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Costa Rica south to Paraguay and southeastern Brazil.
From Wild 2007:
This species inhabits a considerable range of forest habitats from sea level to over 2000 meters. Most records are from lowland tropical or subtropical humid forests, but several are from forest edge, 2nd growth, or logged primary forest. Specimens collected in the central Brazilian state of Tocantins are from cerrado or cerrad‹o habitats. Five records are from park or garden habitats, and there are single collections of L. neotropicum from coffee, soy, cacao, banana, and pineapple fields. Six nest records are from soil, two from under stones, one in a rotting log, and one in soil under a rotting log. Soil nests often have several inconspicuous entrances not much larger than the width of a worker ant, with small piles of excavated earth around them (Wild, pers obs.).
Linepithema neotropicum, like most species, appears to be a trophic generalist. Ants have been observed recruiting to tuna, sardine, and honey baits in Colombia, Brazil, and Paraguay. One collection records root-feeding pseudococcids in a soil nest and another documents aphid-tending on vegetation above ground. Middens from a nest in Ecuador contained fragments of dead arthropods including nasute termites and Trachymyrmex ants.
The type series was collected by the author as an entire colony from the shaded north side of a laboratory building in Paraguay at the edge of a humid subtropical semideciduous forest. The colony had scaled the side of the building during the day as if to avoid a subterranean army ant predator (Gotwald 1995, pg 229), although no army ants were seen. The full colony consisted of 1022 worker ants, one dealate queen, 28 alate queens, 30 males, and 82 additional male pupae.
Alate males and females were observed flying to a fluorescent light in mid November at the Mbaracayœ Reserve in Paraguay, between 21:00 and 23:00hr on a warm evening after two days of rain. Alate females have been taken in nests in November in Paraguay, alate males have been recorded from nests in Ecuador in December, and alate males and females have been collected in pan traps and in low vegetation in Rond™nia, Brazil in November and December.
In Costa Rica, this species is relatively common in the Central Valley, in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas. JTL collected it in a small city park (Parque Nacional) in the heart of the capitol city, San JosŽ. It has also been taken at baits in the lowland rainforests of La Selva Biological Station, and on low vegetation in the San Luis valley south of Monteverde. The La Selva collection is peculiar. Workers were at a bait on the ground along one of the trails (CES) in mature forest near the laboratory clearing. The collection is peculiar because La Selva has been surveyed intensively for ants for over a decade (Longino et al. 2002) and this is the only La Selva record of this species so far.
Gotwald, W. H., Jr. 1995. Army ants: the biology of social predation. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, xviii + 302 pp.
Longino, J. T., R. K. Colwell, and J. A. Coddington. 2002. The ant fauna of a tropical rainforest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83:689-702.
Wild, A. L. 2007. Taxonomic Revision of the Ant Genus Linepithema (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, USA.
Alto Paraná, Canindeyú (ALWC, BMNH, CASC, IFML, INBP, JTLC, MCZC, MHNG, MZSP, NHMB, PSWC, QCAZ, UCDC, USNM, WPMC). Literature records: Alto Paraná, Canindeyú (Wild 2007).
Found most commonly in these habitats: 0 times found in Semideciduous seasonal forest, 0 times found in Yard in the urban area, 1 times found in coffee farms vic. Heredia, 1 times found in humid sub-tropical tall forest edge, 4 times found in bosque alto, 3 times found in cultivated habitat, 2 times found in 2nd growth forest, 1 times found in moist forest and second growth veg., 1 times found in park/garden, 2 times found in rainforest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times ground foragers, 2 times forest trail, 1 times column on trunk, 2 times assorted stray and foraging ants, 0 times Pasture, 2 times on low vegetation, 0 times In Syntermes nest, 1 times ground and vegetation foragers, 1 times goat pasture, 1 times foragers, 1 times Ex horjarasca, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 4 times search, 4 times sweeping, 3 times in beatings, 0 times Manual sampling, 1 times Malaise, 1 times mostly beating vegetation, some hand collections from tree trunk, 1 times Night collections, about 2200 hr., 1 times Parque Nacional, municipal park, 1 times Past nightfall- dar, 1 times bait, 1 times pitfall, ...
Elevations: collected from 50 - 2340 meters, 947 meters average