Solenopsis castor

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Solenopsis castor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species complex: molesta
Species: S. castor
Binomial name
Solenopsis castor
Forel, 1893

Solenopsis castor casent0217930 p 1 high.jpg

Solenopsis castor casent0217930 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Solenopsis castor nests on the soil and under stones. Specimens were collected from the extraction of tropical forest litter.


A New World thief ant that is a member of the molesta species complex. (Key to New World Solenopsis Species Complexes)

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) – ‘’’Worker’’’ - This is a small (1.30-1.50 mm total length), dark brown (Mexico and Central America) to medium brown (Caribbean) species. The funicular segments are short, the scape is long, nearly reaching the posterior lateral comer of the head. ‘’’Queen’’’ - The queen is dark brown. The lateral clypeal teeth are poorly developed and the clypeal carinae are weakly defined. The head is coarsely punctate. The scape is very long and nearly reaches the posterior border of the head. The pronotum is coarsely punctated. The metapleuron, petiole and postpetiole are horizontally striated.

The workers of S. castor are superficially similar to Solenopsis terricola (Central America and the Caribbean) in color (especially specimens from the Caribbean), but can be easily separated by the longer scape, the smooth and polished mesopleuron and the slender, completely polished petiole. The widely distributed Solenopsis tenuis is also similar, but is usually concolorous light brown. Direct comparison of types, show no differences between the workers of S. castor and Solenopsis nickersoni. Thompson (1982) described S. nickersoni from Florida on the basis of the worker and then later (1989) described the queen with specimens not associated with workers (Thompson, 1980, 1989). Solenopsis nickersoni will continue to be considered a separate species until queens associated with workers can be compared with queens of S. castor. It is likely the two taxa represent the same species-level taxon.

The workers of S. castor are easily confused with those of the widely distributed, common Solenopsis picea. The minor segments are usually shorter than 0.100 mm in total length (usually greater than 0.120 mm in S. picea and the color is usually dark mahogany brown with yellow legs (S. picea is usually medium brown with the legs nearly concolorous with the mesosoma).

The queens of S. castor are relatively small (total length about 3.00 mm) versus the larger queens of S. picea (usually greater than 4.00 mm total length). The queens could be confused with those of the widely distributed S. tenuis. The punctures on the head are usually sparse and small in both species, although the punctures of S. castor are slightly larger. The eyes of S. castor are oblong in shape, with the anterior border convex and curved, the posterior border is nearly straight. The eye of S. tenuis is nearly circular in shape, with the posterior border being as rounded as the anterior border. Note, Although S. castor does not have a well-developed tooth or flange, a small bump is located at the subpeduncular process. This character can be used to separate from similar species.

Keys including this Species


Mexico (Colima) south to Panama (Chiriqui), Caribbean (Antilles st. Vincent, Grenada, Dominica) and Bolivia.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 33.31° to -3.083333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Grenada, Lesser Antilles, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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.

  • castor. Solenopsis castor Forel, 1893g: 391 (w.q.) ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES (St Vincent I.).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 133), 4 paralectotype workers, 1 paralectotype queen.
    • Type-locality: lectotype: St Vincent (no further data); paralectotypes with same data.
    • [Note: Pacheco & Mackay do not specify the original syntype series from which the lectotype + paralectotypes were selected. The two original syntype series include: St Vincent & the Grenadines: St Vincent I., 10f: Cumberland Valley, Hermitage Estate, 1000 ft, 2.xii. (H.H. Smith), St Vincent I., 10g: Fitz-Hugh Valley (leeward), 500 ft, 4.xi. (H.H. Smith).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1896g: 85 (in key); Forel, 1897b: 300; Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 124; Wheeler, W.M. 1913d: 240; Emery, 1922e: 199; Menozzi, 1931b: 267; Ettershank, 1966: 140; Kempf, 1972a: 234; Bolton, 1995b: 386; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 131 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St Vincent & the Grenadines.

