Simopelta pentadentata

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Simopelta pentadentata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Simopelta
Species: S. pentadentata
Binomial name
Simopelta pentadentata
Mackay, W.P. & Mackay, E.E., 2008

Mackay and Mackay 2008 Simopelta52.jpg

Specimens have been collected at elevations from 700 - 1150 m; little else is known about the biology of Simopelta pentadentata.


Longino currently (2013) considers this species to be a variant of Simopelta andersoni

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - This species could be easily confused with the widespread Simopelta williamsi, but can be immediately recognized by the five teeth on the mandible. Additionally, the petiolar node is elongated when viewed from above, not essentially square-shaped as it is in S. williamsi. It could also be confused with the southern Colombian Simopelta fernandezi, which has similar sculpture patterns, and an elongated petiolar node. It can be easily separated, as the mesonotum is elongated, and the mandible has more teeth than are present in S. fernandezi (3 teeth).

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (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.

  • pentadentata. Simopelta pentadentata Mackay & Mackay, 2008: 316, figs. 5, 52 (w.) COSTA RICA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 4 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Costa Rica: Guanacaste, Est. Pitilla, 9 km. S Sta Cecilia, 700 m., I Curso Microhym., Ene 1991, L-N-330200, 380200; paratypes with same data.
    • Type-depositories: INBC (holotype); INBC, MCZC, WEMC (paratypes).
    • Distribution: Cota Rica.

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



The worker is a moderate sized (total length 4 mm), black ant, with brown legs. The mandible has five teeth, with the apical and subapical being larger. The head length ranges from 0.86-0.99 mm (excluding the clypeal lobe), the head width ranges from 0.66-0.68 mm. The anterior border of the clypeus is broadly rounded, forming a short, blunt lobe. The eye is moderate in size (maximum diameter 0.1 mm) located about 1½ times the maximum diameter from the anterior margin of the head. The scape is relatively long (0.90 - 0.94 mm) and extends well past the posterior lateral border of the head. The mesonotum is elongated (0.43 mm), approximately as long as the dorsal face of the propodeum (0.45 mm). The anterior face of the petiole is concave, the posterior face is nearly straight, the two faces are approximately parallel, and the dorsal face is well defined. The spiracular horn is moderately well developed; the subpetiolar process is small and rectangular-shaped.

Short (0.03 mm), erect and suberect hairs are present on the dorsum of the head, on the scape, on the mesosoma, legs, petiole, and dorsum of the gaster, longer, mostly erect hairs (up to 0.18 mm) are present on the mandibles, clypeus, and ventral surface of the gaster.

The mandibles are striate and dull; the dorsum of the head is covered with coarse, transverse striae, which pass to the ventral surface of the head on the posterior half of the head. The dorsum of the mesosoma is covered with coarse, transverse striae, the striae on the remainder of the side of the mesosoma are mostly horizontal, or obliquely elevated posteriorly on the mesopleuron and the side of the propodeum. The side, and anterior and posterior faces of the petiole have horizontal striae, the dorsum has transverse striae, and the postpetiole is smooth and glossy.

Type Material

Holotype worker (# 748544, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad), four paratype workers (INBio, William and Emma Mackay Collection, Museum of Comparative Zoology), Est. Pitilla, 700m, 9km S Sta. Cecilia, Prov. Guan., COSTA RICA, I Curso Microhym., Ene 1991, L-N-330200, 380200.


From Greek, pente, meaning five and from Latin, dentatus meaning toothed, referring to the five teeth of the mandible.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Kronauer D. J. C., S. O'Odonnell, J. J. Boomsma, and N. E. Pierce. 2011. Strict monandry in the ponerine army ant genus Simopelta suggests that colony size and complexity drive mating system evolution in social insects. Molecular Ecology 20, 420–428.
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2008. Revision of the ants of the genus Simopelta Mann. Pp. 285-328 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano, F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp.