Pogonomyrmex stefani

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Pogonomyrmex stefani
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Pogonomyrmecini
Genus: Pogonomyrmex
Species group: sylvestris
Species: P. stefani
Binomial name
Pogonomyrmex stefani
Lattke, 2006

Pogonomyrmex stefani casent0914135 p 1 high.jpg

Pogonomyrmex stefani casent0914135 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

An inhabitant of mesic lowland forests. Nest entrances are exposed, and found in moist, very fine soil beneath the closed shade of a gallery forest with sparse understory plants. Workers are relatively abundant and conspicuous on the ground, but some were also taken whilst foraging on low herbaceous vegetation. Sporadic sampling of leaf litter with sifters and Winkler extractors in (non gallery forest) forested areas of the same region of the type locality failed to retrieve any additional specimens of P. stefani, leading to the suspicion that this ant may be endemic to gallery forests of the Orinoco Watershed. (Lattke 2006)


Lattke (2006) - Scape longitudinally striate with suberect hairs; compound eye with 5 - 9 hairs between ommatidia; dorsal propodeal tooth slender and acutely pointed, more than twice as long as the broadly triangular ventral propodeal tooth; length of peduncle similar to length of node; petiolar node rugulose to striate; procoxa with fine parallel, transverse striae in lateral view.

Johnson (2015) - Worker Within the P. sylvestris-group, the combination of: (1) six mandibular teeth, (2) eyes with hairs between ommatidia, (3) in profile, anterior margin of postpetiole not meeting helcium at a smooth, continuous angle, (4) in profile, procoxae transversely striate, (5) femur and tibiae smooth to weakly coriarious, weakly to moderately shining, and (6) medial clypeal region between antennal insertions with 9–12 fine, closely-spaced, longitudinal rugae, interrugae dull to weakly shining uniquely characterize this species.

Male This caste is diagnosed by: (1) first gastral tergum lacking striae, (2) small (HW < 1.10 mm; ML < 2.00 mm), (3) in dorsal view, posterior surface of petiolar node strongly coriarious, (4) in profile, petiolar node angulate, (5) pronotal sides granulate with a beaded appearance, (6) in profile, inferior propodeal spines broad, well-developed, acuminate or nearly so, and (7) notauli present. Note that males are unknown for Pogonomyrmex striatinodus and Pogonomyrmex sylvestris.

Pogonomyrmex stefani is the only P. sylvestris-group species known to occur in mesic lowland forests. The prominent transverse striae on the procoxae separate P. stefani from both P. striatinodis (procoxae sometimes very weakly striate, mostly smooth and shining) and P. sylvestris (procoxae imbricate, dull).

Pogonomyrmex naegelii is the only congener that might occur sympatrically with P. stefani, but the former species would occur in open, drier habitats than those occupied P. stefani. Pogonomyrmex stefani is distinguished from P. naegelii by: (1) hairs project from between the ommatidia, (2) an elongate, triangular postpetiole, and (3) in profile, the petiolar node is flattened to weakly convex with a crest or tooth on the anterior margin that is elevated above the posterior surface. Pogonomyrmex naegelii: (1) lacks hairs between the ommatidia, (2) the postpetiole is nearly globular with width and length similar, and (3) in profile, the petiolar node is convex and lacks a crest or tooth on the anterior margin.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 6.417° to 5.917°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Venezuela (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Lattke (2006) - This species adds another dimension to the habitats settled by Pogonomyrmex in northern South America: lowland mesic forests, differing from the other forest dwelling species, Pogonomyrmex striatinodus and Pogonomyrmex sylvestris, which prefer the cloud forests of higher elevations (Lattke 1990, Fernandez and Palacio 1998). Since its description, P. sylvestris has been collected several more times in cloud forests of the eastern Venezuelan Andes close to Boconó, including a nest in a rotten log on the ground. The other species of Pogonomyrmex found in this region, Pogonomyrmex naegelii, and Pogonomyrmex mayri dwell in arid habitats. In southern Venezuela, P. naegelii is a soil nester found in open savannas. Pogonomyrmex mayri is mostly found in thorn forest, and very dry forest below 850 m about the northern slopes of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northeastern Colombia (Kugler and Hincapie 1983, Dix et al. 2005, Guerrero 2005). Nevertheless, P. mayri workers have been taken in scant quantities in humid forest with dense canopy and rich leaf litter at 835 m in the Sierra Nevada (Gerrero 2005), indicating the upper extreme of their altitudinal distribution. With the discovery of these species, the distribution of Pogonomyrmex theresiae in western Ecuador can no longer be considered so isolated and enigmatic. Its type locality, Estero Salado, is now a port area popular with tourists, and surrounded by the urban sprawl of Guayaquil. It was formerly a mangrove forest, surrounded on dry land by arid coastal forests, the likely habitat for Pogonomyrmex. Its rediscovery remains a challenge for Ecuadorian myrmecologists.

