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Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia. Costa Rica: common in Pacific lowlands, from the Osa Peninsula to Guanacaste Province; rare in the Atlantic lowlands.
This species prefers open, sunny habitats, including the high canopy of rainforest, secondgrowth vegetation, and isolated trees in pastures and around dwellings. It is a relatively common species, and conspicuous due to its color pattern. I most often encounter it on treetrunks and in treefalls. In spite of its commonness, I have only seen nests once. I was collecting in a canopy Ficus, and I found many nests in live branches. The nests were in the very tips of the branches, with inside diameters 5-8mm, outside diameters 15-20mm. The nest chambers were irregular, as though excavated by the ants and not preformed by the plant. Workers were very abundant in the crown of the tree, suggesting a large, polydomous colony with nests in many branches.
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.
Fabricius, J. C. 1804. Systema Piezatorum secundum ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Brunswick: C. Reichard, xiv + 15-439 + 30 pp.
Kempf, W. W. 1958. New studies of the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. (n.s.)1:1-168.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in wet forest, 3 times found in roadside vegetation, 3 times found in lowland rainforest, 2 times found in Rainforest, 1 times found in roadside edge, 1 times found in 2nd growth rainforest, 1 times found in suburban park, 1 times found in 2nd growth vegetation, 1 times found in synanthropic, 1 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times ex live stems Ficus, 3 times strays, 2 times beating vegetation, 1 times on tree trunk, 1 times fresh treefall, 1 times forest Hisbiscus flowers, 1 times foraging on tree fall, 1 times foraging on tree, 1 times foragers on treefall, 1 times foragers on tree trunk, strays on treetrunks near main house; beach edge. times 3435-s, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 10 times search, 4 times direct collection, 2 times Beating, 1 times Malaise, 1 times Manual sampling, 1 times observation.
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1760 meters, 230 meters average