Solenopsis picta

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Solenopsis picta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species complex: molesta
Species: S. picta
Binomial name
Solenopsis picta
Emery, 1895

Solenopsis picta casent0104509 profile 1.jpg

Solenopsis picta casent0104509 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


These ants nest in hollow twigs and in dead wood in Florida and the southeastern states (Thompson 1980). Solenopsis picta can also be found in oak trees in Florida (Emery 1895) and were found in a dead pecan twigs in Victoria, Texas (Wheeler W. M. 1915). Workers can be collected in bait traps in trees. We found single a single queen in each nest. Brood was present in nests in August. They are found in oak woodlands.


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 dark, occasionally bicolored ant (with a reddish brown head and mesosoma and a dark brown gaster). The head is slightly longer than wide and the body is not very hairy. The cephalic punctures are small. The hairs are erect and sub erect and vary in length. The lateral clypeal teeth are widely separated (0.066 mm), but weakly developed. The eyes are small, with 4-5 ommatidia and almond-shaped. The notopropodeal suture is well depressed and breaks the sculpture of the mesosoma. The propodeum is flattened and the dorsopropodeum forms about a 45 degree angle with the posteropropodeum. The petiole is wider than the postpetiole when viewed in profile. The petiolar and postpetiolar nodes are rounded. Queen - undescribed). The queen is small and concolorous golden brown. The head has fine punctation. The lateral teeth on the anterior margin of the clypeus are angulate and the extralateral teeth are absent. The medial ocellus is small; the pronotum is finely punctate. The posterior propodeal margin is slightly angulate. The petiole is wider than the postpetiole when viewed laterally. The petiolar node is rounded and somewhat triangular. The postpetiolar node is oval-shaped and globose. The ventral surfaces of both the petiole and postpetiole are lacking teeth, but the petiolar peduncle has a flange ventrally.

The workers of Solenopsis tenuis are similar to S. picta but can be separated from S. picta by the longer scapes. Solenopsis subtilis is similar to S. picta as well, a species that is found in South America. Solenopsis subtilis is nearly identical in size and form, but may be distinguished by color as it is light brown with yellowish appendages while S. picta is dark brown or occasionally bicolored. The queens of the two species are different as the queen of S. picta lacks striae on the sides of the petiole and postpetiole.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 34.767° to 22.29448°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (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.


Atchison & Lucky (2022) found that this species does not remove seeds.


Males have yet to be collected.


Images from AntWeb

Solenopsis picta casent0104510 head 1.jpgSolenopsis picta casent0104510 profile 1.jpgSolenopsis picta casent0104510 profile 2.jpgSolenopsis picta casent0104510 dorsal 1.jpgSolenopsis picta casent0104510 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0104510. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


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

  • picta. Solenopsis picta Emery, 1895c: 278 (w.) U.S.A. (Florida).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 270).
    • Type-locality: U.S.A.: Florida (Pergande).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1960b: 22 (l.). Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 268 (q.).
    • Status as species: Emery, 1896g: 86 (in key); Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 563; Emery, 1922e: 200; Borgmeier, 1927c: 106; Smith, M.R. 1930a: 3; Wheeler, W.M. 1932a: 10; Smith, M.R. 1943a: 211 (in key); Creighton, 1950a: 237; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 814; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 130; Wilson, 1964b: 9; Ettershank, 1966: 143; Smith, M.R. 1967: 358; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1388; Thompson, 1989: 271 (in key); Thompson & Johnson, 1989: 697 (in key); Deyrup, et al. 1989: 96; Bolton, 1995b: 390; Deyrup, 2003: 47; MacGown & Forster, 2005: 70; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 268 (redescription); Deyrup, 2017: 111.
    • Senior synonym of moerens: Creighton, 1950a: 237; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 130; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1388; Bolton, 1995b: 390; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 268.
    • Distribution: U.S.A.
  • moerens. Solenopsis picta var. moerens Wheeler, W.M. 1915b: 393 (w.) U.S.A. (Texas).
    • Type-material: 6 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: U.S.A: Texas, Victoria (J.D. Mitchell).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Subspecies of picta: Emery, 1922e: 200; Smith, M.R. 1927: 309; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 814; Ettershank, 1966: 142.
    • Junior synonym of picta: Creighton, 1950a: 237; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 130; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1388; Bolton, 1995b: 389; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 268.

