Cephalotes monicaulyssea, Oliveira & Powell & Feitosa, 2021

Oliveira, Aline Machado, Powell, Scott & Feitosa, Rodrigo Machado, 2021, A taxonomic study of the Brazilian turtle ants (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Cephalotes), Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 65 (3), No. e 20210028, pp. 1-52 : 14-16

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.1590/1806-9665-RBENT-2021-0028



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scientific name

Cephalotes monicaulyssea

new species

Cephalotes monicaulyssea new species


Figs. 12 View Figure 12 a-c, 13a-c, 14a-c, 16

Holotype: BRAZIL: MG, Santana do Riacho, Serra do Cipó , 1267m, -19.294090 -43.587950, 25.vii.2018, S. Powell col., Campo rupestre (Vellozia) /C18-32, DZUP 550180 (worker) [ DZUP]. GoogleMaps

Paratypes: samedataas holotype: DZUP 550181 (2 workers, 1 soldier), DZUP 550182 (1 worker, 1 soldier, 1 gyne) [ DZUP]; -19.29370 -43.588160, 13.viii.2017, DZUP 550186 (1 worker, 1 soldier) [ MZSP]; 1258m, -19.294040 -43.587760, 17.vii.2019, S. Powellcol. Humiria balsamifera /C19-27, DZUP 550183 (1 worker, 1 gyne), DZUP 550184 (1 worker) [ DZUP], DZUP 550185 (1 worker, 1 gyne) [ USNM].

Diagnosis: Amember of angustus species group. Workers with incomplete striae onthe propleura. First gastral tergite withshort striae near of postpetiole insertion, and with evenly distributed appressed canaliculate hairs, without simple hairs ( Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ). In soldiers, in dorsal view, lateral margins of pronotum convex and converging posteriorly ( Fig. 13c View Figure 13 ). Propodeal groove weakly impressed, marked on the sides but absent medially ( Fig. 13c View Figure 13 ). First sternite of the gaster with striae laterally ( Fig. 5n View Figure 5 ).

Worker measurements (N=8): HL 0.85-1.20; HW 1.00-1.38; EL 0.30-0.38; PW 0.79-1.25; WL 0.93-1.35; PTL 0.17-0.24; PTW 0.46-0.60; PPL 0.17-0.28; PPW 0.49-0.66; GL 1.05-1.76; HBL 0.28-0.41; HBW 0.10- 0.11; TL 3.43-4.77; CI 105-117; OI 25.2-36.0; PI 37.9-43.3; HBI 26.3-34.6.

Worker description: Body black; frontal lobe, vertexal lamellar expansions, apices of femora, tarsi, dorsal face of tibiae, and gastral lamellar expansions yellowish ( Fig. 12 View Figure 12 ).

Head, mesosoma, legs, petioleandpostpetiolefoveate-microalveolate. Propleura striate-microalveolate, striae not fully covering propleura. Propodeal declivitywith some striae. Firsttergiteof gastermicroalveolate, with some short striae in the anterior portion, near to the postpetiolar insertion; first sternite medially smooth and shiny, laterally striatemicroalveolate ( Fig. 12b, c View Figure 12 ).

Bodywith appressedcanaliculate hairs ( Fig.12c View Figure 12 ), moreconcentrated on meso-, metapleura and anterior lamellar expansions of the gaster. Mandibles andanterior margin of clypeus witherect clavate and simple hairs ( Fig.12a View Figure 12 ). Declivous face of propodeumglabrous. First sternite of gaster with long erect simple hairs ( Fig. 12b View Figure 12 ).

Head wider than long (CI 105-117), dorsum slightlyconvex ( Fig.12b View Figure 12 ). Mandibles with a weakly developed lateral angle. Anterior margin of clypeusconcavewitha pair of denticles.Frontalcarinae sinuous tonotched anteriorly the eyes, in frontal view ( Fig. 12a View Figure 12 ), gently bent dorsally over the eyes, in posterior view ( Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ). Antennae with three-segmented club. Lateroventral margins of head with posterior carinae extending posteriorly to vertexal corners, in lateral view. Vertexal corners with a narrow irregular lamellar expansion ( Fig. 12a View Figure 12 ).

