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Species: Atta colombica   Guérin-Méneville, 1844 

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Atta colombica tonsipes

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2016)

Atta colombica Guérin-Méneville, 1844a PDF: 422 (w.) COLOMBIA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Forel, 1913m PDF: 239 (m.); Borgmeier, 1959b PDF: 348 (q.); Wheeler, 1949 PDF: 681 (l.).
Subspecies of Atta lebasii: Emery, 1890c: 55.
of Atta cephalotes: Emery, 1913bb: 258.
Revived status as species: Forel, 1913m PDF: 239; Emery, 1924f: 353.
Senior synonym of Atta lebasii: Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF}: 152; of Atta erecta, Atta tonsipes: Borgmeier, 1959b PDF: 346.


Neotropical Region: Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru

Distribution Notes:

Guatemala to Colombia.


Natural History:

Atta colombica can be locally abundant in Costa Rica but does not have the ubiquity of A. cephalotes. It is common in the southern Pacific lowlands and I have also found it to be common around Volcan Arenal. I have not found it in other parts of Costa Rica where I have collected. Around Sirena in Corcovado National Park both A. colombica and A. cephalotes were abundant when I worked there in the early 1980's.

Atta colombica has conspicuous refuse dumps on the surface, where spent fungus substrate is deposited. These are often large conical mounds off to the side of the main soil mounds. Lines of workers can be seen carrying grayish white pellets from the nest and dropping them from a single high point, such that a regular conical mound forms below. This is in contrast to the behavior of A. cephalotes, which has subterranean refuse dumps.


The spelling of the name as "columbica" in Bolton's catalog is an error (Bolton, pers. com.).

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 3 times found in tropical rainforest, some big trees, 1 times found in road edge in wet forest, 1 times found in farm, 1 times found in rainforest.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 3 times at bait, 1 times nest in soil, 1 times under rock, 1 times ground forager(s), 1 times There have been heavy rains recently, and there must have been an Atta flight., 1 times Tayrona National Park. Dry forest. Strays., 1 times St. 49, Atta battles. A column of A. colombica crossed the trail at st. 49, an, 1 times Secondgrowth forest edge and pasture (just below Tabacón hot springs). Strays on, 1 times OTS field project, Calathea lutea ant fauna, 1 times on mango, 1 times banana plantation, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 4 times search, 3 times baiting, 0 times roadside, 1 times hand collecting, 0 times in bush, 0 times forest floor trail.

Elevations: collected from 10 - 950 meters, 195 meters average

Type specimens: syntype of Atta cephalotes erecta: casent0912490; syntype of Atta columbica tonsipes: casent0912491; type of Atta columbica: focol0675; type of Atta lebasii: focol0674

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