Hyphessobrycon myrmex sp. nov., is described from the Rio Formiga, upper Rio Juruena, upper Rio Tapajós basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil. The new species can be distinguished from congeners by having the lower half of the body deeply pigmented with dark chromatophores, chromatophores concentrated above the anal fin and forming a broad, diffuse, dark midlateral stripe and by having a dense concentration of dark chromatophores along unbranched dorsal-fin rays and distal portions of the two or three subsequent branched rays. In life, H. myrmex exhibits a conspicuous sexual dichromatism, with adult males red to orange and females and immatures pale yellow. A list containing 108 sexually dichromatic taxa in six families of Characiformes is provided and the distribution of this poorly known type of dimorphism across the Characiformes is discussed.