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Mexico (Veracruz), Costa Rica.
Anochetus are presumably predators, using their snapping mandibles much like their larger relatives, Odontomachus. However, there are few direct observations.
A. orchidicola lives in montane wet forest, nesting beneath epiphytes in the low arboreal zone. Workers have also been collected in Winkler samples from the forest floor.
Brown, W. L., Jr. 1978. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section B. Genus Anochetus and bibliography. Studia Entomol. 20:549-652.
Worker, holotype: TL 4.8, HL 1.29, HW 1.11, ML 0.58, WL 1.45, scape L 0.91, eye L 0.12 mm; Cl 86, MI 45.
Body short, robust; head almost as broad behind as across eyes (HW across vertex 1.05 mm). Eyes small, with about 22-25 facets, each occupying about 2/3 of an indistinct orbital fossa. Antennal scapes fail to reach posterior borders of «occipital» lobes by about the length of the first funicular segment, or pedicel, which is about 0.17 mm long, distinctly longer than combined funicular segments II + III, which are each almost as broad as long. Apical antenal segment tapered to a very slender, acute point.
Mandibles very short and thick, convex, gradually broadened apicad; shining, finely punctate and sparsely pubescent; inner margins approximately straight, and not excised or sinuate before apex. Apical teeth short; ventral and intercalary teeth subconical, with rounded apices, the ventral tooth slightly longer than the intercalary; dorsal apical (subapical) tooth broad, only slightly longer than broad, and truncate, much as in the Odontamachus rixosusHNS group, or large workers of O. ruficepsHNS, its apex even with that of intercalary tooth.
Antennal fossae rather deep, indistinctly bounded behind, extending to about cephalic midlength. Center of dorsum of head with a conspicuous fossa or narrow impression, perhaps corresponding to the anterior ocellus in the unknown queen of this species. Posteromedian impression of vertex distinct but narrow, round-bottomed, receiving the rather narrow, but rounded, anterior curve of the nuchal carina. «Occipital» lobes very broad, rounded posteriad, with gently convex sides.
Head basically smooth and shining; frontal carinae finely striate, the striation extending caudad and fanning out somewhat, sericeous-opaque, but becoming indistinct a short way beyond the central fossa, and then replaced on the vertex by numerous coarse punctures, crowded, but mostly with narrow, shining interspaces, each puncture bearing a fine, short, appressed or decumbent hair, these collectively forming the fairly conspicuous cephalic pubescence. The rest of the body and appendages mostly bear similar pubescence, especially well developed and dense on gastric dorsum, but it is sparser or absent on underside of head, on center of pronotal disc, on sides of trunk, on coxae and on petiolar node.
Sparse, short, fine standing hairs are also found on mandibular apices, on pronotum, on both upper and lower surfaces of gaster (longer at apex), and a single inconspicuous pair on vertex.
Trunk robust, with broadly convex pronotum having a very short cervix and a fine, raised, transversely reticulate-striolate anterior margin. Mesonotal disc moderately convex in both directions, about 1 1/2 times as broad as long, slightly raised above both pronotum and metanotum, its surface sloping gently caudad; pronotum and mesonotum smooth and shining, with scattered small punctures. Metanotum also convex, subequal in length to mesonotum but only half as wide. It is separated by a distinctly impressed sutural line from mesonotum, and by a deeper and wider saddle from propodeal dorsum; propodeal dorsum short, weakly concave, subequal in length to declivity, into which it rounds as seen from the side; as seen from above, the propodeum is constricted cephalad, the declivity is concave, and the concavity extends cephalad nearly to the metanoto-propodeal suture between blunt, anteriorly-converging ridges that form the dorsolateral margins of the propodeum. Metanotal disc and propodeum transversely striate, very finely in front, but more coarsely behind, especially on declivity. Sides of pronotum, mesopleura and metapleura smooth and shining, except area of metapleural gland and its bulla, which are rugulose. Mesopleura without obliquely transverse suture. Legs weakly to strongly shining, finely punctulate and pubescent, especially toward apices.
Petiolar node strongly axially compressed, cuneiform in side view, with extremely sharp apical rim; as seen from in front, the rim is convex on the sides, entire and rounded above, but with a slight tendency toward flattening at the extreme apex. The anterior slope as seen from the side is feebly sinuate, almost straight, while the posterior slope is weakly convex. Gaster broad and deep, only modestly constricted between first and second segments; second segment slightly longer than first; upper part of anterior face of first gastric segment overhangs receding lower part. Terminal segments of gaster almost wholly retracted into second segment in this specimen, but sting extended.
Legs short and thick, the anterior femora and all 3 pairs of tibiae distinctly incrassate; 2 fine spurs on each mesotibial apex; one large pectinate spur and a smaller spiniform lateral spur on the hind tibial apex.
Color castaneous (dull orange-brown); trunk and legs perhaps a trifle lighter than head and gaster; mandibles darker, more brownish.
Holotype worker (USNM-Washington) a unique intercepted in quarantine at Laredo, Texas, 20 June 1944, "with orchid root" originating at Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico. The Laredo quarantine number is 33930, and the "Lot No." is 44-15848. Queen and male unknown.
, but it is smaller and differs in sculpture, in the sharper apical margin of the petiolar node, and in having smaller eyes. The small size of the eyes invites comparison with A. minansHNS, but minansHNS is a less robust species with even smaller eyes; thicker, apically bicuspid petiolar node; trunk less convex, much as in mayriHNS; and conical subapical mandibular teeth. Also, the mandibles in A. minansHNS are slightly more than half the head length (HL > 50), and the antennal scapes are longer, very slightly overreaching posterior borders of «occipital» lobes as seen in perfect full-face view. A. minansHNS is more extensively and opaquely sculptured on vertex and sides of pronotum and anterior mesopleura, and especially sides of metanotum and propodeum, which are finely and densely reticulo-punctulate. The propodeal teeth of minansHNS, while low and blunt, are m,uch more dentiform than are the rounded «angles» of orchidicolaHNS.
My comparison is based on a specimen of minansHNS taken by myself in rotten wood in rain forest near the bridge over the Rio Toro Amarillo, west of Guapiles, Limon Prov., Costa Rica, in early March 1966. This specimen agrees well with Mann’s description of minansHNS, except for the length of the scapes, which Mann says do not reach the occipital lobe margins. It may be that Mann viewed his specimen from a slightly different position, or did not actually hold the scapes back to the lobes, or perhaps the scape length varies. I have not reviewed the minansHNS holotype recently enough to be sure of this point. The minansHNS type is from Lombardia, Honduras, and the Costa Rican collection is only the second record so far as I know.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 62 times found in montane wet forest, 15 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, isolated peak with oak trees, 5 times found in cloud forest, 4 times found in moist forest, 5 times found in wet forest, 1 times found in moist forest, lower Bajo Tigre trail, 2 times found in mature cloud forest, 1 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, isolated peak with oak forest, pasture nearby, 1 times found in road edge in cloud forest, 1 times found in vegetated karst pinnacle, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 30 times ex sifted leaf litter, 31 times hojarasca, 1 times Sobre vegetacion, 4 times suelo, 3 times under stone, 2 times under epiphytes in treefall, Anochetus scattered workers under epiphy times wet forest, around Guindon cabin. 1530, 1 times under stones, 2 times in rotten wood under epiphytes, 2 times hojarasca suspendida, 2 times detras del refugio, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 31 times Berlese, 25 times Mini Winkler, 12 times search, 8 times MaxiWinkler, 17 times miniWinkler, 7 times Winkler, 2 times flight intercept trap.
Elevations: collected from 740 - 1580 meters, 1138 meters average