. Coates, W. Dattilo. 2019. Forest cover drives leaf litter ant diversity in primary rainforest remnants within human-modified tropical landscapes. Biodiversity and Conservation 28(5): 1091-1107.
  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
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  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at https://sites.google.com/site/admacsite/
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  • Philpott, S.M., P. Bichier, R. Rice, and R. Greenberg. 2007. Field testing ecological and economic benefits of coffee certification programs. Conservation Biology 21: 975-985.
  • Pierce M. P., M. G. Branstetter, and J. T. Longino. 2017 . Integrative taxonomy reveals multiple cryptic species within Central American Hylomyrma FOREL, 1912 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 25: 131-143.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133