Solenopsis salina

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Solenopsis salina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Solenopsis
Species complex: molesta
Species: S. salina
Binomial name
Solenopsis salina
Wheeler, W.M., 1908

Solenopsis salina casent0005937 profile 1.jpg

Solenopsis salina casent0005937 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Solenopsis salina nests under large stones in creosote desert scrub, grassland, grassland-juniper transition, hardwood oak and pine forests, in dark brown sandy soils and rocky loam soils. Several nests were found in the soil in a bare, burned area. Occasionally there is a small mound around the entrance. Two nests were under logs. One nest was found in the nest of Formica oreas, another in a nest of Pheidole porcula. Solenopsis salina appears to inhabit mesic sites frequently in New Mexico and reproductives can be found in nests in July and August (Mackay and Mackay, 2001). Workers were collected in surface, vegetation and subterranean Vienna sausage, live meal worm and fire ant baits, and in seed baits. Specimens were also collected in pitfall traps. (Mackay and Mackay 2002, Pacheco and Mackay 2013)


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 - The workers are small, typically yellow (occasionally pale brown), in which the total length of the minor funicular segments is usually less than 0.120 mm in total length. The lateral clypeal teeth are usually bent inward and usually blunt tipped. The extralateral teeth are angulate. The hairs on the posterior tibiae are usually appressed or at most suberect. The cephalic punctures are coarse. Queen - undescribed). The queen is medium brown with a dark brown head. The head is coarsely punctate and resembles members of the fugax species complex. The space between the lateral clypeal teeth is wide at 0.120 mm. The metapleuron, petiole and postpetiole are striated. The petiolar peduncle has a flange ventrally.

The blunt, inwardly curved clypeal teeth of the worker (although a variable character in a series) will often separate this species from the similar Solenopsis texana with has straight lateral teeth and Solenopsis quadridentata which has straight, sharp lateral clypeal teeth. The cephalic punctures are moderately coarse, which also separates this species from S. texana, where the cephalic punctures are fine. The appressed or suberect hairs on the posterior tibiae will separate it from Solenopsis carolinensis (which rarely has erect hairs on the tibia). Larger workers (rare) are similar to S. molesta, but the combination of the bent clypeal teeth and the larger cephalic punctures distinguish S. salina from S. molesta. It can be also separated from S. molesta as the minor funicular segments of S. molesta are typically over 0.12 mm in length, while S. salina are typically shorter than 0.10 mm in total length.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 40.490456° to 19.02527778°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

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.




Males have yet to be collected.


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

  • salina. Solenopsis salina Wheeler, W.M. 1908e: 427, pl. 26, figs. 24, 25 (w.) U.S.A. (Texas).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated, “a number…from a single colony”).
    • Type-locality: U.S.A.: Texas, Fort Davis (W.M. Wheeler),.
    • [Note: Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 296, were unable to find any sytypes. In the original description Wheeler also mentions “a great many specimens” Mexico: Chihuahua, Ojos del Diablo, Santo Domingo Ranch (C.H.T. Townsend), but it is not certain that he intended these should also be regarded as syntypes]
    • Type-depositories: AMNH, MCZC.
    • Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 295 (q.).
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 563; Emery, 1922e: 201; Smith, M.R. 1943a: 211 (in key); Creighton, 1950a: 238; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 814; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 130; Cole, 1966: 17 (in key); Ettershank, 1966: 143; Smith, M.R. 1967: 358; Hunt & Snelling, 1975: 22; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1388; Allred, 1982: 505; Mackay, Lowrie, et al. 1988: 101 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 391; Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 232; Ward, 2005: 67; Pacheco & Mackay, 2013: 294 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Mexico, U.S.A.

