Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2013)
Brachymyrmex heeri is a shiny yellow to brown small, soft-bodied, nondescript species approximately 1.22 mm in length. It lives in polygynous colonies, occupies shallow nests often located in disturbed habitats, and has successfully established populations outside its native range.
Native range. Throughout Neotropics; a widespread synanthropic species.
Introduced range. Galapagos, Europe.
Occasionally intercepted at US ports of entry.
Costa Rica: Alajuela (Juan Santamaria airport); Guanacaste (Finca La Pacifica, Estacion Pitilla); Heredia (Santo Domingo de Heredia, La Selva Biological Station); Puntarenas (Corcovado, Monteverde); San Jose (San Jose).
The species is native to the Neotropics, but was originally described from Zurich, Switzerland (Forel, 1874;1876). They where they were found in abundance on greenhouse orchids in tropical botanical garden, but the population was gone (possibly replaced by Plagiolepis) by 1904 (Santschi, 1923). Brachymyrmex heeri is a widespread across Central America, South America and the Caribbean (Kempf, 1972). It was also recently reported from the Galapagos Islands, where they were found in association with introduced hemipteran Icerya purchasi Maskell, and in the agricultural zone of San Cristbal (Herrera & Longino, 2008). It is not clear the extent to which B. heeri is native (versus introduced) to many of the Caribbean islands (Wetterer & Wetterer, 2004). Thus far there have been no confirmed reports of the species establishing in the United States, but it has been intercepted at a Texas port of entry (Christopher Wilson, pers. comm.). In addition to Forels original description from Switzerland, the species has been reported from Germany, France and the Ukraine (Rasplus et al., 2010).In Costa Rica (Jack Longino)
This is a common species of synanthropic habitats in Costa Rica. It can be found in small parks in the middle of San Jose, in hotel landscaping, along road edges, in scrubby second growth vegetation, and in pastures. It occurs in almost any bioclimatic region: dry Guanacaste lowlands, wet Atlantic slope lowlands, Central Valley urban areas, and roads and pastures near Monteverde cloud forest. Nests are often under stones on the ground but also occur in cavities in low vegetation. Colonies are polygynous, with multiple dealate queens often occurring together in nests. Workers are omnivorous and opportunistic foragers.
Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted species.
Antenna 9-segmented. Antennal club indistinct. Antennal scapes surpassing the posterior margin of head by more than 1/5th their length. Eyes of moderate size (greater than 5 facets). Eye length approximately equal to or slightly greater than malar distance. Head with or without distinct ocelli. Antennal sockets and posterior clypeal margin separated by a distance less than the minimum width of antennal scape. Dorsum of mesosoma lacking a deep and broad concavity. Metanotal groove present. Pronotum and mesonotum with pairs of erect hairs. Propodeum and petiolar node both lacking a pair of short teeth. Propodeum lacking posteriorly projecting protrusion. Metapleuron with a distinct gland orifice. Waist 1-segmented (may be hidden by gaster). Petiolar node appearing flattened. Gaster armed with acidopore. Gaster (especially first segment) with sparse pilosity, giving it a shiny appearance. Color yellow to brown.
The taxonomy of Brachymyrmex is in considerable need of revision before many of the current species names can confidently be applied to specimens. Brachymyrmex heeri can be distinguished from most other introduced members of the genus by the following combination of characters: (1) sparse pubescence on the first gastral tergite, (2) antennal scapes exceeding posterior margin of head by at least 1/5 their length, (3) erect hairs on the pronotum and mesonotum, and (4) eye length equal to or greater than malar distance. More yellowish specimens of B. heeri can be separated from the brown species B. patagonicus, but greater taxonomic study is required in order to separate darker B. heeri specimens. Joe MacGown (2012) suggests that dark B. heeri can be separated from B. patagonicus by the formers lack of ocelli, but the presence/absence of ocelli may be an unreliable character (Christopher Wilson, pers. comm.).
Forel, A. (1874) Les fourmis de la Suisse. Systematique, notices anatomiques et physiologiques, architecture, distribution geographique, nouvelles experiences et observations de moeurs. Neue Denkschr. Allg. Schweiz. Ges. Gesammten Naturwiss., 26, 1-452.
Forel, A. (1876) Etudes myrmecologiques en 1875 avec remarques sur un point de l'anatomie des coccides. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat., 14, 33-62.
Herrera, H.W. & Longino, J.T. (2008) New records of introduced ants (Hymenoptera; Formicidae) in the Galapagos Islands. Galapagos Res., 65, 16-19.
