Pseudomyrmex veneficus

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Pseudomyrmex veneficus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Pseudomyrmex
Species group: ferrugineus
Species: P. veneficus
Binomial name
Pseudomyrmex veneficus
(Wheeler, W.M., 1942)

Pseudomyrmex veneficus casent0005801 profile 1.jpg

Pseudomyrmex veneficus casent0005801 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


An Acacia nesting species of western Mexico, this species was one of the earliest described cases of supercoloniality (Janzen, 1973).

At a Glance • Polygynous  • Supercolonies  


Ward (1993) - The small size (worker HW < 0.96; queen HW 0.84-0.96, n=12), conspicuous suberect pubescence on the propodeum and petiole, and black coloration of the head and gaster distinguish workers and queens of P. veneficus. The related species, Pseudomyrmex flavicornis, is larger (worker HW > 0.98, queen HW 1.12-1.19) with a broader and more robust petiole. Workers and queens of P. flavicornis also lack the sublucid head and conspicuous suberect pubescence characteristic of P. veneficus. Pseudomyrmex mixtecus is somewhat intermediate between these two - it has the head sculpture and pubescence typical of P. flavicornis but approaches P. veneficus in size (worker and queen head widths overlapping, although only slighter in the queens where HW 0.96-l.01 (n=8) in P. mixtecus) and petiolar dimensions.


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 23.39833333° to 18.0167°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Mexico (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.


Ward (1993) - P. veneficus has a limited distribution in western Mexico (Sinaloa to Michoacan) where colonies occupy Acacia hindsii and, at one locality, A. collinsii. Janzen (1973) gives a detailed description of the ecology and behavior of this highly polygynous, effectively unicolonial, species whose colonies are among the largest of all social insects (containing millions of workers and several hundred thousand queens).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: polygynous (Rissing and Pollock, 1988; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



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

  • veneficus. Pseudomyrma belti subsp. venefica Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 162 (w.q.m.) MEXICO. Combination in Pseudomyrmex: Kempf, 1972a: 216. Senior synonym of venifica Enzmann: Brown, 1949a: 42. Raised to species: Ward, 1989: 439. See also: Ward, 1993: 152.
  • venifica. Pseudomyrma belti subsp. venifica Enzmann, E.V. 1944: 81 (w.q.) MEXICO. Junior synonym of venefica: Brown, 1949a: 42.

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



Ward (1993) - measurements (n=12). HL 0.95-1.04, HW 0.85-0.95, MFC 0.045-0.073, CI 0.88-0.95, REL 0.44-0.47, REL2 0.47-0.52, OOI 1.26-2.30, VI 0.66-0.75, FCI 0.051-0.081, SI 0.43-0.46, SI2 0.85-0.94, NI 0.58-0.65, PLI 0.60-0.67, PWI 0.58-0.67, PPWI 1.35-1.73.

Similar to Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus (q.v.) except as follows. Smaller (LHT 0.69-0.80), with broad head (Cl > 0.87); frontal carinae separated by basal scape width or less (FCI2 0.40-0.60); petiole short (PL 0.43-0.54) and relatively narrow (see PWI values) with somewhat rounded posterolateral angles. Head densely punctulate, subopaque to sublucid, with weak silvery reflectance. Overlying rugulo-punctate sculpture on propodeum weak and ill-defined. Standing pilosity variable in abundance, becoming rather short (0.10 mm) and sparse in southern populations. Pubescence thick and conspicuous, suberect on some surfaces especially the propodeum and petiole; suberect pubescence on petiolar dorsum contrasting with the appressed pubescence on the postpetiole. Very dark greyish-brown to black, parts of the mesosoma and petiole sometimes with lighter yellowish brown (more consistently so in the queen).

Type Material

Ward (1993):

Syntype workers, males, queens, Escuinapa, Sinaloa, Mexico (J. H. Batty) (American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Comparative Zoology) [Examined]. One Museum of Comparative Zoology syntype worker here designed LECTOTYPE.

Pseudomyrma belti subsp. venifica Enzmann 1945:81. Syntype workers, queens, Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico (C. H. T. Townsend) (Museum of Comparative Zoology) [Examined].


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Castano-Meneses, G., M. Vasquez-Bolanos, J. L. Navarrete-Heredia, G. A. Quiroz-Rocha, and I. Alcala-Martinez. 2015. Avances de Formicidae de Mexico. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Janzen, D. H. 1973. Evolution of polygynous obligate acacia-ants in western Mexico. Journal of Animal Ecology 42:727-750.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Maes, J.-M. and W.P. MacKay. 1993. Catalogo de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Nicaragua. Revista Nicaraguense de Entomologia 23.
  • Raine, N.E., P. Willmer and G.N. Stone. 2002. Spatial Structuring and Floral Avoidance Behavior Prevent Ant-Pollinator Conflict in a Mexican Ant-Acacia. Ecology 83(11):3086-6096
  • Vasquez-Bolanos M. 2011. Checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Mexico. Dugesiana 18(1): 95-133.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Ward, P.S. 1993. Systematic studies on Pseudomyrmex acacia-ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Journal of Hymenoptera Research 2(1):117-168
  • Wheeler W. M. 1942. Studies of Neotropical ant-plants and their ants. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 90: 1-262.