Mesosoma convex in lateral view ( Fig. 12b View Figure 12 ). In dorsal view, lateral margins of pronotum with variable number of denticles, often three, the posterior one bifurcate or trifurcate; promesonotal groove absent ( Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ). Mesonotumwithapairofshortdenticles. Propodealgroove impressed only laterally. Dorsal and declivous faces of propodeum continuous, notmeetingin adistinct propodealangle; lateral marginsof propodeum witha pair of anterior denticles and rowof minordenticles posteriorly near petiolar insertion ( Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ). Femora not angulated dorsally, mid and hind basitarsi not flattened, with subparallel dorsal and ventral faces.

Indorsal view, anterior marginof petiole concave; lateralmargin with posteriorly curved spine, dorsum with a pair of denticles, subpetiolar process in lateral view with an anterior angle ( Fig. 12b View Figure 12 ). Postpetiole wider and longer than petiole ( Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ), with lateral spines broader than petiolar spines and curved backwards, dorsum without carinae or denticles, subpostpetiolar process in lateral view pronounced and compressed anteroposteriorly ( Fig. 12b View Figure 12 ).

Gaster suboval, deeplyconcave anteromedially withbroad anterior anterolateral lamellar expansions, not extendingposteriorly as acarina ( Fig. 12c View Figure 12 ).

Soldiermeasurements (N=3): HL 1.80-2.00; HW 2.00-2.16; EL 0.40-0.43; PW 1.88-2.03; WL 1.73-2.00; PTL 0.30-0.35; PTW 0.73-0.80; PPL 0.33-0.38; PPW 0.80-0.88; GL 2.30-2.55; HBL 0.44-0.48; HBW 0.14- 0.20; TL 5.76-7.28; CI 109-111; OI 19.7-20.0; PI 41.4-43.7; HBI 32.0-43.4.

Soldier description: Body mostly black; anterolateral faceand edges of the dorsum of headferruginous, only central portion of the cephalic disc black. Lateral margins of pronotum with ferruginous spots. Apices of femora, tarsi and dorsal face of tibiae ferruginous. First gastral tergite with an anterior and a posterior pair of weakly yellowish spots, each one occupying less than one fourth of the first tergite length ( Fig. 13 View Figure 13 ).

Sculpturing and pilosity as in workers, except by the presence of appressed simple hairson the first tergite of gaster, andthe erect short hairs on the posterior edge of the tergites and sternites ( Fig. 13b View Figure 13 ).

Head slightlywider thanlonger (CI 106-111). Mandibles with strong longitudinal lateral angle.Clypeus slightlyconcave with apair of denticles ( Fig. 13a View Figure 13 ). Dorsum of head disc shaped and concave anteriorly. Frontal carinae crenulate anteriorly. Antennalclub ill-defined. Roof of antennal scrobe with lateralcarinae and posterior denticle. Lateroventral margin of head without carina. Vertexal corners forming pointed projections separated of the dorsum cephalic disc ( Fig. 13a, b View Figure 13 ).

In lateral view, pronotum ascending, with a transversal carina not raised in a crest; pronotal carinae weakly developed, not crenulate ( Fig. 13c View Figure 13 ). In dorsal view, anteriormargin of pronotum gently rounded, lateral margins slightly concave and converging posteriorly, with anterolateral denticle. Mesonotum and propodeum continuous andflat ( Fig. 13b View Figure 13 ); mesonotum with blunt rounded posterolateral projection; propodeal grooveimpressed only laterally; dorsal and declivous faces of propodeum meeting in a distinct propodeal angle; in dorsal view, lateral margin of propodeum with three projections, the anterior one obtuse, the median one broad and acute, the posterior one acute and long, with the apices curved anteriorly. Legs as in worker.

Petiole and postpetiole as in worker, except for the presence of a transverse elevation of dorsum of postpetiole.

Gaster elongated, with narrow anterior lamellae, not extending posteriorly as a carina ( Fig. 13c View Figure 13 ).

Gyne measurements (N=3): HL 1.88-2.16; HW 1.88-1.96; EL 0.43- 0.46; PW 1.80-1.88; WL 2.52-2.60; PTL 0.32-0.44; PTW 0.71-0.78; PPL 0.45-0.51; PPW 0.86-0.93; GL 0.33-0.36; HBL 0.56-0.58; HBW 0.15-0.17; TL 5.59-5.97; CI 90.7-101; OI 22.4-24.5; PI 44.1-61.6; HBI 26.1-31.2.

Gyne description: Color, sculpturing and pilosity as in soldiers, except for some erecthairs on mesoscutum ( Fig. 14 View Figure 14 ).

Head as in the soldier (CI 90.7-101), but longer ( Fig. 14a View Figure 14 ).

