Solenopsis photophila

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Solenopsis photophila
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species complex: nigella
Species: S. photophila
Binomial name
Solenopsis photophila
Santschi, 1923

Solenopsis photophila casent0103211 profile 1.jpg

Solenopsis photophila casent0103211 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Solenopsis photophila has been collected using seed baits in the Monte desert of Mendoza, Argentina, in Prosopis open woodland. It also occurs in fine sandy soils in creosote bush scrub, where it was collected in pitfall traps. (Pacheco and Mackay 2013)


A New World thief ant that is a member of the nigella species complex.

Pacheco and Mackay (2013) – Worker - This species is very small and concolorous brown. What is striking about this species is its large kidney-shaped eyes with approximately 30 ommatidia. The mesopleuron, propodeum, petiole and postpetiole are heavily punctate with roughened sculpturing. The petiole has a triangular node and a flange is present ventrally.

This is one of the most unique species in the genus Solenopsis, which is easily recognized by its large kidney-shaped eye. The only species that has a similar eye is Solenopsis macrops. However the eye is smaller in S. photophila and this species has punctate/roughened sculpturing, while S. macrops is more smooth and shiny on the mesopleuron and propodeum.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -31.632389° to -33.265°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina (type locality).

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.



Known only from the worker caste.


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

  • photophila. Solenopsis (Synsolenopsis) photophila Santschi, 1923c: 250, fig. 1 (s.w.) ARGENTINA (Entre Ríos).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 262).
    • Type-locality: lectotype Argentina: Entre Rios, Villaguay (C. Bruch).
    • [Note: other original syntypes probably in NHMB.]
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Combination in Synsolenopsis: Kusnezov, 1953c: 347;
    • combination in Solenopsis: Ettershank, 1966: 142.
    • Status as species: Kusnezov, 1953c: 347 (in key); Ettershank, 1966: 142; Kempf, 1972a: 239; Bolton, 1995b: 390; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 261 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Argentina.

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=1). TL 1.44; HL 0.540; HW 0.456; EL 0.120; ED 0.060; SL 0.318; FSL 0.156; CI 84.4; SI 58.9; PL 0.072; PW 0.144; PI 50.0; PPL 0.090; PPW 0.156; PPI 57.7; WL 0.360; PSL 0.030; PSW 0.030.

Small, concolorous brown; head quadrate, posterior border nearly straight, finely punctate; lateral clypeal teeth angulate, extralateral teeth absent; clypeal carinae well defined; frontal lobes vertically striated; eyes large, approximately 30 ommatidia; scape reaching % length of head; pronotum smooth and shiny; mesopleuron and side of propodeum heavily punctate; metapleuron horizontally striated; posterior propodeal margin angulate; petiole and postpetiole heavily punctate; subpeduncular process with flange.

Not very hairy; erect and suberect hairs of various lengths scattered on all body surfaces, most hairs short (0.09 mm); suberect hairs on petiole and postpetiole curve posteriorly.

Type Material

Nr, 3829 Borgmeier, Argentina, Entre Rios; Villaguay (Bruch) (lectotype worker [here designated] Museum of Comparative Zoology).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Kusnezov N. 1978. Hormigas argentinas: clave para su identificación. Miscelánea. Instituto Miguel Lillo 61:1-147 + 28 pl.
  • 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.
  • Pignalberi C. T. 1961. Contribución al conocimiento de los formícidos de la provincia de Santa Fé. Pp. 165-173 in: Comisión Investigación Científica; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (Argentina) 1961. Actas y trabajos del primer Congreso Sudamericano de Zoología (La Plata, 12-24 octubre 1959). Tomo III. Buenos Aires: Librart, 276 pp.
  • Vittar, F. 2008. Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de la Mesopotamia Argentina. INSUGEO Miscelania 17(2):447-466
  • Vittar, F., and F. Cuezzo. "Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de la provincia de Santa Fe, Argentina." Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina (versión On-line ISSN 1851-7471) 67, no. 1-2 (2008).