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Costa Rica. In Costa Rica it occurs above 500m elevation in wet forest habitats of the Cordillera Volc‡nica Central, Cordillera de Tilar‡n, and Cordillera de Guanacaste.
This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats from 500-1100m elevation, where it nests in live stems of understory Lauraceae and Meliaceae. It has a biology similar to M. flavocotea but is more generalized in its host use. At Refugio Eladio in the Pe–as Blancas Valley it occurs in Ocotea dendrodaphne, O. atirrensis, O. tenera, and the undescribed species of Guarea that is the host for M. flavoguarea. Cerro Pedregal, across from Estaci—n Cacao in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, has a patch of understory O. tenera near the peak that is dominated by M. nigrocotea. Colonies can be monogynous or polygynous with 2-4 dealate queens. Stems often contain Pseudococcidae. Alate queens have been collected in Project ALAS Malaise traps on the Barva transect.
Longino, J. T. (2006). A Taxonomic review of the genus Myrmelachista (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica. Zootaxa 1141:1-54.
Figures 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11
Holotype alate queen: Costa Rica, Prov. Alajuela, Casa Eladio, Rio Penas Blancas GoogleMaps, 10°19’N, 84°43’W, 800m GoogleMaps, 30 Apr 1988 (J. Longino #2044) [INBC, specimen code JTLC000006186]. GoogleMaps
Paratypes: workers and queens, from same nest as holotype, specimen codes JTLC000006187 - JTLC000006197, distributed to INBC, MCZC, USNM, UCDC, LACM, BMNH. GoogleMaps
Worker with antenna 9-segmented, maxillary palpus 5-segmented, color yellow. Queen black; mandible punctatorugose; HW greater than 1.1mm; head relatively broad (CI 88-93); eyes relatively small (OI 23-27); much of face slightly roughened, dull, not strongly shining.
Similar to flavocoteaHNS. Compared to flavocoteaHNS, there is a tendency for the pilosity on the side and ventral surface of head to be shorter, the pilosity on the hind tibia to be more fully appressed, and the gastral terga to develop faintly infuscated bands, but these differences are difficult to quantify.
Measurements: HL 0.560-0.683, HW 0.520-0.660, SL 0.274-0.345, EL 0.105-0.121, CI 93-101 (n=5).
Antenna 9-segmented; maxillary palpus 6-segmented; labrum short, bilobed, not covering mouthparts; dorsal surface of mandible punctatorugose; face and clypeus roughened, becoming somewhat smoother posteriorly; clypeus often coarsely rugose; in full face view, with short erect to appressed setae on rear and side margins of head; ventral surface of head with abundant short erect setae; scapes with abundant erect to suberect setae, longer setae subequal to width of scape; outer surface of hind tibia with abundant setae, suberect to fully appressed, longer setae shorter than width of tibia; color solid black.
Measurements: HL 1.259-1.362, HW 1.135-1.223, SL 0.532-0.575, EL 0.283-0.309, OW 0.063-0.096, OD 0.227-0.267, CI 88-93, OI 23-27, OcI 5-7 (n=9).
Similar to M. flavocoteaHNS. Differing in generally heavier sclerotization, darker color, and smaller ocelli. Width of median ocellus usually less than distance between median and lateral ocellus; distance between lateral ocelli less than distance from lateral ocellus to compound eye.
Costa Rica. In Costa Rica it occurs above 500m elevation in wet forest habitats of the Cordillera Volcánica Central, Cordillera de Tilarán, and Cordillera de Guanacaste.
This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats from 500-1100m elevation, where it nests in live stems of understory Lauraceae and Meliaceae. It has a biology similar to M. flavocoteaHNS but is more generalized in its host use. At Refugio Eladio in the Peñas Blancas Valley it occurs in Ocotea dendrodaphne, O. atirrensis, O. tenera, and the undescribed species of Guarea that is the host for M. flavoguareaHNS. Cerro Pedregal, across from Estación Cacao in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, has a patch of understory O. tenera near the peak that is dominated by M. nigrocoteaHNS. Colonies can be monogynous or polygynous with 2-4 dealate queens. Stems often contain Pseudococcidae. Alate queens have been collected in Project ALAS Malaise traps on the Barva transect.
COSTA RICA, Alajuela: Refugio Eladio, Rio Penas Blancas GoogleMaps, 10°19’N, 84°43’W, 800m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 24 collections) GoogleMaps; Guanacaste: Cerro Cacao GoogleMaps, 10°56’N, 85°28’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (J. Longino, 4 collections) GoogleMaps; same data (J. S. Noyes) GoogleMaps; Heredia: Casa Plastico, 17km S Pto. Viejo GoogleMaps, 10°18’N, 84°02’W, 550m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; Virgen de Socorro GoogleMaps, 10°16’N, 84°10’W, 1000m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; 16km SSE La Virgen GoogleMaps, 10°16’N, 84°05’W, 1100m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps; same data (ALAS, 2 collections) GoogleMaps; San José: Carrillo, Braulio Carrillo Nat. Park GoogleMaps, 10°09’N, 83°57’W, 600m GoogleMaps (J. Longino) GoogleMaps.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 18 times found in wet forest, 8 times found in Ecotone between pastures and low vegetation, mature wet forest, 5 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in 2° wet forest, 3 times found in mature wet forest, 2 times found in primary rainforest, 1 times found in tropical montane moist forest.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 9 times ex live stem Lauraceae, 11 times ex live stems Ocotea, 1 times Wet forest. Single-queen colony in 3m tall Guarea [typical ant-inhabited species, 4 times Windswept stunted forest on Cerro Pedregal. Understory is filled with Ocotea ten, 1 times ex live stem Ocotea dendrodaphne, 1 times Wet forest; in live stems Ocotea dendrodaphne(?). OTS student Laura Snyder indep, 1 times Wet forest. Single-queen colony in 349cm tall Ocotea dendrodaphne [atirrensis?]., 2 times Wet forest. Collected by Eladio Cruz, Nigel Pitman, and Erick Bello. "colectado, 2 times nest in live stems Ocotea, 1 times nest in live stems Guarea, 1 times in live stems Ocotea, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 18 times search, 3 times Malaise, 1 times sweep net, 1 times flight intercept trap, 1 times observation.
Elevations: collected from 270 - 1160 meters, 799 meters average
Type specimens: Holotype nigrocotea: jtlc000006186; Paratype nigrocotea: jtlc000006187, jtlc000006188, jtlc000006189, jtlc000006190, jtlc000006191, jtlc000006192, jtlc000006193, jtlc000006194, jtlc000006195, jtlc000006196, jtlc000006197