Johnson (2015) - Very little is known about the biology of P. sylvestris-group species. All three species are discussed together because they likely share a similar biology. Stray foragers comprise most collections for these three species. Few nests have been located: nests of P. stefani consisted of a small exposed entrance (Lattke, 2006), one nest of P. sylvestris was in a rotten log (Lattke, 2006), and nests of P. striatinodus are unknown. Diet and the sexual castes are unknown (except for the male of P. stefani) for all three species.

The P. sylvestris-group and P. sylvestris-group are sister groups that together form a clade that is sister to all other Pogonomyrmex (C.S. Moreau & the author, unpub. data). Consequently, obtaining information on the biology of P. sylvestris-group species (including diet, colony size and structure, phenotype of males and especially queens) would facilitate understanding the early evolution of the genus; queens would be especially interesting to collect given that Pogonomyrmex mayri has ergatoid queens. It is predicted that biology of these species is similar to that of P. mayri, which suggests that colonies are small (no more than several hundred workers) and that their diet consists of mostly dead arthropods and plant parts, but relatively few seeds (Kugler, 1979, 1984; Kugler & Hincapie, 1983).

All three species are known to occur only in northern South America (Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador), and they comprise the small group of South American congeners that inhabit mesophilic forests. Pogonomyrmex sylvestris and P. striatinodus are mid-elevation species—P. sylvestris has been collected only in premontane cloud forest habitats of Venezuela at elevations from 1000–1300 m, and P. striatinodus is only known from mesic forests at elevations from 1000–1525 m. Pogonomyrmex sylvestris occurs in the La Costa Xeric Shrublands and Venezuelan Andes Montane Forest ecoregions, and P. striatinodus occurs in Northwestern Andean Montane Forest ecoregion as defined by Olson et al. (2001). Alternatively, P. stefani is only known from two locations in the mesic lowland forests at elevations from 165–470 m, and its geographic distribution may be restricted to the Orinoco watershed of Venezuela (Lattke 2006); it occurs in the Llanos and Pantepui ecoregions as defined by Olson et al. (2001). None of these three species are known to occur proximate to one another.




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

  • stefani. Pogonomyrmex stefani Lattke, 2006: 53, figs. 1 – 4 (w.m.) VENEZUELA.

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



Holotype (Paratypes, n=4, notation: minimum - maximum). HL 1.39 (1.34 - 1.39); HW 1.32 (1.24 - 1.32); ML 0.68 (0.63 - 0.78); EL 0.23 (0.23 - 0.27); SL 1.11 (1.06 - 1.11); PW 0.89 (0.86 - 0.91); MsL 1.64 (1.54 - 1.64); PH 0.03 (0.03 - 0.03); PL 0.03 (0.03 - 0.03); DPW 0.03 (0.03 - 0.03) mm. CI 0.95 (0.92 - 0.95); MI 0.52 (0.48 - 0.62); OI 0.17 (0.18 - 0.2); SI 0.85 (0.84 - 0.88).

Johnson (2015) - (n = 1 paratype). HL 1.29; HW 1.29; MOD 0.23; OMD 0.25; SL 1.02; PNW 0.89; HFL 1.38; ML 1.39; PW 0.29; PPW 0.42. Indices: SI 79.07; CI 100.00; OI 17.83; HFI 106.98. See also Lattke (2006).

Head quadrate (CI = 100.00), widest just posterior to eye; posterior margin weakly concave. Longitudinal rugae on cephalic dorsum coarse, wavy to irregular medially, becoming more irregular to rugoreticulate laterally. Cephalic interrugae moderately granulate-punctate, weakly shining. Anterior margin of clypeus weakly convex with very small medial tooth; dorsum between antennal insertions with 9-12 fine, closely-spaced, longitudinal rugae, interrugae dull to weakly shining. Mandible with six teeth; mandibular dorsum coarsely rugose. Up to several moderately long, curved, bristle-like, yellowish hairs project from anterior margin of clypeus. Eyes small, MOD = 0.18x HL. In profile, eyes situated anterior to middle of head, OMD = 1.09x MOD; several hairs project from between ommatidia. Antennal scapes long (SI = 79.07), surpassing vertex by less than width of basal funicular segment; entire scape with moderately coarse, longitudinal striae, dull to weakly shining. Basal flange of scape well-developed with carinate margin. Psammophore poorly-developed, consisting of numerous medium to long hairs scattered across ventral side of head.

Mesosomal profile strongly convex; all mesosomal surfaces with prominent rugae. Promesonotum with irregular longitudinal rugae medially, dorsum of propodeum with irregular transverse rugae, all other mesosomal surfaces rugoreticulate to vermiculate. Superior propodeal spines long, acuminate, bases connected by poorly-defined keel, spine length greater than distance between their bases. Inferior propodeal spines well-developed with broad triangular base, length less than 0.5x that of superior spines. Propodeal spiracles circular facing posterad. Interrugae on mesosoma weakly shining. In profile, procoxae with fine, subparallel, transverse striae. Legs smooth and shining to weakly coriarious, weakly shining.

