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     Brachymyrmex 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 area.

Brachymyrmex depilis Emery
Figures 207-208

     Brachymyrmex 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 black light.

     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 nectaries.
At Saratoga Spring workers were found walking about the surface of the soil at about 2330 hrs.


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Date of this version 18, October 2003
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