Simopelta minima

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Simopelta minima
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Simopelta
Species: S. minima
Binomial name
Simopelta minima
(Brandão, 1989)

Simopelta minima ufv-labecol-000001 p 1 high.jpg

Simopelta minima ufv-labecol-000001 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Known only from the type material: workers collected from Berlese extractions of 0-15 centimeter deep soil samples, near trees, in an old shaded cocoa plantation.


Mackay and Mackay (2008) - The workers of this species should be easily recognized by their small size, much smaller than any of the other known species. It can be separated from similar species, such as Simopelta pergandei, by the shiny surfaces of the mandible. It can be distinguished from the similar S. bicolor by the presence of three mandibular teeth, Simopelta bicolor has at least six teeth.

Keys including this Species


Bahia, Brasil.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Known only from the worker caste.



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

  • minima. Belonopelta minima Brandão, 1989: 136, figs. 1-4 (w.) BRAZIL (Bahia).
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 3 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Brazil: Bahia, km. 22 on Ilhéus-Itabuna Road (BR 415) (J. Delabie); paratypes: 1 worker with same data, 2 workers with same data but 3.xii.1987.
    • Type-depositories: MZSP (holotype); MCZC, MZSP (paratypes).
    • Combination in Simopelta: Bolton, 1995b: 383.
    • Status as species: Brandão, 1991: 330; Bolton, 1995b: 383; Mackay & Mackay, 2008: 312 (redescription); Feitosa, 2015c: 99; Fernández & Guerrero, 2019: 546.
    • Distribution: Brazil.

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


Mackay and Mackay (2008) - Based on Brandão, 1989: the worker is a small (total length less than 2.5 mm) bright ferrugineous red ant with yellow antennae and legs. The mandible has three well-developed, sharp teeth, and the anterior medial margin of the clypeus has a well-defined, sharp spine, followed posteriorly by a well-developed carina. The eyes are tiny, and the scape fails to reach the posterior lateral corner of the head by almost twice its apical width. The sides of the head are nearly parallel, and meet the nearly straight posterior border through broadly rounded occipital corners. The dorsum of the mesosoma is nearly straight, and only slightly depressed at the promesonotal and metanotal sutures. The petiole is moderately narrowed (profile), and a subpetiolar process is large, and angulate anteriorly.

Long, erect hairs are present on the central portion of the clypeus, mandibles, ventral surface of gaster, and near the tarsal claws. The entire ant, including the appendages, is covered by a fine, dense, and short subdecumbent pubescence (suberect on the propodeum and dorsum of the petiole), which is sparse only on the mandibles, clypeus, posterior face of the propodeum, sides of the mesosoma, and sloping faces of the petiole.

The dorsal surfaces of the mandibles are smooth and shiny, the head is densely and finely punctulate, the punctures are nearly contiguous, subopaque. The dorsum of the mesosoma is also finely punctulated, although the sculpture is shallower, leaving smooth areas near the promesonotal suture. The katepisternum (lower half of the mesopleuron) and sides of the propodeum are covered with fine, almost parallel, longitudinally oriented striations over an even finer punctulated surface. The same sculpture is plainly visible on the posterior face of the propodeum and posterior face of the petiole.

Type Material

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - Worker, BRASIL: Bahia, km. 22, Ilhéus-Itabuna road (BR 415);paratype seen, Museum of Comparative Zoology


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brandão, C.R.F., R.M. Feitosa, F.A. Schmidt, R.R. de Castro Solar. 2009. Redescoberta da espécie supostamente extinta de formigas, Simopelta minima (Brandão) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae), com uma discussão sobre raridade e estado de conservação de espécies de formigas. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 52(3)
  • Schmidt F. A., and R. R. C. Solar. Is it important to collect hypogaeic ants? How to collect them? Biológico, São Paulo 69(2): 267-270.
  • Schmidt, F.A. and R.R.C Solar. 2010. Hypogaeic pitfall traps: methodological advances and remarks to improve the sampling of a hidden ant fauna. Insectes Sociaux 57:261-266.