Strumigenys brevicornis

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Strumigenys brevicornis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Strumigenys
Species: S. brevicornis
Binomial name
Strumigenys brevicornis
Mann, 1922

Strumigenys brevicornis casent0217918 p 1 high.jpg

Strumigenys brevicornis casent0217918 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


This is a well collected species. It occurs in a range of forest habitats and is most commonly sampled from the litter. In Monteverde, Costa Rica it has been sampled from canopy epiphyte and soil samples. Strumigenys brevicornis also occurs across a wide elevational range. In Costa Rica there is a darker montane form and lighter lower elevation form.


A member of the crassicornis complex in the Strumigenys gundlachi group.

Longino (Ants of Costa Rica) - Mandibles in full-face view linear, elongate and narrow; ventral surface of petiole without spongiform tissue; leading edge of scape with freely projecting hairs; inner margin of mandible with a clearly defined submedian tooth near the midlength; labral lobes long, trigger hairs at apices of lobes short; preapical denticles gradually decreasing in size; mandibles relatively short (MI 33-45); propodeal suture moderately impressed; total head length less than 0.90mm; eyes relatively small, with 14 or fewer ommatidia, with 2-4 in longest row; head in full-face view relatively broad, CI 74-81; in profile head not strongly dorsoventrally flattened, the maximum depth of the head capsule 0.45-0.52 x head length; color red-brown to dark brown; pair of mesonotal setae conspicuous, often erect or tilted forward; erect hairs on first gastral tergite remiform or markedly flattened and expanded apically; backcurved pair of stout hairs located posteriorly on petiole dorsum thickly remiform; scape relatively long, SI 53-60. Also see Bolton (2000:180).

Variation: this is a case where, in Costa Rica at least, there is a larger, darker montane form (see discussion of montane dark forms). The light form has head length less than 0.75mm, and the mesonotal setae are usually spatulate and tilted forward. The dark form has head length 0.75-.090mm, and the mesonotal setae often relatively filiform, erect or tilted somewhat to rearward. To me they appear sympatric and largely discrete on the lower Atlantic slopes (50-800m). However, Bolton has examined these and other specimens and considers them to be one species (brevicornis). Also, Brown (1959) examined five Costa Rican collections of what he identified as brevicornis. One of the collections was from "Tablazo," a montane site, and was described as being dark brown rather than the lighter ferrugineous of other collections. He stated "The dark brown specimens (Tablazo) apparently come from a highland area in Costa Rica that has produced melanic variants of many wide-ranging dacetine species."

Keys including this Species


Widely distributed and relatively common in Central America

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 25.179156° to 8.407045°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras (type locality), Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Brown (1959) - Several colonies of this ant were taken by Wilson during August, 1953, at Pueblo Nuevo and Las Hamacas, Veracruz, in tropical evergreen forest. The ants were found foraging in the leaf litter and nesting in small rotting bits of wood in the litter. One nest (No. 235) contained 24 workers, 1 queen, 4 worker pupae and 5 larvae. Another (No. 237) held 26 workers, 1 queen, 18 worker pupae, 13 larvae of various sizes, and a number of eggs. In one natural nest, an entomobryid was found with larvae feeding on it. Nests in captivity readily captured entomobryid Collembola, including one Orchesella-like species. The ants are sluggish hunters, and often show immobile ambush behavior, with mandibles held open at about 30°-40° (as in Strumigenys gundlachi). When the ant strikes a springtail, the springtail almost always jumps, often several times in rapid succession. The ant hangs on, bulldog-fashion, and immediately curls in a rapid attempt to sting. On one occasion, the collembolan prey jumped and left behind a leg in the jaws of the ant, which bore it back to the nest. Small symphylans, millipedes, campodeids, a mosquito, mites and other arthropods offered to the Neostruma were ignored or avoided. One small symphylan was caught, but later rejected. One nest was maintained in the laboratory for two years, during which time it produced two separate sets of males and winged females (sexes in about equal numbers). From this nest, placed under a bell jar in the sunlight, the males and winged females flew out, but remained inactive for days on the ceiling and upper walls of the jar, apparently without mating. They appeared to try to move toward the light. During the two years we kept this colony in a small plaster nest, it was given nothing to eat but entomobryid and isotomid collembolans, a diet which allowed it to maintain itself in a flourishing condition.

One Las Hamacas colony produced an anomalous individual, probably a gynandromorph, in which the right half of the head and both mandibles are worker, while the left half of the head is fully male.

