SOLENOPSIS

(Subfamily Myrmicinae)

Taxonomy

The genus Solenopsis was established by Westwood (1840). In the recent classification of the family Formicidae by Bolton (2003), Solenopsis and its related genera are classified into the two units of the tribe Solenopsidini: the Solenopsis genus group consisting of Allomerus, Anillomyrma, Bondroitia, Carebarella, Diplomorium, Epelysidris, Megalomyrmex, Monomorium, Nothidris, Oxyepoecus, Phacota and Solenopsis, and the Carebara genus group consisting of Adlerzia, Afroxyidris, Carebara, Machomyrma, Mayriella, Oligomyrmex, Paedalgus, Pheidologeton and Tranopelta. Fernández (2004) placed Afroxyidris, Oligomyrmex and Paedalgus as junior synonyms of Carebara, but we here do not follow Fernández's treatment because he insufficiently examined Old World taxa. Eguchi & Bui (2007) established Parvimyrma as the morphologycally closest genus of Solenopsis and placed it under the Solenopsis genus group.

Images


Solenopsis sp. eg-2, worker, body in lateral view.


Solenopsis sp. eg-2, worker, head in full-face view.

Distribution

Two native and one introduced species has been known from Vietnam.

geminata (Fabricius)
sp. eg-2 S. Cat Tien NP (Dong Nai)
sp. eg-3 W. Yen Tu NP (Bac Giang)

Bionomics

Solenopsis sp. eg-2 and sp. eg-3 are found in the soil or under stones. Their morphological features (e.g., reduced eye or eyeless and pale body color) suggest that they are subterranean nesters and foragers or even lestobiotic in the nest of other ants or termites.

Solenopsis geminata is an introduced species from the Neotropics. Commerce has accidentally introduced the species to urban and rural areas and other open habitats (including agricultural fields) in North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Oceania and Africa. The species is omnivorous and in the soil often under shelters (stones, concrete blocks, etc.). Because well-developed colonies includes a huge number of aggressive workers armed with a powerful sting, the ant are one of the notorious pest ants in Asia (named as the tropical fire ant). A detailed bionomics of S. geminata and other fire ants are given in Taber (2000).

© Katsuyuki EGUCHI & BUI Tuan Viet, 2007. All rights reserved.