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Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil. Costa Rica: Turrialba (type locality), Penas Blancas, Pitilla, Barva Transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park.
Several species of Megalomyrmex, including miri, silvestrii, symmetochus, and mondabora are specialized associates of small attines (Wheeler 1925, Kempf and Brown 1968, Brandao 1990, Adams et al. 2000, Adams and Longino 2007). Adams and Longino (2007) reported on the biology of Megalomyrmex mondabora. Most observations have been of M. mondabora nesting in the carton nests of Cyphomyrmex cornutus. Colonies of up to 260 Megalomyrmex workers occur in chambers in close proximity to the chambers of the Cyphomyrmex. Two colonies examined in their entirety by Adams were monogynous. Adams established small subcolonies with M. mondabora and C. cornutus and observed that the Megalomyrmex consume both the larvae and the fungus of Cyphomyrmex. The Cyphomyrmex workers appear to be submissive when contacted by Megalomyrmex workers.
Other material identified as M. mondabora has been collected with other attines. The types of M. mondabora, collected by W. L. Brown Jr., were found associated with workers of an unidentified Apterostigma (reported in Brandao 1990). Adams has collected M. mondabora with C. salvini, C. costatus, and Apterostigma goniodes (Adams and Longino 2007). There is variation in the size of M. mondabora, and the variation parallels the size of their hosts (Adams and Longino 2007) (Figure 1). Workers from smaller hosts are themselves smaller.
Figure 1. Head width versus head length for collections of Megalomyrmex mondabora. "c": host = Cyphomyrmex cornutus (one of the specimens is JTLC000001521 in Images above). "h": M. mondabora holotype, measurements from published description, host = Apterostigma. "hi": M. mondabora holotype, measurements from Automontage image. "g": host = Apterostigma goniodes (one of the specimens is HF010330-50 in Additional Images above). "s": host = C. costatus (specimen CC011025-02 in Additional Images above).
Adams, R. M. M., and J. T. Longino. 2007. Nesting biology of the arboreal fungus-growing ant Cyphomyrmex cornutus and behavioral interactions with the social-parasitic ant Megalomyrmex mondabora. Insectes Sociaux 54:136-143.
Adams, R. M. M., U. G. Mueller, T. R. Schultz, and B. Norden. 2000. Agro-predation: usurpation of attine fungus gardens by Megalomyrmex ants. Naturwissenschaften 87:549-554.
Brandao, 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 (Sao Paulo) 31:411-481.
Kempf, W. W., Brown, W. L., Jr. 1968. Report on some Neotropical ant studies. Papeis Avulsos Zool. 22:89-102.
Wheeler, W. M. 1925. A new guest-ant and other new Formicidae from Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Biol. Bull. Mar. Biol. Lab., Woods Hole 49:150-181.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 7 times found in wet forest, 2 times found in mature wet forest, 1 times found in clearing edge in mature wet forest, 1 times found in ridgetop cloud forest.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times ex suspended carton nest of accreted soil, 4 times arboreal accreted soil nest, 1 times in carton nest, 2 times ex nest Cyphomyrmex cornutus, 1 times nocturnal, on log, 1 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times beating vegetation.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 3 times Search, 1 times miniWinkler, 1 times Beating.
Elevations: collected from 300 - 1170 meters, 630 meters average
Type specimens: holotype mondabora: mcz35466