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 1.41-1.50 (l.45); HL 0.408-0.432 (0.420); HW 0.342-0.360 (0.356); EL 0.036-0.042 (0.037); ED 0.030; SL 0.270-0.288 (0.279); FSL 0.108-0.132 (0.121); CI 83.3-85.7 (84.9); SI 63.9-68.6 (66.6); PL 0.078; PW 0.102-0.114 (0.108); PI 68.4-76.5 (72.3); PPL 0.096-0.102 (0.098); PPW 0.120-0.150 (0.133); PPI 68.0-80.0 (74.3); WL 0.300-0.330 (0.312); PSL 0.024-0.036 (0.031); PSW 0.024-0.030 (0.029).

Small, concolorous yellow to pale brown; head longer than wide, punctures on head moderately large, much larger than hairs that arise from them; lateral clypeal teeth angulate, thick, blunt at tips, often bent inward, extralateral teeth absent, angles present in their position; clypeal carinae well defined; eyes small, 3-5 ommatidia; scape does not reach posterior border of head; minor funicular segments 3-8 relatively short; pronotum and mesopleuron smooth and shiny; metapleuron with thin, faint striae; posterior propodeal margin rounded; petiole wider than postpetiole (viewed laterally); petiolar node rounded, peduncle with small tooth ventrally; postpetiolar node oval, lacking tooth or flange ventrally.

Abundantly hairy; hairs on pronotum numerous and various lengths, longest 0.012 mm in length; hairs on posterior tibiae usually appressed or suberect; hairs on petiole, postpetiole and gaster curve posteriorly.


Pacheco and Mackay (2013) - Measurements (n=2). TL 4.92-5.16 (5.04); HL 0.762-0.774 (0.768); HW 0.720; EL 0.240; ED 0.210; MOL 0.060-0.066 (0.063); MOD 0.072; SL 0.540-0.570 (0.555); FSL 0.288-0.324 (0.306); CI 93.0-94.5 (93.8); SI 70.9-73.6 (72.3); PSL 0.066-0.084 (0.075); PSW 0.054-0.060 (0.057); PL 0.192-0.210 (0.201); PW 0.360-0.378 (0.369); PI 53.3-55.6 (54.4); PPL 0.276; PPW 0.402; PPI 68.7; WL 1.20.

Moderately large; medium brown with darker head; head longer than wide, coarsely punctate; lateral clypeal teeth well developed, space between tips of teeth wide at 0.120 mm; extralateral teeth absent; clypeal carinae weakly defined; scape long, but not reaching posterior lateral corner of head; minor funicular segments 3-8 long; pronotum coarsely punctate, smooth and shiny between punctures; mesopleuron smooth and shiny; mesopleuron horizontally striated; petiole and postpetiole robust, petiolar peduncle with well-developed flange ventrally.

Abundantly hairy, yellow pilosity, sub erect to erect hairs of various lengths on all body surfaces; mesosoma very pilose, longest hairs 0.240 mm in length; hairs on petiole, postpetiole and gaster curve posteriorly.

Type Material

We were unable to locate any types of S. salina; they were apparently borrowed by Thompson in 1989 and not yet returned (S. Cover, Harvard University, MCZ, pers. comm.).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Allred D. M. 1982. Ants of Utah. The Great Basin Naturalist 42: 415-511.
  • Allred, D.M. 1982. The ants of Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 42:415-511.
  • Gregg, R.T. 1963. The Ants of Colorado.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • La Rivers I. 1968. A first listing of the ants of Nevada. Biological Society of Nevada, Occasional Papers 17: 1-12.
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.
  • Mackay, W.P. and E. Mackay. XXXX. The Ants of New Mexico
  • Moody J. V., and O. F. Francke. 1982. The Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Western Texas Part 1: Subfamily Myrmicinae. Graduate Studies Texas Tech University 27: 80 pp.
  • O'Keefe S. T., J. L. Cook, T. Dudek, D. F. Wunneburger, M. D. Guzman, R. N. Coulson, and S. B. Vinson. 2000. The Distribution of Texas Ants. The Southwestern Entomologist 22: 1-92.
  • 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, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1985. A checklist of Texas ants. Prairie Naturalist 17:49-64.