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Guatemala to Amazonian Brazil. Costa Rica: Atlantic slope.
Sericomyrmex opulenta Mann 1922:48, fig. 21. Worker: Honduras. Combination in Trachymyrmex: Weber, 1958:51.
This species inhabits wet forest. Nests are in the soil. MayhŽ and Brandao (2002) describe the biology as follows:
The first information is from Mann (1922:49) on the type series: "...large colony. The nest was in the ground, alongside a trail in thick woods. The entrance was in the form of a turret, loosely constructed of earth and about 6 inches in height; a foot beneath the surface was a large cavity, containing a fungus garden, pendulous and 4 or 5 inches in diameter." Gabriel A. R. Melo has collected in Manaus three workers following a forage trail, carrying dry leaves ... Antonio MayhŽ and Jose V. Hernandez found two nests in Aroa, Venezuela, in a secondary forest, at 865m of altitude. The entrance of the first ... was at the side of a human trail and presented a turret made by rigid earth coming out of the litter, 1cm diameter and 3 cm height; the [single] ... chamber was 20 cm deep. The second one ... presents also a turret, although smaller, and its [single] ... irregular chamber was 16 cm deep, with the fungus garden hanging from the roof. ...The ants feign death when disturbed, in a conspicuous cryptic behavior.
I know the species from two localities in Costa Rica: La Selva Biological Station, and Refugio Eladio in the Penas Blancas Valley east of Monteverde. At La Selva I observed workers entering a small clay turret in a trail. At Eladio's I observed a second nest, also with a turret-like tumulus in the middle of a trail. The tumulus was fairly large, about 10cm diameter. The main nest chamber, with queen and fungus garden, was about 10cm deep below the surface. It was spherical, about 5cm in diameter. I observed a worker returning with a caterpillar dropping.
Mann, W. M. 1922. Ants from Honduras and Guatemala. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 61:1-54.
MayhŽ-Nunes, A. J., and C. R. F. Brandao. 2002. Revisionary studies on the attine ant genus Trachymyrmex forel. Part 1: Definition of the genus and the Opulentus group (Hymenoptera : Formicidae). Sociobiology 40:667-698.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 5 times found in wet forest, 8 times found in lowland rainforest, 7 times found in mature wet forest, 2 times found in lowland wet forest, 3 times found in montane rainforest, 1 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, isolated peak with oak trees, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, 1 times found in 2º wet forest, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, some big trees, primary forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 18 times ex sifted leaf litter, 6 times at bait, 1 times nest in clay bank, 1 times nest in center of trail, a 10cm dia. tumulus, 2 times nest in soil, 1 times Trachymyrmex, nest in clay bank, 1 times Primary forest, 1 times ex pan trap, attine; nr. trap 11; clay turret in trail. times 3391.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 11 times MiniWinkler, 6 times search, 5 times MaxiWinkler, 6 times Baiting, 2 times Winkler, 1 times Lure/Bait, 1 times pan trap, 1 times Pitfall, 1 times Unknown.
Elevations: collected from 50 - 1200 meters, 479 meters average
Type specimens: syntype of Trachymyrmex opulentus: casent0901699