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Mexico (type locality), Nicaragua, Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Atlantic lowlands.
Wilson (2003) describes the range as "Known from the type series; from near Cuichapa, Veracruz, 1600 m; and from Tuli Creek, near San Miguel, Nicaragua." Wilson states "In Veracruz, protensa has been found in both lowland rainforest and in montane cafetals, i.e., forest with coffee." The first Costa Rica record is from La Selva Biological Station. Steve Yanoviak collected minor workers and soldiers at a bait near STR400, while participating in the 2004 ant course.
Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard.
Diagnosis A very small, yellow member of the flavensHNS group, distinguished in the major by an elongated head entirely covered dorsally with longitudinal carinulae, which grow faint and curve inwardly in the posterior third of the head to converge toward and meet at the midline, becoming horizontal near the occiput.
Major: also with broken transverse carinulae on pronotal dorsum; a small but distinct mesonotal convexity; propodeal spines reduced to denticles; and a large propodeal spiracle.
Minor: all of head and mesosoma foveolate and opaque; propodeal spines reduced to denticles. Similar to browniHNS, castaHNS, meraHNS, olsoniHNS, and prolixaHNS, but easily distinguished by the above traits. Measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.60, HL 0.82, SL 0.34, EL 0.10, PW 0.32. Paratype minor: HW 0.38, HL 0.44, SL 0.34, EL 0.06, PW 0.36. Color Major and minor concolorous medium yellow.
Range Known from the type series; from near Cuichapa, Veracruz, 1600 m; and from Tuli Creek, near San Miguel, Nicaragua.
figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. MEXICO: Las Hamacas, 17 km north of Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz (E. O. Wilson). Scale bars = 1 mm.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 258 times found in tropical rainforest, 122 times found in tropical wet forest, 97 times found in lowland rainforest, 67 times found in mature wet forest, 24 times found in montane wet forest, 33 times found in lowland wet forest, 31 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 30 times found in riparian forest in ravine, 23 times found in tropical rainforest, some big trees, 9 times found in lowland tropical rain forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 517 times at bait, 337 times ex sifted leaf litter, 8 times foragers at cookie bait, 2 times at bait along stream, 1 times at bait nr stream edge, 2 times beating vegetation, 2 times flight intercept trap, 1 times ex sifted litter, 1 times at bait at night, 1 times stray foragers, 1 times nest in clay soil, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 503 times Baiting, 268 times MiniWinkler, 56 times MaxiWinkler, 17 times bait, 9 times hand collecting, 5 times search, 7 times Winkler, 8 times Night MiniWinkler, 2 times Beating, 2 times FIT.
Elevations: collected from 30 - 1980 meters, 428 meters average