Longino (Ants of Costa Rica) - This species inhabits wet forested habitats from near sea level to 2600m, the light form most abundant below 500m, the dark form most abundant above. It occurs in leaf litter and is common in Winkler samples. A Winkler sample from oak forest in the Talamancas (Cerro Gemelos) at 2600m yielded six workers of this species and one worker of a Discothyrea species. This is one of the highest records of ants in Costa Rica (the only higher record I know is for a nomadic army ant, Labidus coecus, at 3000m near Villa Mills). At Monteverde the species is common in litter on the ground, but has also been taken in Winkler samples of epiphytes and soil from the forest canopy (also see Longino's discussion of variation within this species in the identification section above).




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

  • brevicornis. Strumigenys brevicornis Mann, 1922: 38 (w.q.) HONDURAS. Combination in Neostruma: Brown, 1948e: 111; in Pyramica: Bolton, 1999: 1673; in Strumigenys: Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2007: 116. Senior synonym of mustelina: Bolton, 2000: 180. See also: Brown, 1959b: 10.
  • mustelina. Strumigenys (Strumigenys) mustelina Weber, 1934a: 34, fig. 11 (q.) MEXICO. Brown, 1959b: 7 (w.m.). Combination in Neostruma: Brown, 1959b: 7; in Pyramica: Bolton, 1999: 1672. Junior synonym of brevicornis: Bolton, 2000: 180.

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



Bolton (2000) - TL 1.7-2.2, HL 0.41-0.55, HW 0.34-0.43, CI 74-81, ML 0.16-0.22, MI 36-45, SL 0.16-0.26, SI 53-60, PW 0.24-0.30, AL 0.43-0.58 (52 measured). Characters of crassicornis complex. Dentition variable, with 4 - 6 denticles between apicodorsal tooth and submedian tooth and with 1 - 5 denticles proximal of the submedian tooth. Apex of mandible with 4 - 5 minute intercalary denticles between apicodorsal and apicoventral teeth. Eye with 2 - 3 ommatidia in longest row, very rarely with 4; with 5 - 9 ommatidia in total. Leading edge of scape evenly convex, without an abrupt lobate expansion at the subbasal angle. Head capsule in profile not strikingly dorsoventrally flattened, the maximum vertical distance between highest and lowest points 0.45-0.52 X HL. Spongiform lobes of postpetiole small but obvious. Standing hairs on dorsal petiole and postpetiole remiform; those on the first gastral tergite remiform or flattened and expanded apically.

Widely distributed and relatively common in Central America, this small species shows colour forms varying from yellow-brown to black, with intermediate shades. In general darker coloured samples are somewhat larger and usually occur at greater altitude than lighter individuals.


Brown (1959, for S. mustelina) (3 specimens measured from 3 different localities): TL 1.9-2.3, HL 0.48-0.52, ML 0.18-0.20, WL 0.51-0.55, forewing L 1.6-1.8 mm.; CI 83-84, MI 36-38, ICD 49-51.


Brown (1959, for S. mustelina) - (1 specimen reared from nest taken at Las Hamacas, Veracruz): TL 1.7, HL 0.38, HW across eyes 0.38, WL 0.52 mm.

Habitus much like that of other small strumigenite males; head rather large compared to rest of body. Mandibles simple, acute, too small to be opposable. Labrum broad, divided, not elongate. Strong longitudinal frontal groove in front of median ocellus. Antennae not clavate. Notauli present, moderately distinct. Angle of propodeum obtusely rounded; teeth reduced to low carinae, rounded above. Petiole low, node rounded; both petiolar and postpetiolar nodes smooth and shining, like entire gaster and lower posterior sides of alitrunk. Rest of body reticulate-punctulate, appendages finely punctulate, opaque. Erect hairs few and fine, positioned more or less like the clavate hairs of the female. Sparse fine reclinate ground hairs on both surfaces of head and on appendages. Color brown, head blackish, appendages tan.

Type Material

Syntype workers and queen, HONDURAS: Ceiba, ii-iii. 1 920, No. 24458 (W.M. Mann) (National Museum of Natural History, Museum of Comparative Zoology) (examined).

Strumigenys (Strumigenys) mustelina Weber, 1934a: 34, fig. 11. Syntype queens (alate), MEXICO: Vera Cruz Prov., Jicoltepec, San Rafael (Museum of Comparative Zoology) (examined).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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