Indorsalview, anteriormarginofpronotumslightlyrounded, narrower than in the soldiers, lateral margin with a pair of denticles pointed forward, pronotal carina weakly developed ( Fig. 14c View Figure 14 ). Dorsally, mesoscutum subtriangular, anteriormarginrounded; notauli absent; parapsidial line welldeveloped and parallel; transscutal line impressed, reaching lateral margin of mesosoma; scutoscutellar groove deeply impressed, arched, and scrobiculate; scutellum well delimited, broadest anteriorly; axillaeroundedposteriorly ( Fig. 14c View Figure 14 ). Laterally, mesopleural groove dividing anepisternum and katepisternum; metapleura divided in upper metapleura and lower metapleura by groove; metapleuropropodeal groove notimpressed ( Fig. 14b View Figure 14 ). In dorsal view, posterior margin of propodeum slightly concave with a pair of short denticles ( Fig. 14b View Figure 14 ). Wings unknown.

Petiole and postpetiole as in the soldier, but longer ( Figs. 14b, c View Figure 14 ).

Gaster elongated, anteriorly with narrow carinae, not extending posteriorly ( Fig. 14c View Figure 14 ).

Comments: This species is very similar to C. angustus , differing by the presence of striae on the first sternite of gaster and the gastral anterior lamellae not extending posteriorly as a carina. Cephalotes monicaulyssea differs from new species C. marycorn and C. gabicamacho by the first tergite of gaster with abundant appressed canaliculate hairs evenly distributed. While C. gabicamacho has appressed canaliculate hairs anteriorly and posteriorly, with a narrow central portion with appressed simple hairs, and C. marycorn has appressed canaliculate hairs only laterally of anterior portion and posterior edge of tergite, the central portion has sparse appressed simple hairs.

Natural history: This species was collected at the same locality in three different years (2017, 2018 and 2019), at Serra do Cipó, the southern part of the mountainous system of Serra do Espinhaço, Minas Gerais state. The local climate is well-defined, with fresh and rainy summers and dry season, the annual average temperature is 18°C, and the annual average precipitation is 1,600 mm. The dominant vegetation of the region is the Cerrado, a Neotropical savanna (Callisto et al., 2001). The specimens were only collected in altitudes above 1200m, in a phytophysiognomy know as Campo Rupestre, despite targeted Cephalotes sampling at nearby locations at 1000m and 800m. Campo Rupestre is characterized by occurring exclusively on top of mountains, above 900m, with rocky outcrops, shallow soils, and vegetation herbaceous-shrubs (Vasconcelos, 2011). It has been inferred that 30% of the taxa occurring in campos rupestres are restricted to this formation (Lousada et al., 2011). The larger colony collection (C18-32) was taken from four nests in the thicker basal stems of a Vellozia Vand. plant, a shrub typical of Campo Rupestres, occurring between 1000 and 2000 m a.s.l. (Lousada et al., 2011). This colony was discovered initially with baiting, and subsequent baiting across Vellozia individuals showed that Cephalotes monicaulyssea occupied most plants of this species within the vegetation patch. Viable populations of Cephalotes monicaulyssea may then be highly dependent on Vellozia at this altitude. Nevertheless, the second collection, a small incipient colony (C19-27), was made inadvertently when opening dead stems of a Humiria balsamifera Aubl. ( Humiriaceae ) tree within the same vegetation patch as C18-32. Additionally, a large reproductively mature colony of Cephalotes monicaulyssea was also collected from dead stems of a Vochysia thyrsoidea Pohl. ( Vochysiaceae ) tree in the same patch. This indicates that despite the high density of this Cephalotes monicaulyssea in Vellozia plants, it is not indicative of an obligate ant-plant relationship. Nevertheless, the discovery of this high-density population at 1200m a.s.l. and not at lower elevations does suggest that C. monicaulyssea may be restricted to high altitude in Campos Rupestres.

Distribution: Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Etymology: This species is named, in apposition, after Mônica Antunes Ulysséa, a Brazilian myrmecologist, poetess, activist, and agroecologist, for her contribution to the knowledge of Neotropical ants, especially the taxonomy of Myrmicinae . Besides being a great friend, Mônica’s protagonism in academic feminism has been an inspiration for contemporary and future generations of female myrmecologists.


Brazil, Parana, Curitiba, Universidade Federal do Parana, Museu de Entomologia Pe. Jesus Santiago Moure


Brazil, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo


USA, Washington D.C., National Museum of Natural History, [formerly, United States National Museum]