Gnamptogenys simulans (Emery 1896)

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker lateral view

worker face view


Costa Rica (Lattke 1995, Brown 1958). Costa Rica: wet forests of both slopes to 1700m.


AT4 strongly vaulted and much inflated; AT4 with distinct, evenly spaced foveae; head width greater than 1.0mm, WL greater than 1.6mm.


Emery (1896) described simulans based on an Alfaro collection from "Suerre, near Jimenez," a site near present day Guapiles, Costa Rica. Mann (1926) described bufonis based on a collection from southern Mexico. bufonis was distinguished from simulans by its distinct and deeply impressed propodeal suture. Lattke (1992) supported the distinctness of the two species and reported specimens of both species from the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. In the collections I have observed the degree of impression of the propodeal suture is variable. I have observed one collection from a southern Mexican site, and the propodeal suture is more distinct than any of the Costa Rican material I have seen, but the difference is not great and the overall habitus is very similar. Here I propose that all Costa Rican material be called simulans, with bufonis potentially a junior synonym of simulans.

Within Costa Rica there is variation in the degree of impression of the propodeal suture, the overall size, and the shape of the frontal carinae (frontal carinae may be evenly convex or somewhat flattened and elongated). This variation appears to be discordant among various Costa Rican sites, and I have seen no evidence of distinct forms in sympatry.

Natural History

This species inhabits mature wet forest from near sea level to 1700m. Alfaro observed them nesting in the soil, and feigning death when disturbed (Emery 1896). These observations have been confirmed by more recent collections. In one instance, workers have been observed attacking an earthworm on the forest floor.

Selected Costa Rican records:

Heredia: 22km N Volcan Barba, 1020'N, 8404'W, 500m (J. Longino). Mature wet forest. Night collecting. Group of workers attacking annelid on forest floor. Ants very slow, feigned death when disturbed.

Heredia: La Selva Biological Station, 1026'N, 8401'W, 50m (collector?).

Heredia: 13km N Vol. Barba, 1015'N, 8405'W, 1320m (J. Longino). Wet forest; ex Winkler sample, sifted leaf litter from forest floor.

Puntarenas: Monteverde, 1018'N, 8448'W, 1500m (J. Longino). (1) Mature cloud forest. Teri Matelson was sorting roots from soil samples from the Cloud Forest Reserve, and encountered these ants. The nest was subterranean, in the first soil horizon, 10-20cm deep. (2) Workers also collected from two Winkler samples from cloud forest.

Puntarenas: Estacion Biol. Pittier, 902'N, 8258'W, 1670m (INBio Parataxonomist course). Wet forest; ex Winkler sample, sifted leaf litter from forest floor.

Puntarenas: Rancho Quemado, Osa Peninsula, 842'N, 8333'W, 200m (J. Longino). Wet forest; ex Winkler sample, sifted leaf litter from forest floor.

Type data

Alfaria simulans Emery 1896:42. Syntype worker, queen: Costa Rica, Suerre near Jimenez (Alfaro).

Literature Cited

Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 118:175-362.

Emery, C. 1896. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. XVII-XXV. Bolletino della Societa Entomologica Italiana 28:33-107, pl. 1.

Lattke, J. E. 1992. Revision of the minuta group of the genus Gnamptogenys. Deutsche entomologische Zeitschrift 39:123-129.

Lattke, J. E. 1995. Revision of the ant genus Gnamptogenys in the New World (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 4:137-193.

Mann, W. M. 1926. Some new neotropical ants. Psyche 33:97-107.

Page author:

John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505

Date of this version: 14 December 1998
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