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Species: Anochetus mayri   Emery, 1884 

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See Also:

Anochetus mayri laeviusculus, Anochetus mayri nobilis

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2015)

Anochetus mayri Emery, 1884a PDF: 378 (diagnosis in key) (w.) ANTILLES IS. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Senior synonym of Anochetus laeviusculus: Brown, 1978c}: 557 (see also p. 617).


Anochetus mayri is native to the Neotropics, where it is widespread across the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The species is introduced in Florida, and is the only member of its genus known to have become successfully established outside of its native range. This small and presumably predaceous trap-jaw species is most often found in leaf litter, and is recognized by its long linear mandibles, single waist segment and bicuspidate petiolar node. This latter character, along with its much smaller size and lack of a nuchal carinae, easily allow A. mayri to be distinguished by its sister genus, Odontomachus. While it may be capable of stinging humans, the species is not aggressive or strongly defensive, and is unlikely to become a significant economic pest or have significant impacts on the native fauna. 


Native Range. Veracruz lowlands of Mexico through Central America and the West Indies to hylean South America, at least as far south as the Beni River drainage of Bolivia, and on the west slope of the Andes to southern Ecuador (Brown 1978). Costa Rica: wet forest in Atlantic lowlands to 800m elevation.

Introduced Range. USA Florida: Homestead (Dade Co.); south Miami (Dade Co.); West Palm Beach (Palm Beach Co.).


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Anochetus mayri was placed together with A. neglectus and A. minas into the A. mayri-group by Brown (1978), which he described as small species with squamiform, emarginate or bicuspidate petiolar nodes. Brown commented that the high variability of A. mayri with respect to body size, eye size, antennal scape length, color and sculpture, as well as size and details of form and dentition of the mandibles, raises the suspicion that A. mayri may include two or more sibling species. Brown therefore adopted the convention of referring to the A. mayri complex.

A native to the Neotropics, A. mayri is widespread across the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The species was first reported from Dade County, Florida in 1987 (Deyrup et al., 2000) based on a single dealate queen. As of 2002, A. mayri was found to be thriving at a site in Palm Beach County, where it was found together with many other introduced ants species throughout leaf litter samples taken at the bases of pines and oaks (Deyrup, 2002). The species appears to be confined to disturbed habitats in its introduced range, where it forages in subterranean microhabitats for prey. Deyrup (2002) reports that while it may be capable of stinging humans, the species is not aggressive or strongly defensive, and is unlikely to become a significant economic pest or have significant impacts on the native fauna.

Brown (1978) reported A. mayri as being found mostly in forests under stones, in moss on rocks or logs, in rotten twigs on the forest floor, or in larger bodies of rotten wood. He also observed that the workers and queen feign death, and are difficult to see.

From Jack Longino (Ants of Costa Rica)
Anochetus are presumably predators, using their snapping mandibles much like their larger relatives, Odontomachus. However, there are few direct observations. "A. mayri is found mostly in forests under stones, in moss on rocks or logs, in rotten twigs on the forest floor, or in larger bodies of rotten wood. The workers and queen feign death, and are difficult to see (Brown 1978)." There appear to be two distinct forms in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica, one of which may be more arboreal.


Diagnosis among introduced species
Antenna 12-segmented. Eyes large and situated distinctly below midline of head. Posterior margin of head uninterrupted by median longitudinal groove. Frontal lobes present. Clypeus with anterior margin flat to convex, but never forming a distinct triangle that projects anteriorly beyond the base of the mandibles. Mandibles linear, inserted towards the middle of the anterior head margin, armed with apical fork. Waist 1-segmented. Petiole narrowly attached to gaster and with a conspicuous posterior face. Petiolar node bicuspidate, excised medially to form a pair of dorsolateral spines. Gaster armed with sting. Dark brown to yellowish-brown.

Taxonomic Notes:

Anochetus mayri was first proposed in a key, without a proper description, from a specimen from St. Thomas in the West Indies (Brown, 1978). It was never described in full by Emery. 


Brown, W. L., Jr. 1978. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section B. Genus Anochetus and bibliography. Studia Entomol. 20:549-652.

Emery, C. 1884. Materiali per lo studio della fauna Tunisia raccolti da G. e L. Doria. III. Rassegna delle formiche della Tunisia. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova (2)1:373-386.

Deyrup, M. (2002) The exotic ant Anochetus mayri in Florida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomol., 85, 658-659.

Deyrup, M. (2003) An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomol., 86, 43-48.

Deyrup, M., Davis, L. & Cover, S. (2000) Exotic ants in Florida. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc., 126, 293-326.

Deyrup, M., Johnson, C., Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. (1989) A preliminary list of the ants of Florida. Florida Entomol., 72, 91-101.

Taxon Page Author History

On 2012-05-24 13:27:51 Eli Sarnat modified Taxonomic Notes
On 2012-05-24 13:20:38 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-05-24 13:13:55 Eli Sarnat modified Identification

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Forel, A., 1893:
(No. 29 a a 29 f). [[ worker ]] [[ queen ]].
(29). Rather rare below 1500 ft., forming small colonies (three or four to twelve) under stones or sod, generally in shady places. The ants are sluggish.
(29 a). Lot 14. Estate (windward), 500 ft. April 5 th. Shady glen near a stream; under decayiag leaves on a rock ..
(29 b). Wallilobo Valley (leeward), 500 ft.; shady place, at the roots of sod on a rock. Nov. 8 th.. From two nests; the larger had about twelve ants.
(29 c). Forest above Chateaubelais (leeward), 1000 ft.; under a stone. A single specimen with one egg. Oct. 11 th.
(29 d). Bowwood Valley, near Kingstown, 800 ft. Oct. 21 st. Open hill-side, under a stone.
(29 e). Petit Bordelle Valley, 1200 ft. Nov. 13 th. Under sod on a rock. Apparently there were several small chambers connected by passages, the whole extending about one foot; fifteen or twenty ants occupied each chamber, and in one were about twenty yellow pupae.
(29 f). Richmond Valley; forest, 1100 ft. Dec. 29 th. Under fallen flowers.

Forel, A., 1905:
- La Moka,

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 53 times found in tropical wet forest, 42 times found in mature wet forest, 36 times found in tropical rainforest, 32 times found in tropical moist forest, 25 times found in 2º wet forest, 22 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 21 times found in montane wet forest, 21 times found in 2º lowland tropical rainforest, 20 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 16 times found in lowland wet forest, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 203 times MiniWinkler, 59 times Winkler, 68 times MaxiWinkler, 44 times Malaise, 4 times search, 5 times Berlese, 1 times Pan Trap, 1 times baiting, 1 times Flight Intercept Trap, 1 times general collecting

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1360 meters, 435 meters average

Type specimens: syntype of Anochetus mayri: casent0902434, casent0903987

(-1 examples)

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