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Mexico to Panama, Colombia?, Ecuador. Costa Rica: lowland wet and moist forest sites throughout the country.
This species is commonly encountered as workers in recent treefalls or canopy fogging samples from mature rainforest. It can nest in either live or dead branches. I have the following nest collections:
Whole branch sample from canopy of Vochysia ferruginea. A nest occurred in a 1-5cm diameter dead stick, in a 50cm long chamber.
Pasture edge/primary forest. Nest in two internodes of Cecropia insignis sapling.
A 2m section of bare, dead branch had recently fallen from the canopy. I found various ant nests in different parts of the branch, including a C. basalis nest.
Recent treefall; C. basalis workers abundant; an extensive colony occupied the live stems of a bignoniaceous vine tangle; there were many large round entrance holes.
Carapa guianensis felled one day previously; tree was somewhat isolated in low second growth vegetation; C. basalis was nesting in a cavity in a 5cm diameter live branch of the Carapa tree.
Andrade, M. L. de, and C. Baroni Urbani. 1999. Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Palaontologie) 271:1-889.
Emery, C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 22:38-80.
Kempf, W. W. 1951. A taxonomic study on the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 22:1-244.
Smith, F. 1876. Descriptions of new species of Cryptoceridae, belonging to the genera Cryptocerus, Meranoplus, and Cataulacus. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1876:603-612.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 17 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in Pasture edge/primary forest, 3 times found in wet forest, 2 times found in SURA 850M, 3 times found in CCL 840M, 1 times found in STR, 2 times found in rainforest edge, 3 times found in SSO 350m, 1 times found in edge pasture/trop. wet forest, 1 times found in Entre el SHO y SSE, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times in Cecropia insignis sapling, 4 times beating vegetation, 2 times strays, 3 times Sobre Vegetacion, 1 times nest in dead stick in canopy, 3 times in fresh treefall, 1 times in dead branch, 3 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times canopy fogging of Inga leiocalycina (Fabaceae), 1 times on tree, 1 times on Calophyllum tree-fall, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 38 times fogging, 18 times Search, 14 times Malaise, 5 times Beating, 3 times Sweeping, 2 times Foggin, 2 times Foraging on tree, 1 times hand collecting, 2 times miniWinkler, 1 times maxiWinkler.
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1240 meters, 242 meters average