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Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil(?). Range map for Costa Rica (figure).
In Costa Rica, Procryptocerus mayri and batesi are nearly always found together, and they are restricted to wet montane forest. They occur commonly in cloud forest habitats, reach their peak abundances between 1000 and 1500m, and drop out at lower elevations where other species of Procryptocerus become more abundant. The restriction to montane forest is vividly illustrated on the Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica. Most of the peninsula is well below 500m elevation, but a few ridges in the center attain 700m, where there is a very small patch of vegetation with the aspect of a cloud forest. In spite of nearly two year's experience at low-elevation sites on the peninsula, P. mayri and P. batesi were only found during a two-day trip to this cloud forest, where they were abundant on low vegetation. On Costa Rica's Atlantic slope, mayri and batesi are common above 1000m in Braulio Carrillo National Park, but 10km north, at La Selva Biological Station (50-150m), they have never been collected in spite of intense collecting effort over many years.
The following nest data are extracted from field notes. All are from Costa Rica.
Prov. Puntarenas, Rio Lagartos below Santa Elena de Monteverde (Longino): riparian forest patch along stream. An acanthaceous gangly shrub (probably Justicia) overhanging stream had scattered workers on it. Two nests were in the lower branches of the plant, and the entrances pointed downwards and were easily seen from below. One nest was 49cm long, entirely within a live, 14mm diameter branch, with a single, centrally located, circular entrance hole. The walls of the chamber were very smooth and clean. The second nest was in a live branch with a dead apex; 4cm of the nest in live stem, 52cm in dead. It had two lateral entrance holes 30cm apart. A third branch, near the previous two, had an externally visible entrance hole identical to those of the Procryptocerus nests, but the branch contained a populous Camponotus nest.
The entire contents of the two Procryptocerus nests were collected [first nest: 48 adult workers, 13 alate queens, 12 adult males, 15 queen pupae, 11 worker pupae, 5 prepupae, 12 large larve, 9 small larvae, a few eggs.second nest: 64 adult workers, 36 alate queens, 7 adult males, 32 queen pupae, 6 worker pupae, 5 prepupae, 29 large larve, 15 small larvae, a few eggs]. The nests contained workers, sexuals, and brood, but no colony queen, which suggests they were parts of a polydomous colony.
Prov. Puntarenas, Wilson Botanical Garden (Longino): On 28 Feb 1989 small saplings of Cecropia obtusifolia were examined along a river bank in forest. The apical internodes contained founding Azteca queens, but the lower internodes contained colonies of other genera, most commonly Procryptocerus mayri and Heteroponera panamense. Nests of Procryptocerus occupied single internodes, but some saplings contained more than one nest. The contents of six nests were recorded, and are reported below. A number of workers bore a peculiar pale patch on AT4, where the integument appeared thin, deformed, and weakly sclerotized.
Contents of Procryptocerus mayri nests in Cecropia obtusifolia saplings. Saplings were approximately 2m tall. One contained three nests, the rest contained one:
Colln. Number* 2397 2398 2399 2400 2401 2403Sapling Number 1 1 1 2 3 4Adult Workers 75 46 55 49 31 94Dealate Queens 1 0 1 0 0 1Adult Males 0 0 0 0 0 6Brood + + + + + +* Longino accession number.
Monteverde, 1340m (Longino): wet forest edge; lone queen in soft rotten stick lodged in vegetation; a Camponotus nest was in the same stick.
Longino #165: wet forest; nest containing workers, alate queens, males, and larvae in the live trunk of a tree sapling.
Longino #1062: wet forest; nest in live branch of melastome tree; entire nest collected; contained 11 workers, 5 worker pupae, 2 prepupae, 6 larvae, 2 eggs.
Ward #7831: roadside; nest in dead twig of Baccharis trinervis.
In summary, P. mayri nests in a variety of plant stems, most often live ones. Individual nests contain fewer than 100 workers, but the frequent lack of dealate queens in nests suggests polydomy. The small amount of brood relative to adult workers, and the absence of any signs of stored food, suggest a long-lived worker population with a low rate of worker production. The presence of queen pupae, callows, and fully sclerotized adults together in the same nest suggests a gradual production of sexuals, and probably their gradual release.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 75 times found in montane wet forest, 7 times found in wet forest, 1 times found in edge secondgrowth rainforest, 1 times found in Refugio 1070, 3 times found in cloud forest, 4 times found in primary cloud forest, 2 times found in primary wet forest, 2 times found in mature cloud forest, 4 times found in mesophil forest, 2 times found in rainforest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 24 times Sobre Vegetacion, An acanthaceous gangly shrub ( times Rio Lagartos riparian zone below Sta Elena. 1152, 1 times nest in live stem small sapling, 1 times ex dead twig woody composite, 5 times strays, 7 times beating vegetation, 3 times Cecropia obtusifolia sapling along river. Three Procryptocerus nests (#2397-2399, 4 times ex canopy tree, strays acanthoponera minor typhlomyrmex pri times wet forest, around Guindon cabin. 1, 1 times Cecropia obtusifolia sapling along river. Two nests, Procryptocerus (#2403) and, 2 times sobre la vegetacion, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 38 times Malaise, 23 times search, 23 times Sweeping, 7 times Beating, 5 times flight intercept trap, 4 times fogging, 3 times miniWinkler, 1 times Mini Winkler, 1 times Nest in twig above ground, 1 times baiting.
Elevations: collected from 500 - 1540 meters, 1091 meters average