Simopelta pergandei

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Simopelta pergandei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Simopelta
Species: S. pergandei
Binomial name
Simopelta pergandei
(Forel, 1909)

Simopelta pergandei casent0178701 profile 1.jpg

Simopelta pergandei casent0178701 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Nomadic lifestyle, with frequent nest emigrations (Kronauer et al. 2010). Ergatoid queens are highly specialized dichthadiiforms, i.e. they have a greatly enlarged gaster.


Mackay and Mackay (2008) - This species would be unlikely to be confused with any other species, based on the lighter color, and the smaller size. Additionally, the eyes are smaller, which would separate it from Simopelta oculata. The finely punctate head would separate it from Simopelta paeminosa, which has granulose sculpture on the head. It could be separated from Simopelta minima on the basis of distribution (S. minima occurs in Brasil). This species would not be confused with Simopelta curvata and Simopelta mayri, which have four well-developed mandibular teeth.

Specimens from the state of Magdalena, Colombia differ by the nearly flat dorsal surface of the mesosoma, and the lack of a depression at the metanotal suture.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala (type locality), Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


High elevation tropical forest, between 920 - 2500 m.


Kronauer et al. (2010): Queens mate with only one male, in sharp contrast to polyandrous army ants in subfamily Dorylinae.

Simopelta pergandei ergatoid queen walks in an emigration column while workers carry the brood. Photograph by Daniel Kronauer
Photograph by Daniel Kronauer





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

  • pergandei. Belonopelta pergandei Forel, 1909a: 242 (w.) GUATEMALA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker (“broken into 3 parts”).
    • [Note: Wheeler, W.M. 1935d: 13, records a “well preseved cotype” in MCZC. This specimen apparently had its origin in the Pergande collection, but is not mentioned in the original description.]
    • Type-locality: Guatemala: (no further data) (Pergande).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Borgmeier, 1950a: 374 (dichthadiigyne q.l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1957b: 192 (l.).
    • Combination in B. (Simopelta): Mann, 1922: 10;
    • combination in Belonopelta: Baroni Urbani, 1975b: 300 (in key);
    • combination in Simopelta: Wheeler, W.M. 1935d: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 383.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 88; Wheeler, W.M. 1935d: 11 (redescription); Borgmeier, 1950a: 372; Gotwald & Brown, 1967: 265; Kempf, 1972a: 230; Baroni Urbani, 1975b: 300 (in key); Brandão, 1991: 331; Bolton, 1995b: 383; Mackay & Mackay, 2008: 318 (redescription); Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 263; Guénard & Economo, 2015: 228; Fernández & Guerrero, 2019: 546.
    • Distribution: Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela.

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. Figure 22

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - The worker of this species is a small (total length about 3 mm), yellowish red ant, with the gaster and appendages slightly lighter in color. The mandible has three sharp teeth, which are approximately equal in size. The anterior medial border of the clypeus generally has a long (0.08 mm), slender spine (Figure 22), which is often somewhat widened apically, although the process may be reduced to a small (0.03 mm) angle. A short, clypeal carina is present. The eye is very small (maximum diameter 0.02-0.03 mm), located about four diameters from the anterior margin of the head, but noticeably larger than the punctures on the head. The head is nearly as wide (0.6 mm) as it is long (0.7 mm, excluding the spine). The posterior border of the head is nearly straight, the sides of the head nearly parallel, although they are slightly convex. The mesosoma is unusual for the genus, in that the dorsum is nearly straight, with only slight indentations at the promesonotal and metanotal sutures. The petiole is slender in profile, with a slightly concave anterior face, the two faces are nearly parallel, usually narrowest about 1/2 of the distance to the apex. The subpetiolar process is large and triangular or rectangular shaped, with a concave posterior face, which is angulate posteriorly.

Erect hairs are sparse, with a few on the mandibles, clypeus, few or none on the scapes, they are present on the posterior border of head, ventral surface of the head, dorsum of the mesosoma, dorsum of the petiole, and all surfaces of the gaster, appressed hairs are present on the scapes, head, mesosoma, gaster, the hairs on the tibiae are nearly appressed.

The mandibles are finely striolate, the head is densely and evenly punctate, as is the dorsum of the mesosoma, the sides of the mesosoma are granulate, with poorly defined striolae, and petiole is finely punctate, the dorsum of the gaster is mostly shining, with a few scattered punctures. The dorsum of the postpetiole is smooth and glossy.


Mackay and Mackay (2008) - The female is a small, yellowish ant, with a large, swollen scutum, the scutellum is poorly developed, or possibly fused with the scutum. The mandibles are without teeth, and two frontal lobes are more widely separated, and larger than in the worker. The petiole is large when viewed from the front and flattened and slender when viewed from the side.

Borgmeier 1950. Page 374.
Borgmeier 1950. Page 376.
Borgmeier 1950. Page 377.
Borgmeier 1950. Figures 1-6.
Borgmeier 1950. Figures 7-12.

Type Material

Mackay and Mackay (2008) - Worker, Guatemala (without locality)


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Baena M.L., and M. Alberico. 1991. Relaciones biogeographicas de las hormigas de la Isla Gorgona. Revista Colombiana de Entomologia 17(2): 24-31.
  • Baena, M.L. 1993. Hormigas cazadoras del genero Pachcondyla (Hymenoptera: Ponerinae) de la Isla Gorgona y la Planicie Pacifica Colombiana. Bol. Mus. Ent. Univ. Valle 1(1):13-21
  • Borgmeier T. 1950. A fêmea dichthadiiforme e os estádios evolutivos de Simopelta pergandei (Forel), e a descrição de S. bicolor, n. sp. (Hym. Formicidae). Revista de Entomologia (Rio de Janeiro) 21: 369-380.
  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • Fernández F. 2008. Subfamilia Ponerinae s.str. Pp. 123-218 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.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Gotwald W. H., Jr., and W. L. Brown, Jr. 1967. The ant genus Simopelta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 73: 261-277.
  • Groc S., J. H. C. Delabie, F. Fernandez, M. Leponce, J. Orivel, R. Silvestre, Heraldo L. Vasconcelos, and A. Dejean. 2013. Leaf-litter ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a pristine Guianese rainforest: stable functional structure versus high species turnover. Myrmecological News 19: 43-51.
  • Lattke J. E. 1985. Hallazgos de hormigas nuevas para Venezuela (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bol. Entomol. Venez. N.S. 4(10): 82-84.
  • Levings S. C. 1983. Seasonal, annual, and among-site variation in the ground ant community of a deciduous tropical forest: some causes of patchy species distributions. Ecological Monographs 53(4): 435-455.
  • Longino J. T. L., and M. G. Branstetter. 2018. The truncated bell: an enigmatic but pervasive elevational diversity pattern in Middle American ants. Ecography 41: 1-12.
  • Longino J. T., and R. K. Colwell. 2011. Density compensation, species composition, and richness of ants on a neotropical elevational gradient. Ecosphere 2(3): 16pp.
  • Mackay, W.P. and E.E. MacKay. 2010. The systematics and biology of the New World ants of the genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press Lewiston, NY
  • 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.
  • Maes, J.-M. and W.P. MacKay. 1993. Catalogo de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Nicaragua. Revista Nicaraguense de Entomologia 23.
  • Verhaagh M. 1991. Clearing a tropical rain forest - Effects on the ant fauna. Pp. 59-68 in: Erdelen, W.; Ishwaran, N.; Müller, P. (eds.) 1991. Tropical ecosystems: systems characteristics, utilization patterns, and conservation issues. Weikersheim: Margraf Scientific Books, 202 pp.