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Species: Dolichoderus validus   (Kempf, 1959) 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2016)

Monacis validus Kempf, 1959c: 244, pl. 1, fig. 5; pl. 2, fig. 9; pl. 3, fig. 7; pl. 5, fig. 4 (w.q.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

MacKay, 1993b PDF: 104 (m).
Combination in Dolichoderus: Shattuck, 1992c PDF: 77.


Neotropical Region: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. Costa Rica: Atlantic lowlands. It has a parapatric distribution with D. curvilobus, which occurs in the Pacific lowlands and two mid-elevation Atlantic slope sites.


Natural History:

From MacKay 1993:

Swain (1977) reported extensively on the biology of this species. Nests are completely different than those of D. bispinosus. They are arboreal, 1.5 - 6 meters above the surface, constructed of coarse plant fibers (3 cm long) woven together like burlap. These ants apparently never nest in termite nests. They build shelters to enclose membracids. This species is probably monogynous; a nest contained 2,200 workers. They are aggressive when defending the nest. Nectar is the principal food source. They tend membracids and coccids, and visit extrafloral nectaries of plants including Inga edulis. They also collect bird droppings, insect fragments, seeds and unidentified material. They have a crepuscular foraging rhythm. Flights occur at dawn.[MacKay Literature Cited]

At La Selva Biological Station Phil DeVries found a large carton nest suspended from the thin branches of Rinorea (Violac.) tree. I collected the entire nest into a plastic bag, which was no easy task because these ants are incredibly aggressive. I placed the nest in a freezer for a day and then dissected it. In addition to workers and brood there were many males and alate queens. I never found the colony queen but the dissection was cursory enough that she could have been lost among the debris. The center of the nest contained what appeared to be an old euglossine bee tube. I encountered many tiny white cocoons in the nest, scattered and attached to the carton. One contained an adult beetle, but I have not succeeded in identifying it. I saw no other inquilines. I estimated the colony size to be 11800 workers, based on the wet weight of the entire sample, and weights of 10 subsamples for which number of ants was counted.

Images of nest (click here). Images of another very similar nest can be found under curvilobus.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 2 times found in Sura 700m, 6 times found in montane wet forest, 3 times found in wet forest, 2 times found in mature wet forest, 3 times found in tropical wet forest, 2 times found in SCH, 2 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 1 times found in La Selva, 1 times found in lowland wet forest, 1 times found in rainforest stream edge, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times Near junction CES and CEN trails. Large carton nest suspended from thin branches, 4 times Sobre Vegetacion, 4 times at bait, 3 times beating vegetation, 1 times Primary forest at river edge. Nest exactly like D. validus nest; workers scatter, 2 times foragers, 1 times Solanum adherens foliage, 1 times Primary forest at river edge. Strays. Rogeria all walking on a small tree I diss, 1 times ex carton nest, 2 times bajo de M/26, 1 times Walked up the Surá from the bridge just past the arboretum to LOC. Abundant in o, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 2 times Fogging, 5 times search, 4 times baiting, 4 times Malaise, 4 times Sweeping, 3 times beating, 3 times flight intercept trap, 2 times Blacklight.

Elevations: collected from 30 - 730 meters, 154 meters average

Type specimens:

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