Kempf, W.W. (1972) Catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical. Stud. Entomol., 15, 3-344.
Rasplus, J.Y., Villemant, C., Paiva, M.R., Delvare, G. & Roques, A. (2010) Hymenoptera. BioRisk, 4(2), 669-776.
Santschi, F. (1923) Revue des fourmis du genre Brachymyrmex Mayr. An. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. B. Aires, 31, 650-678; pl. 1-3.
Wetterer, J.K. & Wetterer, A.L. (2004) Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Bermuda. Florida Entomol., 87, 212-221.
Taxon Page Author History
On 2012-06-05 08:13:29 Eli Sarnat modified Identification
On 2012-06-01 16:57:50 Eli Sarnat modified Identification
On 2012-06-01 15:57:46 Eli Sarnat modified Identification
On 2012-06-01 15:51:29 Eli Sarnat modified Identification
On 2012-06-01 14:33:43 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-01 14:32:42 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-01 14:30:39 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-01 14:29:56 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-01 14:29:17 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-01 14:26:57 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-01 14:25:55 Eli Sarnat modified Identification
On 2012-06-01 14:22:14 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-01 14:20:26 Eli Sarnat modified Distribution
On 2012-06-01 14:17:42 Eli Sarnat modified Overview
On 2012-06-01 14:16:30 Eli Sarnat modified Overview
On 2011-03-31 23:46:13 Eli Sarnat modified Distribution
On 2011-03-31 23:46:13 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)
Forel, A., 1893:
[[ worker ]] [[ queen ]] [[ male ]] Ne differe de la forme typique que par sa couleur brunatre et par sea ailes legerement enfumees de brunatre. La pubescence est peut etre aussi legerement plus forte.
Cette forme se distingue du B. patagonicus, Mayr , ' par l´absence des ocelles, par sa taille plus petite et par sa pilosite un peu plus abondante. Les' scapes sont aussi un peu plus longs.
(57). Moderately common in communities of a few hundreds at most. The formicarium is formed under a stone, or at the roots of grass and weeds, generally on open ground; but if my hasty identifications are correct, the species ranges to the tops of the highest mountains. So far as I have observed, the formicarium consists only of one or two simple chambers, with a short connecting passage. The ants are moderately active, less so than allied forms. They are sometimes beaten from foliage.
(57 a). Wallibou (leeward); thickets near the seashore. Oct. 6 th. Community of several hundreds under a stone. Sandy ground.
(57 b). Cumberland (leeward); open valley near the sea-level., Male and female found together under a stone (not copulated). Oct. 8 th.
(57 c). Islet fronting Chateaubelais Bay (leeward), Oct. 31 st. Rocky ground, thickets near sea-level. Workers found scattered under stones.
(57 d). Workers. Note was lost. Probably obtained by beating.
(57 e). Soufriere Volcano, 2500 ft. Sept. Scrubby growth found in moss, & c,
(57 f). Wallilobo Valley (leeward), Nov. 8 th; open hill-side, 500 ft. A female referred to this species, found alone under sod on a rock.
(57 g). Bowwood Valley, near Kingstown, 800 ft. Oct. 15 th. Second growth-, beaten from branches.
(57 h). Not noted. Doubtfully referred to this species.
(57 i). Windward side; open sandy valley of the Dry River, near the sea. Jan. 2 nd. From two nests under stones. The species is common in this vicinity.
(57 j). Same locality and date as (57 i). An unusually large community under a stone. The winged females and males (especially the males) were very numerous.
(57 k). Bank near seashore, between Georgetown and the Dry River (windward). Jan. 3 rd. Nest at the roots of grass.
(57 l). Workers, doubtfully referred to this species; near Grand Sable Estate (windward). Jan 3 rd. Seashore thicket; side of a rock under loose earth.
Wild, A. L., 2007:
Canindeyú , Central (ALWC, BMNH, LACM, MHNG).
Specimen Data Summary
Found most commonly in these habitats: 23 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in Puesto#1,84G, 10m, 1 times found in forest, 4 times found in lowland rainforest, 1 times found in pine oak forest, 1 times found in Zona litoral, 2 times found in cloud forest, 1 times found in GLASNOST plot, STR 3km, La Selva, 1 times found in huertos, 1 times found in pasture edge, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 15 times search, 11 times Sweeping, 6 times Berlese, 7 times Winkler, 5 times Malaise, 5 times Mini Winkler, 1 times Aspirador; colectada en flores de Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don, 1 times baiting, 3 times flight intercept trap, 1 times Fogging
Elevations: collected from 19 - 2270 meters, 595 meters average