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Species: Gnamptogenys sulcata   (Smith, 1858) 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2017)

Ponera sulcata Smith, 1858a PDF: 99 (w.) BRAZIL. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Forel, 1899B: 8 (q.m.).
Combination in Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys): Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 26; Emery, 1896g PDF: 51; in Gnamptogenys: Mayr, 1886c PDF: 358; Brown, 1958g PDF: 229.
Senior synonym of Gnamptogenys cearensis, Gnamptogenys lineata, Gnamptogenys nitens, Gnamptogenys ypirangensis: Brown, 1958g PDF: 229; of Gnamptogenys tornata: Lattke, 1995 PDF: 188.


Neotropical Region: Amazonas, Amazonas, Americas, Aragua, Atlántida, Belize, Bocas del Toro, Bolivia, Brazil, Ceará, Central America, Colombia, Colón, Cortés, Costa Caribe Norte, Costa Rica, Distrito Federal, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Heredia, Honduras, Limón, Magdalena, Matagalpa, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Presidente Hayes, Puntarenas, Santa Cruz, South America, Suriname, Valle del Cauca, Venezuela, Veracruz

Distribution Notes:

Mexico to tropical South America (Lattke 1995). Costa Rica: La Selva and Osa Peninsula.


This species inhabits lowland rainforest, and is known from isolated workers, usually encountered in fresh treefalls or Malaise traps. Relative to the morphologically similar G. tornata, it appears to be more arboreal. In contrast to G. tornata, G. sulcata is rarely collected in Winkler samples.


Promesonotal suture absent; scapes surpass margin of vertex when laid back; mandibles smoothly curving such that basal and apical margins form a continuous convexity; head in back of antennal insertions black or nearly so; mandibles straw yellow, contrasting sharply with black of cranium; mesosoma, node and gaster varying from black to yellowish-red; eyes relatively large and elongate (eye length = 0.36, width = 0.23, n=2 workers).


Over the full geographic range it is difficult to separate G. sulcata and G. tornata into two discrete forms, which led Lattke to synonymize them. However, at this point DNA barcoding is confirming that in Central America there are two broadly sympatric species. Gnamptogenys sulcata always has strongly contrasting ivory-colored mandibles that contrast with the dark face, and the eyes are relatively larger and more elongate. Gnamptogenys tornata is highly variable in color but never seems to have ivory-colored mandibles, and the eye is smaller and less elongate. Measurements are needed to confirm this, but it looks pretty consistent when I looked through a few dozen collections from throughout Central America.


Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 118:175-362.

Gentry, A. H. 1990. Herbarium taxonomy versus field knowledge; is there an attainable solution? Flora Malesiana Bulletin Special Volume 1:31-35.

Lattke, J. E. 1995. Revision of the ant genus Gnamptogenys in the New World (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 4:137-193.

Smith, F. 1858. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the British Museum. VI. Formicidae. 216pp., 14 pls.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55

sulcata (F. SmithHNS 1858).

Central, Guairá, Misiones, Pte. Hayes (ALWC, IFML, INBP).

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 3 times found in lowland tropical rain forest, 3 times found in rainforest, 3 times found in tropical wet forest, 2 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in 2nd growth veg., 1 times found in STR 2050, 1 times found in 2º tropical rainforest, 0 times found in Tropical hardwood forest, 1 times found in cerrado, 0 times found in Tropical rain forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 5 times Malaise trap, 2 times stray foragers, 2 times beating vegetation, 2 times on low vegetation, 1 times foragers on ground, 1 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times beating veg., 1 times strays, 1 times ground forager(s), 1 times Foraging ants.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 7 times Malaise, 3 times hand collecting, 3 times beating, 3 times Search, 1 times Berlese, decaying palm fruit stalk & sub-litter on ground, 1 times Flight intercept pan trap, 0 times on garden path, 1 times Winkler.

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1260 meters, 348 meters average

Type specimens: syntype of Ectatomma sulcatum cearensis: casent0907190; syntype of Gnamptogenys lineata: casent0915918; syntype of Gnamptogenys sulcata: casent0900550; syntype of Ponera tornata: casent0915919; type of Ponera tornata: focol0880, focol0881, focol0882

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