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Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica (Brand‹o 1990, 2003). Costa Rica: scattered records from wet forest sites throughout the country.
Specimens from Colombia bear labels "Cacao - associated with membracids Horiola picta (Coquebert)," and "arboles de cacao" (reported in Brandao 1990).
These large, conspicuous ants do not appear to be common in Costa Rica. I collected foreli several times in the San Vito area, and several times in Corcovado National Park. At San Vito, I encountered them as workers on the ground, during nocturnal collecting. In Corcovado, I encountered them in the hilly interior parts of the park, and not around Sirena on the coast. Workers occurred on the ground or on low vegetation. I once observed 15 workers together on one Costus inflorescence.
I observed a colony at the El Ceibo site on the Barva Transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park. It was in the understory of mature wet forest at night. I saw active workers on a large liana stem and discovered that there were cavities in the stem. I saw two entrance holes in the liana, with workers visible inside, and another entrance hole in the ground at the side of the liana where it was lying on the ground. The workers were aggressive, readily attacking my fingers when disturbed.
One of the upper entrance holes was concealed by a small aroid with basket roots. There was carton construction around the aroid roots, I assume made by the Megalomyrmex. The aroid also covered two giant margarodids. I sent the margarodids to Penny Gulan and she wrote "I mounted one of those 2 margarodids and, believe it or not, they are immature females (3rd instar). The one I mounted had pharate adult cuticle inside but not good enough to ID. However I can tell you that the species is a member of the subfamily Monophlebinae, probably tribe Llaveiini. There are several genera of this tribe in the Neotropics, but all poorly known. I'd be very interested in adult females and crawlers if you ever get a chance to collect more specimens."
Jones et al. (1999) studied the venom alkaloids of M. foreli (= M. latreillei) workers collected in Ecuador.
Brand‹o, C. R. F. 1990. Systematic revision of the neotropical ant genus Megalomyrmex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae), with the description of thirteen new species. Arquivos de Zoologia, S‹o Paulo 31:411-481.
Brand‹o, C. R. F. 2003. Further revisionary studies on the ant genus Megalomyrmex Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Solenopsidini. PapŽis Avulsos de Zoologia 43:145-159.
Jones, T. H., T. J. Wojciechowski, R. R. Snelling, J. A. Torres, P. Chacon, and P. J. DeVries. 1999. Dialkylpyrrolidines from the ants Megalomyrmex cyendyra Brandao and M. latreillei Emery. CaribbeanJournal of Science 35:310-311.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 11 times found in montane wet forest, 11 times found in mature rainforest, edge of forest near pasture and agricultural land, steep rocky terrain, 5 times found in cloud forest, primary, near ridgetop, 4 times found in mature cloud forest, 4 times found in cloud forest, primary, along steep ridge near peak, 2 times found in wet forest, 1 times found in cloud forest, primary, treefall gap near peak, 1 times found in cloud forest, primary, treefall gap near ridgetop, 1 times found in moist forest, river edge, 1 times found in mature wet forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 8 times ex pan trap, 11 times at bait, 10 times ex sifted leaf litter, 2 times Malaise trap, 1 times nest in ground & liana stem, 1 times Moist forest. Night collecting along trail to river. Aggregation of workers unde, 1 times foragers on rocks, 1 times foragers, 1 times edge Rio Peje, 1 times beating veg., 1 times at light, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 9 times search, 11 times baiting, 8 times pan trap, 9 times miniWinkler, 3 times Malaise, 1 times Sweeping, 1 times beating, 1 times maxiWinkler, 1 times pan traps.
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1200 meters, 807 meters average
Type specimens: Holotype of Megalomyrmex latreillei: casent0904610; Lectotype foreli: jtl055986; Lectotype of Megalomyrmex foreli: casent0904608; paralectotype of Megalomyrmex foreli: casent0902330; type of Megalomyrmex foreli: focol1757