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Costa Rica (type locality), Panama. Costa Rica: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands.
Figure 1. Typical nest of Apterostigma collare beneath understory palm leaf. Click here for additional images of nests.
Apterostigma collare occurs in lowland wet forest and is the most conspicuous and frequently encountered species of Apterostigma. Nests are suspended from low vegetation, most often on the undersides of leaves, under low branches, or on trunks (fig. 1). The nest is a small mass of substrate and fungus covered with a delicate white sack. The sack is itself composed of fungal hyphae, and workers move in and out of the sack through a single entrance hole. Nests are usually 2-3cm long and 1cm high. Individual nests usually contain fewer than a dozen workers, and may or may not contain a queen. Nests are restricted to permanently humid, strongly shaded forest understory, often near streams.
Of several whole colonies I have collected, the largest contained 25 adult workers, 4 dealate queens, 14 alate queens, 10 pupae, and 5 large larvae. The smallest contained just a single worker. On several occasions I have collected nests with workers only. I do not know if colonies can establish with just workers, or if queens may be out foraging when the nest is collected. I examined two whole nest samples from Corcovado National Park on the Pacific side of Costa Rica and both were polygynous. In contrast, seven whole colonies from Atlantic slope forests were all monogynous or lacked queens.
At Refugio Eladio in the Pe–as Blancas Valley I found a particularly large nest, 10x7cm, on the underside of a leaf. While collecting some workers I nearly destroyed it, removing most of the hyphal envelope. I returned 45 days later and the nest had been rebuilt and looked just like it did before.
The small nests of A. collare are often quite abundant, and multiple nests can often be found within 1m of each other. Singer and Espelie (1998) investigated nestmate recognition and nest material recognition by workers and found that each nest was probably an independent colony. Workers rejected non-nestmates and foreign nest material, regardless of how far apart the nests were.
Forsyth (1981) and Black (1987) published reports on the biology of Apterostigma inhabiting exposed white fungus nests. The taxonomic understanding was such that collare, robustum, and dentigerum were probably not distinguished.
The species is redescribed by Lattke (1997).
Black, R. W. 1987. The biology of leaf nesting ants in a tropical wet forest. Biotropica 19:319-325.
Emery, C. 1896. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. XVII-XXV. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 28:33-107.
Forsyth, A. 1981. Sex ratio and parental investment in an ant population. Evolution 35:1252-1253.
Lattke, J. E. 1997. Revisi—n del gŽnero Apterostigma Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Arq. Zool. (S‹o Paulo) 34:121-221.
Singer, T. L., and K. E. Espelie. 1998. Nest and nestmate recognition by a fungus-growing ant, Apterostigma collare Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ethology 104:929-939.
[[ worker ]] E molto affine all' A. pilosum MayrHNS, e da considerarsi forse piuttosto come razza geografica del medesimo. Scultura come nell' A. pilosumHNS, i peli piu lunghi e piu staccati. Il capo e jneno allimgato che nella specie brasiliana, prolungato indietro in un collo piu stretto, piu lungo, e distintamente dilatato ad imbuto. Le antenne sono piu gracili, lo scapo meno grosso, gli articoli 2 - 7 del flagello distintamente piu lunghi che grossi. Il torace e conformato quasi come nell' A. pilosumHNS; il peduncolo un poco piu gracile, ma della stessa forma; Le zampe piu lunghe e gracili — L. 4 2 / 3 mm.; femore post, 2 mm.
[[ queen ]] Le differenze rispetto alla [[ queen ]] dell' A. pilosumHNS sono ancora piu sensibili: tutto il corpo e piu gracile, il capo poco piu allungato, ma prolungato posteriormente in un collo molto piu stretto e fortemente dilatato ad imbuto. Il torace e molto piu stretto, piu di 2 volte lungo quanto g largo; lo scutello profundamente inciso ad arco, e prolungato in due punte molto sporgenti. Il peduncolo e molto piu gracile che nell' A. pilosumHNS [[ queen ]], quasi come nella [[ worker ]] di questa specie, poco meno che nella [[ worker ]] della nuova specie. Del resto e simile alla [[ worker ]] L. 5 mm.
Suerre presso Jimenez, Costa Rica. Una [[ worker ]] e una [[ queen ]]. — Non e inverosimile che questa specie sia identica all' A. scutellareHNS For. di cui e noto il solo [[ male ]], proveniente dal Messico.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 47 times found in montane wet forest, 17 times found in lowland rainforest, 15 times found in mature wet forest, 1 times found in Forest, 5 times found in wet forest, 5 times found in tropical rainforest, 1 times found in tall wet forest, 2 times found in Primary wet forest, 3 times found in tropical rainforest, old second growth, 1 times found in riparian wet forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 30 times Sobre Vegetacion, 20 times ex sifted leaf litter, 13 times beating veg., 10 times whole nest sample, 9 times Hojarasca, 1 times rotting log, 4 times beating vegetation, 4 times strays, 2 times nest under palm leaf, 1 times fungus garden under leaf, 3 times copa de árbol, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 36 times search, 30 times Sweeping, 26 times Fogging, 17 times Beating, 18 times MiniWinkler, 9 times Mini Winkler, 8 times Malaise, 2 times Winkler, 1 times flight intercept trap, 1 times maxiWinkler, 1 times Observation, ...
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1100 meters, 280 meters average