is a small, exclusively New World genus of minute and nondescript
ants. Most of the species are tropical; one occurs naturally in
America north of Mexico. Two or three others are introduced, and
apparently established, in the southeastern United States. The genus
was revised by Santschi (1923). One species is found in our desert
heeri subsp. depilis Emery, 1893:635; o _ _.
Wheeler, 1903b:103; fig. 7a; o.
Brachymyrmex nanellus Wheeler,
1903b:102-103; fig. 7b; o _.
Santschi, 1923:664: o.
Brachymyrmex depilis: Santschi,
1923:653; fig. 22; o. Creighton, 1950:359; pl. 48; o _ _. Cole,
1953a:266; o. Wheeler and Wheeler, 1963:161-163; map 29; o _. Gregg,
1963:447-449; map; o. Wheeler, 1973:108-109; o _. Wheeler and Wheeler,1978:189;
o. Allred, 1982:454. Wheeler and Wheeler, 1986:59.
Brachymyrmex depilis flavescens
Grundmann, 1952:117; o.
RANGE: Nova Scotia to British
Columbia, south to central Mexico.
DESERT RECORDS. Map 13. Inyo
Co.: Paiute Canyon, 3500'-5000', Inyo Mts., 17 June 1976 (DG;
LACM); Willow Creek, 2400', Inyo Mts., 3 May 1976 (DG; LACM); Pat
Keyes Canyon, 2000'-3000', Inyo Mts., 14 June 1976 (DG; LACM); nr.
Grapevine Ranger Sta., 3000', DVNP, 22 Jan 1968 (GJW, #Cal.286;
GJW). San Bernardino Co.: Saratoga Spring, O', DVNP, 10 Nov
1968 (RRS, #68-126; LACM). Riverside Co.: Pushawalla Palms,
200', 6 Dec 1967 (GJW, #Cal.281; GJW); Deep Canyon, 825', 9 May
1969 (GJW, #Cal.755; GJW); Red Cloud Mine, Chuckwalla Mts., 33.60°N
115.43°W, 2700 ft., 27 Aug. 1994 (G. C. Snelling; LACM), at
DISCUSSION. This tiny, pale
ant is easily recognized, for it is our only formicine in which
the worker and female antenna is nine-segmented. Colonies are apparently
small, usually located in soil beneath stones or in rotting wood
in a wide variety of
habitats. The species is largely subterranean in our area, but workers
may occasionally forage on the surface during warm nights.
Over its entire range this species
occupies an astounding variety of habitats. Within an area it has
been found on Saltbush Scrub, Sagebrush Scrub and Wash Woodlands,
at elevations ranging from 0 to about 3500 feet.
Feeding habits in the desert are unknown,
but elsewhere B. depilis feeds on honeydew secreted by aphids
and mealybugs. It likely also takes nectar from floral and extrafloral
At Saratoga Spring workers were found walking about the surface
of the soil at about 2330 hrs.