Peduncle of petiole about 0.7x length of petiolar node; anteroventral margin with acuminate spine. In profile, posterior surface of petiolar node weakly convex; in profile, petiolar node asymmetrical with anterior surface slightly less than one-half the length of posterior surface, apex forming a bluntly tipped crest or tooth elevated above posterior surface; sides with wavy to irregular longitudinal rugae, posterior surface weakly rugoreticulate. In dorsal view, petiolar node elongate (length >1.90x width), sides subparallel, anterior portion narrowing to subangulate tip; interrugae with weaker secondary rugae, weakly shining. Dorsum of postpetiole convex in profile, anterior margin truncate, not meeting helcium at a smooth, continuous angle; robust in dorsal view, trapezoidal, widest near posterior margin, narrowing to rounded anterior margin; lateral margins wider ventrally at posterior margin; dorsum smooth and strongly shining to very weakly coriarious, shining. First gastral tergum smooth and strongly shining to weakly coriarious, shining.

Long, flexuous, yellowish to golden hairs abundant on head; medium to long hairs abundant on mesosoma, petiolar node, postpetiole, and gastral terga; longest hairs on head and mesosoma >MOD. Scape with abundant medium to long, suberect hairs; abundant decumbent hairs on funicular segments. Legs with moderately abundant, long, suberect to semidecumbent setae. Head, antennae, mesosoma, petiolar node, and postpetiole dark brown; mandibles, legs, and gaster brown.


n = 1. HL 1.06; HW 1.04; ML 0.25; EL 0.44; SL 0.25; PW 1.14; MsL 1.87. CI 0.98; MI 0.24; OI 0.43; SI 0.24.

Head with posterolateral margins forming broad convexity in frontal view; head width greater posterad of eyes; ocular-malar margin convex, approximately as long as lateral ocellus; closed mandibles forming continuous convexity in frontal view; eye convex, occupying more than one-third lateral cephalic margin. Ocelli well developed, lateral ocellus separated from other by more than greatest diameter. Head mostly areolate, with fine rugulae or areolae within each larger areola; frons with longitudinal to slightly oblique striae, small smooth area present next to anterior margin of median ocellus. Clypeus with fine areolae, smooth area present between anterior margin of scape insertion and posterior clypeus. Anterior clypeal margin with weak median concavity. Scape with elongate rugulae. Mandibles narrow, striate with approximately 5 teeth, some partially fused at base. Pronotum transversely striate anterad, striae thinning away and becoming oblique laterad, posterolaterally mostly finely areolate with few striae. Scutum prominent, medially with weak fine areolae that become mostly smooth laterad, posterolaterally well-impressed, with striae; lateral scutum smooth anterad with piligerous punctae, becoming rugose posterad with weak background areola; notauli scrobiculate. Scutellum dome-shaped, rugulose; propodeum rugulose, with bluntly angular to rounded lateral lobes; anepisternum anteriorly smooth, posteriorly finely areolate; katepisternum and metapleuron rugulose. Petiole in lateral view with triangular node; peduncle mostly smooth, node and postpetiole finely areolate; gaster smooth and shining, black. Head and scutum with abundant flexuous golden hairs, pilosity not as dense on rest of body.

Johnson (2015) - (n = 1). HL 1.04; HW 1.01; MOD 0.43; OMD 0.14; SL 0.24; HFL 1.27; ML 1.88; PW 0.31; PPW 0.51. Indices: SI 23.76; CI 97.12; OI 42.57; HFI 125.74.

Type Material

Holotype (worker). Venezuela, Bolívar: Fundo San Rafael, Río Villacoa, 165 m (6° 25' N, 67° 01' W), 6.XII.2004, leg. J.E. Lattke, #2964. Deposited in Instituto de Zoologia Agricola. Paratypes: 11 workers, all from the same locality and date as the holotype and leg. J.E. Lattke: #2964 (2 W MIZA, 1 w Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, 1 w California Academy of Sciences, 1 w Museum of Comparative Zoology, 1 w The Natural History Museum). #2965 (2 w MIZA, 1 w Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1 w William and Emma Mackay Collection). #2966 (1 w Museo de Historia Natural)


The species name honours the late Stefan Schödl, who occupied the post of Curator of Hymenoptera in the Naturhistorisches Museum of Vienna until his death in April, 2005. I will remain forever indebted to Dr. Schödl for his invaluable assistance in making type specimens ac- cessible during the course of revisionary studies.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Lattke, J.E. 2006. A new species of Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from gallery forests of the Orinoco Watershed, Venezuela. Myrmecologische Nachrichten 8:53-57.