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Mexico, Central America, Bolivia (Brown 1976, 1978). Costa Rica: throughout, in wet and dry forest below 700m.
This species occurs in wet or dry forest habitats, from lowlands to the lower edge of cloud forest. Foragers are usually on the forest floor, and may be diurnal or nocturnal. I often find workers as prey of Eciton.
Brown (1976) states:
O. laticeps comes in two extreme forms, one of which has head, trunk, petiole and appendages dull, light red in color, while the gaster is usually brownish or blackish, with strong bluish reflections, and the first two gastric terga are completely, distinctly, finely and opaquely longitudinally striate over their discal surfaces; this form corresponds to the type of O. striativentris. Most such samples come from the lowland forests on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica. The other extreme is a form with dark reddish brown to piceous forebody and black gaster, the first two terga smooth and shining discad, with scattered fine punctures. This form ranges from upland Costa Rica (and doubtless the mountains of Panama) north in tropical Mexico to southern Tamaulipas; Roger's type of var. laticeps (ofhaematodus), from Cordoba, Veracruz, can be assigned here with confidence.
The two extreme forms are connected by a series of samples from localities spread from Panama to southern Mexico, showing different combinations and degrees of development of the color and sculptural characters. Here are a few examples:
Costa Rica, Osa Peninsula: 5 km west of Rincon de Osa, 50 m (J. Wagner and J. Kethley), a very dark worker, almost black, with dark brown legs, first 2 gastric terga finely but distinctly striate throughout.
Central Meseta of Costa Rica: San Jose, Cartago, and Agua Caliente (W. M. Wheeler): these samples, while predominantly of the dark, smooth extreme, contain scattered workers having faint, fine striation in the middle of the first tergum, mostly near its posterior border.
[numerous other examples are given from other countries.]
The above samples taken together seem to indicate that we are dealing with a single variable species that tends to have a dark form with smooth gastric dorsum in upland situations, and a light reddish to dark form with striate gaster in wet lowlands, though exceptions occur in both directions.
Brown, W. L., Jr. 1976. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section A. Introduction, subtribal characters. Genus Odontomachus. Studia Entomol. 19:67-171.
Brown, W. L., Jr. 1978(1977). A supplement to the world revision of Odontomachus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche 83:281-285.
Emery, C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. I-V. Boll. Soc. Entomol. It. 22:38-80.
Roger, J. 1861. Die Ponera-artigen Ameisen (Schluss). Berl. Entomol. Z. 5:1-54.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 107 times found in tropical rainforest, 57 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 33 times found in 2º wet forest, 29 times found in tropical moist forest, 25 times found in montane wet forest, 25 times found in cloud forest, 18 times found in tropical wet forest, 17 times found in 2º tropical rainforest, 15 times found in mature wet forest, 15 times found in lowland wet forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 230 times at bait, 175 times ex sifted leaf litter, 9 times Malaise trap, 7 times yellow pan trap, 7 times Hojarasca, 5 times blue pan trap, 3 times foragers, 1 times under epiphytes, 1 times column on ground, 3 times leaf litter, 2 times ground nest, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 230 times Baiting, 101 times MiniWinkler, 58 times MaxiWinkler, 24 times search, 12 times Malaise, 16 times Winkler, 9 times Berlese, 7 times yellow pan trap, 5 times Mini Winkler, 5 times blue pan trap, 2 times hand collecting, ...
Elevations: collected from 10 - 2140 meters, 483 meters average