Ponerinae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
Worker, dorsal view (large, small), mandibles (large, small), petiole (large, small).
Costa Rica (Cordillera Volcanica Central).
Tiny yellow species; eye completely absent; antenna with distinct 3-segmented club; anteromedian clypeus with spine; midtibia with several stout, peg-like spines on outer surface; mandible narrow with acute basal tooth, two closely spaced apical teeth, no teeth or denticles between basal and apical teeth; face punctate.
All Simopelta species whose biology is known are nomadic group raiders, convergent with Ecitoninae. See additional information under genus account.
This species is known from a single worker. It was collected as part of Conservation International's TEAM project at La Selva Biological Station. It came from a miniWinkler sample taken in the forest between La Selva's back boundary and Magsasay, at 150m elevation. The collection code for the miniWinkler sample is AMI-2-W-088-08, taken 26 July 2006.
Given its small size, eyelessness, and pale yellow coloration, it is presumably a subterranean species.
This is a remarkable species of Simopelta. The shape of the mandible, clypeus, mesosoma, and petiole are similar to S. pergandei. Distinctive features that are unlike any other known species of Simopelta are the pale yellow coloration, the 3-segmented antennal club, complete eyelessness, and the stout, peg-like spines on the midtibia. Simopelta minima Brandao is similarly small and has a clypeal spine, but differs in finer sculpture, darker color, presence of eyes, lack of tibial peg-like setae, 4-segmented antennal club, and angulate anteroventral petiolar process.
John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.email@example.com
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