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=5). TL 1.32-1.44 (1.37); HL 0.390; HW 0.330-0.336 (0.331); EL 0.042; ED 0.030; SL 0.222-0.258 (0.248); FSL 0.090-0.096 (0.094); CI 84.6-86.2 (84.9); SI 56.9-66.2 (63.7); PL 0.072-0.078 (0.073); PW 0.084-0.090 (0.085); PI 85.7-86.7 (85.9); PPL 0.078-0.084 (0.082); PPW 0.096-0.102 (0.101); PPI 76.5-82.4 (80.9); WL 0.240-0.276 (0.260); PSL 0.030; PSW 0.030.

Small, concolorous brown or bicolored, reddish brown head, dark brown gaster; head longer than wide, cephalic punctures fine; lateral clypeal teeth widely separated, but poorly developed, extralateral teeth small, angulate; clypeal carinae well defined; eyes black, almond shaped, with 4-5 ommatidia; scape long, extending ¾ length of head; minor funicular segments 3-8 short, not surpassing 0.100 mm; mesosoma smooth and shiny; notopropodeal suture well depressed, groove breaks sculpture of mesosoma; posteropropodeum flattened, dorsopropodeum forms 45 degree angle with posteropropodeum; petiole wider than postpetiole viewed laterally; petiolar node triangular, peduncle lacking tooth ventrally; postpetiolar node oval-shaped (seen from above).

Not very pilose; few body hairs present on all body surfaces; most hairs erect and suberect, present on head and scape; mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole and first tergite of gaster have very few erect and suberect hairs.


Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=1). TL 3.24; HL 0.540; HW 0.480; EL 0.156; ED 0.120; MOL 0.036; MOD 0.042; SL 0.360; FSL 0.180; CI 88.9; SI 66.7; PSL 0.060; PSW 0.050; PL 0.120; PW 0.216; PI 55.6; PPL 0.156; PPW 0.240; PPI 65.0; WL 0.720.

Small, concolorous golden brown; head quadrate, longer than wide, with fine cephalic punctures; lateral clypeal teeth angulate, extralateral teeth absent, with bumps in their positions; clypeal carinae well defined; scapes long, reaching 3/4 length of head to posterior lateral corner; eyes black, small; medial ocellus small; pronotum finely punctate, sculpture smooth and shiny between punctures; mesopleuron smooth and shiny; metapleuron with horizontal striae; posterior propodeal margin weakly angulate; petiole wider than postpetiole viewed laterally; petiolar node rounded, triangular; postpetiolar node oval, globose; both petiolar peduncle and postpetiole lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Hairy, with erect and suberect hairs of various lengths covering all body surfaces; scape with hairs of various lengths, with long suberect hairs basally (0.120 mm); dorsum of mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole covered in numerous suberect hairs of various lengths, those on petiole and postpetiole curve posteriorly.

Type Material

Florida, (lectotype worker [here designated], Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa), (pinned in the "sandwich form," in which the specimen is mounted between two pieces of film or plastic. It is very difficult to view and the head is separate from the rest of the body).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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  • Albrecht M. 1995. New Species Distributions of Ants in Oklahoma, including a South American Invader. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 75: 21-24.
  • Annotated Ant Species List Ordway-Swisher Biological Station. Downloaded at on 5th Oct 2010.
  • Atchison R. A., J. Hulcr, and A. Lucky. 2018. Managed fire frequency significantly influences the litter arthropod community in longleaf pine flatwoods. Environmental Entomology 20(10): 1-11.
  • Colby, D. and D. Prowell. 2006. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Wet Longleaf Pine Savannas in Louisiana. Florida Entomologist 89(2):266-269
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