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Nicaragua to Bolivia, Brazil.
Crematogaster nigropilosa occurs in a wide variety of habitats and elevations, with the exception of extremely dry areas. It is common in low to mid elevation rainforests, and may be found in moist microhabitats in seasonally dry areas. Although most abundant at low to middle elevations, it also can occur at high elevation cloud forest sites where virtually no other ants are found. I collected a worker in a Winkler sample at 2400m elevation on Volcan Barva in Costa Rica, and Peck collected the species at 2600m in Chiriqu’ province, Panama.
Nests are often in soft bits of dead wood or small hollow plant stems. The nests are usually on the forest floor or within a few meters of the forest floor in shaded areas and understory. I have also seen nests in rotten stumps, in chambers in rotting walls of abandoned houses in rainforest, and occasionally in internodes of Cecropia saplings. Nests contain a worker population ranging from a few dozen to about 300. Ergatogynes are very common. Nests exhibit a range of reproductive structures. Some have a standard complement of workers, brood, and one colony queen. Others have the colony queen plus one or more ergatogynes. An example is a colony I collected in its entirety from two adjacent internodes of a Cecropia sapling. The colony contained one dealate queen, 28 alate queens, 11 adult males, 13 ergatogynes, 324 workers, and brood. Nests may be queenless, containing only workers, brood, and one or more ergatogynes. Often these queenless nests appear to be the only nest in the vicinity, with no indication of being part of a polydomous colony. Although most of the nests I have observed have been monogynous or lacking a queen, one nest collection from Venezuela was polygynous. A lab colony kept for about one year was comprised of workers and one ergatogyne. The colony continually produced males as the worker population gradually declined to extinction. Thus a queenless colony fragment is at least able to produce males.
Foragers may be found day or night. They occur on extrafloral nectaries and have been taken at tuna baits on the ground.
|Crematogaster nigropilosa||Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 32, (download)||32||21367|
|Crematogaster nigropilosa||Longino, J. T., 2003, The Crematogaster (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) of Costa Rica., Zootaxa 151, pp. 1-150: 94-97, (download)||94-97||20256|
Found most commonly in these habitats: 158 times found in montane wet forest, 39 times found in cloud forest, disturbed, near road, pasture, 33 times found in mature wet forest, 24 times found in riparian forest, cloud forest along stream, near dairy farm pasture, 2nd growth or disturbed primary, 24 times found in mesophil forest, 20 times found in tropical wet forest, 20 times found in cloud forest, 19 times found in tropical rainforest, 15 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 13 times found in rainforest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 133 times ex sifted leaf litter, 93 times at bait, 57 times Sobre Vegetacion, 50 times beating vegetation, 18 times Hojarasca, 13 times beating veg., 6 times on low vegetation, 7 times Malaise trap, 2 times ex Cecropia, 4 times Sura, 4 times sifted litter, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 103 times MiniWinkler, 92 times Baiting, 58 times Sweeping, 63 times Beating, 51 times Malaise, 27 times search, 27 times MaxiWinkler, 18 times Mini Winkler, 12 times Winkler, 13 times flight intercept trap, 4 times Pan Trap, ...
Elevations: collected from 5 - 3400 meters, 799 meters average