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Brazil, Trinidad, Panama to Mexico. Costa Rica: widespread.
Inhabits lowland to lower montane wet and moist forest; nests have been observed in rotten twigs or small pieces of rotten wood on the forest floor, and under epiphytes; predaceous on small arthropods.
Mandibles about as long as head, with no preapical teeth or denticles; face covered with large, shallow fossae.
The species A. lentus Mann is from Honduras and differentiated from A. ocellatus by coarser, more confluent fossae on the posterior face. Brown and Kempf speculated that this could be just a sculptural variant of A. ocellatus. Current material shows a somewhat abrupt transition between two forms. In Costa Rica, the Atlantic lowlands of Nicaragua, extending to La Mosquitia in eastern Honduras, workers are lighter red brown, the fossae are a bit more separated on the face, and the dorsal mesosoma is more lightly sculptured. Just across the Sierra de Agalta, in the north coastal region of Honduras, extending through eastern Guatemala to the eastern lowlands of Chiapas, workers are darker red, with more closely-spaced fossae on the face, and with dorsal mesosoma more heavily sculptured. This latter form matches A. lentus. However, DNA barcoding does not differentiate the two forms. Given the lack of sympatry and no evidence of genetic differentiation, I consider A. lentus to be a junior synonym of A. ocellatus.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 40 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 9 times found in tropical rainforest, 12 times found in montane wet forest, 10 times found in lowland rainforest, 10 times found in tropical wet forest, 8 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 7 times found in mature wet forest, 5 times found in rainforest, 3 times found in mesophil forest, 3 times found in moist forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 110 times ex sifted leaf litter, 2 times leaf litter, 2 times sifted litter, 2 times Malaise trap, 2 times Hojarasca, 1 times ALAS canopy fogging of Pentaclethra macroloba (Fabaceae), 1 times Wet forest. Ex sifted leaf litter., 1 times tall forest, rocky soil, 1 times nest in soft rock, 1 times Hojarasca., 1 times hojarasca suspendida, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 89 times MiniWinkler, 15 times MaxiWinkler, 12 times Winkler, 5 times Berlese, 3 times search, 2 times Malaise, 2 times Sifter, 2 times direct collection, 1 times fogging, 1 times litter sample, 1 times Mini Winkler, ...
Elevations: collected from 30 - 1380 meters, 663 meters average
Type specimens: syntype of Acanthognathus ocellatus: casent0919583