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Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia.
Most collections are of foraging workers obtained from montane wet forest, on low vegetation or in the canopy. No collections are known from below 600m elevation. Workers are often observed in recent treefalls. Procryptocerus batesi appears to be very similar to P. mayri in its habitat preference and nesting habits (see additional notes under P. mayri). Nests contain fewer than 100 workers, and may be found in live or dead stems. Colonies appear to be monogynous. Polydomy probably occurs because queenless nests can be found. The following data on nest collections are extracted from field notes, all from Costa Rica:
Longino, 23-24 Jul 1984, Rio Pe–as Blancas: an entire nest was collected in a hollow, living stem of an epiphytic shrub, 20m high in a Guarea tree. The nest contained 55 adult workers, 1 dealate queen, 1 adult male, 3 pupae, 13 large larvae, and a small amount of smaller brood.
Longino #1601, Casa Eladio, Rio Pe–as Blancas: an entire nest was collected from one internode of a Cecropia insignis sapling. The nest contained 87 adult workers, 58 pupae, 10 prepupae, 18 large larvae, and a few small larvae and eggs.
Longino #2356, Cerro Cacao: an entire nest was collected from a dead branch. The nest contained 96 workers, 1 dealate queen, and brood.
In the mountains of southern Central America and South America, a complex of species occurs that have (1) the frontal carinae separate from the torulus, passing above it and onto the clypeus; (2) the face sculpture varying from completely striate to strongly clathrate (composed of high, sharp, well-separated rugae, which form irregular polygons over face surface); and (3) first gastral tergite varying from striate to completely smooth and shining. The complex occurs as a series of allopatric populations restricted to montane forests. There is abundant material from Costa Rica, which reveals the presence of two sympatric species. The populations in Costa Rica and western Panama are peripheral isolates, with the nearest neighbors being populations in the Colombian Andes. Collections occur from Venezuela, through Colombia and Ecuador south to Peru, but they are too few to draw conclusions about communities of sympatric species or the nature of character variation. Character variation is high even within Costa Rica, and discordant character variation occurs across the material from South America. Each local mountain range may host a unique community, shaped by a combination of dispersal history, local selection, and perhaps hybridization. As a result, a clear taxonomy of these forms may be elusive.
A discrete character that separates sympatric forms in Costa Rica is the presence or absence of a torulus trough. The torulus trough is an effect of the shape of the lateral portion of the clypeus. In specimens lacking a trough, the lateral portion of the clypeus falls perpendicularly to the torulus, such that in anterior view (looking at the head with mandibles forward) the torulus is relatively exposed. In specimens with a trough, the lateral clypeus is somewhat produced, such that it falls to the torulus at an acute angle, and in anterior view the torulus is relatively obscured by the lateral "wings" of the clypeus. South American material exhibits a full range of states for this character, from no torulus trough to a deep, pronounced one.
Current available names in this complex are P. carbonarius Mayr, 1870 from Colombia, P. rudis Mayr, 1870 from Colombia, P. batesi Forel, 1899 from Colombia, P. laeviventris Forel, 1899 from Panama, P. mayri Forel, 1899 from Colombia, P. reichenspergeri Santschi, 1921 from Brazil, and P. virgatus Kempf, 1964 from Ecuador. Kempf synonymized P. laeviventris under P. carbonarius. Longino and Snelling (2002) moved laeviventris to synonymy under batesi and synonymized reichenspergeri under mayri. The type of P. laeviventris, from western Panama, clearly falls within the Central American group with the torulus trough. In Colombia, species boundaries are unclear. The types of P. rudis, P. batesi, and P. carbonarius all have a torulus trough, but they vary in gastral sculpture and body size. The type of P. laeviventris most closely matches P. batesi, not P. carbonarius. Therefore Longino and Snelling transferred it from P. carbonarius to P. batesi, and identified as P. batesi the Central American material with a torulus trough. The types of P. mayri and P. reichenspergeri match the Central American species that lacks a torulus trough. Procryptocerus virgatus, from Ecuador, has a weak torulus trough. It and other material from Ecuador and southern Colombia exhibit variation in the torulus trough that blurs the distinct character states found in Central America.
Also see discussion under rudis group.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 58 times found in montane wet forest, 19 times found in cloud forest edge, 15 times found in mesophyll forest, 8 times found in cloud forest, 6 times found in wet forest, 6 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 3 times found in primary cloud forest, 1 times found in Refugio 1070, 1 times found in road through cloud forest and pasture, forest young to old 2nd growth, near river, 2 times found in cloud forest, on steep slope, probably old 2nd growth, near pasture, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 19 times ex relict tree in pasture, 17 times beating veg., 14 times beating vegetation, 13 times Sobre Vegetacion, 1 times Wet forest. Crown and trunk of canopy Guarea. Nest in hollow, living stem of epi, 1 times Pasture edge near Estacion Mengo; in dead branch. Entire nest collected. Single, 1 times Montane forest edge. Entire nest collected from dead stem Palicourea. Nest conta, 3 times ex canopy tree, 3 times Malaise trap, 2 times ex sifted leaf litter, 2 times wet forest edge, in crowns of recently felled trees, Nectandra(?) and Citharexyl, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 37 times search, 42 times Malaise, 31 times Beating, 22 times fogging, 13 times Sweeping, 2 times MiniWinkler, 3 times flight intercept trap, 1 times Mini Winkler, 1 times sweep, 1 times beating vegetation (3 hour period).
Elevations: collected from 400 - 2000 meters, 1254 meters average