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Extant: 5 valid subspecies
Mexico (type locality) to northern Argentina. Costa Rica: throughout.
This species can be found in dry forest or wet forest, from sea level to montane areas.
Raiding is always in columns, never in a carpet like E. burchellii. Many of the raiding columns I have observed have been at night, showing a tendency to be nocturnal, but I also encounter columns during the day. The few times I have encountered prey they have been large ponerines in the genera Ectatomma and Pachycondyla.
Borgmeier (1955) described a subspecies panamense from central Panama, based on workers and queen. He differentiated panamense from mexicanum s. str. as follows (my translation): "The soldier differs from mexicanum s. str. by the shorter scapes (1.84mm), shorter funiculus, shorter mandible (3mm) and smaller postpetiole (0.56mm broad posteriorly), and by a well developed anteroventral petiolar tooth (also present on the available minor workers, while it is missing or very short on the workers of mexicanum s. str.)." His key to the queens differentiated the forms as follows:
Petiolar horns with approximately parallel sides, dorsal longitudinal sulcus broad and deep: mexicanum s. str.
Petiolar horns tapered posteriorly, dorsal longitudinal sulcus narrow and shallow: panamense
The degree of development of the anteroventral petiolar tooth is highly variable among the Costa Rica material I have examined, from nearly absent to well developed. I consider panamense a junior synonym of mexicanum until evidence to the contrary.
Central, “Paraguay” (s. loc.) (MCSN, MHNG, MZSP, NHMB, NHMW). Literature records: Cordillera, “Paraguay” (s. loc.) (Borgmeier 1939, Emery 1894a, Forel 1911a).
Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in lowland tropical rain forest, 5 times found in wet forest, 2 times found in moist forest, 3 times found in cloud forest, 2 times found in mature wet forest, 2 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in forest, 3 times found in rainforest, 1 times found in road in montane wet forest, 1 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times foraging column, 3 times column, 2 times column on trail at night, 2 times column on road, 4 times column on ground, Eciton, column crossing sidewalk near comedor, carrying adult teneral wor times 3476, 2 times nocturnal column, 2 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times column at night, 1 times emigration column, 1 times dusk column on trail, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 26 times search, 1 times hand collecting, 6 times Red de golpeo, 3 times direct collection, 1 times miniWinkler, 1 times MaxiWinkler, carrion baited times PF, 1 times Winkler, 1 times blacklight.
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1780 meters, 543 meters average