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



Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=4). TL 1.32-1.50 (1.41); HL 0.420-0.462 (0.441); HW 0.360-0.390 (0.375); EL 0.042-0.048 (0.045); ED 0.030-0.036 (0.033); SL 0.294-0.300 (0.297); FSL 0.120; CI 84.4-85.7 (85.1); SI 63.6-71.4 (67.5); PL 0.072-0.096 (0.081); PW 0.090-0.132 (0.102); PI 72.7-86.7 (80.3); PPL 0.096-0.108 (0.102); PPW 0.120-0.150 (0.129); PPI 72.0-85.0 (79.5); WL 0.300-0.360 (0.315); PSL 0.030-0.036 (0.032); PSW 0.024-0.030 (0.027).

Small, concolorous brown, with yellowish appendages; head quadrate, longer than wide, posterior border nearly straight; lateral clypeal teeth angulate, extralateral bumps present; clypeal carinae well defined; eyes small, 3-5 ommatidia; scape long, nearly reaching posterior lateral comer of head; minor funicular segments moderately short; pronotum and mesopleuron smooth and shiny; metapleuron horizontally striated; posterior propodeal margin rounded; petiole wider than postpetiole viewed laterally; petiolar node thickened, without tooth or flange ventrally.

Abundantly hairy, most surfaces are covered with long (0.050-0.100 mm), erect hairs. castor


Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=6). TL 2.88-3.72 (3.22); HL 0.480-0.540 (0.514); HW 0.396-0.480 (0.432); EL 0.156-0.162 (0.159); ED 0.120-0.126 (0.123); MOL 0.036-0.042 (0.040); MOD 0.042-0.048 (0.046); SL 0.324-0.378 (0.346); FSL 0.168-0.180 (0.175); CI 78.8-89.9 (83.9); SI 60.7-70.0 (67.4); PSL 0.042-0.054 (0.050); PSW 0.042-0.048 (0.044); PL 0.102-0.138 (0.109); PW 0.180-0.198 (0.183); PI 54.5-76.7 (59.6); PPL 0.126-0.150 (0.142); PPW 0.192-0.240 (0.218); PPI 62.5-70.6 (65.3); WL 0.600-0.720 (0.630).

Small, concolorous dark brown, with lighter appendages; head subquadrate, longer than wide, coarsely punctate, posterior border straight; lateral clypeal teeth poorly developed, extralateral teeth absent; clypeal carinae weakly defined; eyes large; scape long, within one funicular segment from reaching posterior border of head; medial ocellus small; pronotum coarsely punctate, smooth and shiny between punctures; mesopleuron smooth and shiny; posterior propodeal margin rounded, propodeal spiracle small; metapleuron horizontally striated; petiole thick, wider than postpetiole viewed laterally; petiolar peduncle lacking tooth or flange ventrally; petiole and postpetiole horizontally striated.

Abundantly hairy; yellow erect and suberect hairs of various lengths covering all body surfaces (longest 0.015 mm in total length), hairs on petiole and postpetiole curve posteriorly.

Type Material

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Worker Antilles Is., St. Vincent, (lectotype worker, 4 paralectotype workers, 1 paralectotype queen [here designated] (Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Boer P. 2019. Ants of Saba, species list. Accessed on January 22 2019 at
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Forel A. 1897. Quelques Formicides de l'Antille de Grenada récoltés par M. H. H. Smith. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. 1897: 297-300.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at
  • Ottonetti L., L. Tucci, F. Frizzi, G. Chelazzi, and G. Santini. 2010. Changes in ground-foraging ant assemblages along a disturbance gradient in a tropical agricultural landscape. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 22: 73–86.
  • Pacheco J. A., and W. P. Mackay. 2013. The systematics and biology of the New World thief ants of the genus Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 501 pp.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wheeler W. M. 1905. The ants of the Bahamas, with a list of the known West Indian species. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 21: 79-135.
  • Wheeler, William Morton. 1911. Ants Collected in Grenada, W.I. by Mr. C. T. Brues. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparitive Zoology at Harvard College. 54(5):166-172.