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Species: Brachymyrmex cavernicola   Wheeler, 1938 


Classification:
Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2017)

Brachymyrmex cavernicola Wheeler, 1938 PDF: 252 (w.m.) MEXICO. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Distribution:


Neotropical Region: Alajuela, Alta Verapaz, Americas, Atlántida, Central America, Chiapas, Comayagua, Costa Rica, Darién, Ecuador, Gracias a Dios, Guanacaste, Guatemala, Heredia, Honduras, Izabal, Jinotega, Limón, Madre de Dios, Matagalpa, Mexico, Nicaragua, Oaxaca, Panama, Peru, Petén, San José, South America, Veracruz, Yucatán

Distribution Notes:

Mexico (type locality), Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Peñas Blancas, Maritza, Barva transect at 500m, La Selva, Hitoy Cerere.

Biology:

Natural History:

This species occurs in low to mid-elevation wet to moist forest habitats, where it appears to be completely subterranean. I have a few records of workers from Winkler and Berlese samples, but I more often collect it by finding nests under stones and in small galleries in clay soil. I do not know what an entire colony is like, but I did find a dealate queen in one nest.

This is a very atypical Brachymyrmex. The coarse black setae sprouting from the pale orange integument makes for a striking appearance. It looks like a cross between Brachymyrmex and some Paratrechina.

This species was previously known only from the types. The types were collected in Mexico, "in the Balaam Canche Cave, Chichen Itza, under a stone near the mouth." (Wheeler 1938). Wheeler included the species in a paper on cavernicolous ant species, but admitted that the line between truly cavernicolous ants and subterranean ants was not sharp (he referred to subterranean ants as "microcavernicolous"). It is clear that this species is not associated with caves in any special way.

Notes:

I owe the identification of this species to John LaPolla, who compared the images on this page to type material at the USNM.

References:

Wheeler, W. M. 1938. Ants from the caves of Yucatan. Pp. 251-255 in: Pearse, A. S. Fauna of the caves of Yucatan. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Publ. 491:1-304.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 30 times found in tropical moist forest, 23 times found in mature wet forest, 21 times found in montane wet forest, 15 times found in tropical wet forest, 15 times found in 2º wet forest, 9 times found in tropical rainforest, with some big trees, probably a mix of primary and secondary forest, 3 times found in tropical rainforest, 3 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 2 times found in mixed secondary rainforest, 3 times found in wet forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 101 times ex sifted leaf litter, 24 times at bait, 10 times Hojarasca, 2 times moist forest; nest under stone, 1 times ex sifted leaf litter and rotten wood, 1 times nest under stone, 1 times flight intercept trap, 1 times ex soil galleries under stone, 1 times bajo de M/24, 1 times Alrrededor de M/12, 1 times Nest in dead branch on ground., ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 77 times MiniWinkler, 21 times MaxiWinkler, 24 times Baiting, 9 times search, 10 times Mini Winkler, 5 times Berlese, 2 times Winkler, 2 times Malaise, 0 times berlese funnel, 1 times FIT, 1 times flight intercept trap, ...

Elevations: collected from 50 - 1305 meters, 447 meters average

Type specimens:



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