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Throughout Neotropics, from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, Antilles.
Crematogaster curvispinosa is a very common but inconspicuous ant. It is most common in brushy habitats, road edges, young second growth, and other highly disturbed areas. Colonies are small, and there is no evidence of polydomy. They are most often found nesting in narrow gauge dead stems. Nests may occur in dead grass stalks or vine stems that are only 2mm outside diameter. They also occur opportunistically in single chambers of antplants such as Cecropia, Cordia alliodora, Triplaris, and myrmecophytic melostomes.
Colonies are small, a few dozen workers at most. Ergatogynes are common, and the reproductive structure of colonies is variable. Along with workers and brood, I have collected nests that contained (1) no apparent reproductive, (2) one ergatogyne, (3) one physogastric queen, or, in one case, (4) two ergatogynes and one physogastric queen. I have never seen a nest with multiple queens, or multiple ergatogynes in the absence of a queen. In one case I collected a nest with workers, brood, and one ergatogyne and kept it alive in the laboratory for about one year. The colony was not closely monitored or cared for, but sporadic feeding and observations yielded a surprising result. After about two months I found the ergatogyne wandering alone outside the nest tube, and she soon died. What remained in the tube were some adult workers, several large larvae, some queen pupae, and one callow alate queen. There was no worker brood. Several months later there were some adult males in the nest, but my notes are incomplete regarding other contents. Nearly a year from the time of collection the nest contained 14 queens, some with ragged wing stubs but most fully alate, a few workers, and a brood pile. Thus the colony began with an ergatogyne, workers, and brood, went through a bottleneck with only workers and unmated queens (no males), then later reconstituted a colony capable of producing new queens and workers. There were no other nests of curvispinosa in the laboratory, and the laboratory was in the United States, far from the native range of curvispinosa, so contamination from other colonies or access to males from other colonies was not possible. It appears that C. curvispinosa can produce female offspring from only workers and virgin queens. This is similar to SouliŽ's (1960) observation of thelytokous parthenogenesis in C. scutellaris.
Crematogaster curvispinosa can tolerate nesting in close proximity to larger ant species. Twice I have found curvispinosa nesting in the same hollow stem with another ant species, Camponotus in one case and Dolichoderus in another, with the two nests separated by only a narrow sawdust plug. Colonies can occupy single Cecropia internodes that are sandwiched between internodes occupied by Azteca.
Workers appear to forage day and night. Isolated foragers are common on low vegetation, and they are frequent visitors at extrafloral nectaries.
Crematogaster curvispinosa appears relatively uniform over a broad range, usually with no closely related species. Only in Peru have I found what appear to be two morphospecies with the same general habitus as curvispinosa but differing in details of sculpture and pilosity.
|Crematogaster curvispinosa||Longino, J. T., 2003, The Crematogaster (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) of Costa Rica., Zootaxa 151, pp. 1-150: 55-58, (download)||55-58||20256|
|Crematogaster curvispinosa||Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 32, (download)||32||21367|
Found most commonly in these habitats: 37 times found in montane wet forest, 34 times found in tropical moist forest, 29 times found in tropical dry forest, 19 times found in roadside vegetation, 15 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 10 times found in tropical wet forest, 10 times found in 2º wet forest, 10 times found in rainforest, 8 times found in forest, 1 times found in sparsly vegetated habitat, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 47 times beating vegetation, 32 times ex sifted leaf litter, 34 times at bait, 12 times Malaise trap, 10 times on low vegetation, 8 times nest in dead stem, 1 times unshaded tree, 6 times beating veg., 4 times in dead stick, 5 times in Cecropia sapling, 5 times Copa de arbol, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 53 times Beating, 27 times Search, 29 times Fogging, 32 times Malaise, 34 times Baiting, 20 times MiniWinkler, 7 times MaxiWinkler, 5 times sweeping, 8 times Foggin, 6 times Winkler, 6 times direct collection, ...
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1500 meters, 334 meters average
Type specimens: syntype curvispinosa: jtl055924; syntype obscura: jtl055927; syntype of Cremastogaster sculpturata: castype00627; syntype of Crematogaster curvispinosa: casent0902168, casent0919699; syntype of Crematogaster curvispinosa antillana: casent0908411; syntype of Crematogaster curvispinosa kemali: casent0912766; syntype of Crematogaster curvispinosa obscura: casent0912767; syntype of Crematogaster fuliginea: casent0912765; syntype phytoeca: jtl052356, jtl052357; syntypes antillana: jtl055925; syntypes kemali: jtl055926