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Species: Cyphomyrmex rimosus   (Spinola, 1851) 

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Cyphomyrmex rimosus_cf

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2018)

Cryptocerus rimosus Spinola, 1851b: 49 (w.m.) BRAZIL. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

[Also described as new by Spinola, 1853: 65.].
Emery, 1894d PDF: 224 (q.); Wheeler, 1949 PDF: 668 (l.).
Combination in Cyphomyrmex: Emery, 1893j PDF: 2; in Atta (Cyphomyrmex): Forel, 1912f PDF: 188; in Cyphomyrmex: Bruch, 1914 PDF: 217.
Senior synonym of Cyphomyrmex difformis: Forel, 1893h PDF: 607; Emery, 1894d PDF: 224; of Cyphomyrmex cochunae, Cyphomyrmex fuscus (and its junior synonyms Cyphomyrmex curiapensis, Cyphomyrmex fuscula): Snelling & Longino, 1992 PDF: 491.
See also: Smith, 1979: 1410.


Cyphomyrmex rimosus is a small dull brown to blackish brown ant with deep antennal scrobes, enlarged frontal lobes that obscure the lateral margins of the face, no propodeal spines, an apedunculate petiole, tubercles on the mesosoma, and appressed scale-like hairs. These ants are sometimes difficult to detect on account of their small size, slow movement and tendency to become immobile and even feign death when disturbed. Cyphomyrmex rimosus has a monomorphic worker caste and is considered one of the ‘lower’ attines and cultivates fungus gardens grown on scavenged vegetable matter, dead insects and insect fras. The species is native to the Neotropics, but has established introduced populations in the southern United States and the Galapagos islands. It is not considered a significant pest species in its native or introduced range.


   (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists) Species is native to: Neotropical bioregion (based on species list records).

Nearctic Region: United States
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Galapagos Islands, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela

Distribution Notes:

Native Range (Snelling & Longino, 1992). Neotropics. Argentina, Brazil, Guinanas, Venezuala.

Introduced Range. Galapagos: Isabella, Santa Cruz. United States (Snelling & Longino, 1992): Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi.


The species is part of a complex of closely related and highly variable taxa that can be difficult to distinguish (Kempf, 1966 (1965)). Snelling and Longino (1992)revised the C. rimosus group and split it into five subgroups. The rimosus subgroup contains seven species, including C. rimosus and its close relative C. minutus. Both species occur in Florida, but whereas C. rimosus is argued to be introduced on the grounds that it has spread rapidly since it was first detected, Cyphomyrmex minutus is considered native (Deyrup, 1991). Cyphomyrmex minutus was treated as a junior synonym of C. rimosus prior to the revision of Snelling and Longino (1992), so it is difficult to determine which species earlier studies are referring to. For example, many of the Neotropical and North American records in the literature refer to the more widespread C. minutus (Snelling & Longino, 1992).

Cyphomyrmex rimosus usually live in colonies of less than 100 workers, but colonies of over 300 workers have been observed (Murakami & Higashi, 1997). Most colonies are usually monogynous, but there are reports of some polygynous colonies as well (Murakami & Higashi, 1997; Snelling & Longino, 1992). The fungus gardens are composed of yeasts in the unicellular phase rather than in the multicellular, mycelial phase typical of all other attine gardens (Mehdiabadi & Schultz, 2010). In addition to feeding on the yeast fungus grown in their gardens, C. rimosus is also known to take the nectar and sap of plants (Murakami & Higashi, 1997). The queens are reported to practice monandry and semi-claustral nest founding (Mehdiabadi & Schultz, 2010; Tschinkel, 1987). Nests are frequently simple, shallow, impermanent structures under rocks, logs or any other surface, and the species prefers open habitats. Further details of the natural history of C. rimosus, in is given in Mehdiabadi & Schultz (2010), Murakami & Higashi (1997)and Snelling and Longino (1992).

(Source unkown). Anida en raíces de las plantas, bajo piedras, forrajea entre la hojarasca. Es frecuente en áreas ocupadas por Wasmannia auropunctata. Presente en jardines de las viviendas y sitios húmedos. 

English translation: Nests in plant roots, under rocks, foraging among the fallen leaves. It is common in areas occupied by Wasmannia auropunctata. Present in gardens of dwellings and wet locations.


Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted ants in the United States. Antenna 11-segmented. Antennal club 2-segmented. Antennal scapes easily extended beyond eye level. Antennal scrobe present and well developed. Eyes medium to large (greater than 5 facets) but distinctly less than half head length. Eyes located below antennal scrobe near midline of head. Frontal lobes obscure face outline between mandible and eye. Posterolateral corners of head unarmed, without spines. Mandibles triangular. Pronotal spines absent. Propodeum lacking spines or teeth, but tubercles are present. Waist 2-segmented. Spongiform not attached to any portion of waist. Dull brown to blackish brown. Surfaces with appressed scale-like hairs.

In the United States, C. rimosus is most likely confused with C. minutus. Snelling and Longino (1992) separate the two species by the following characters. The head width of C. rimosus is greater (0.62 mm vs. 0.56 mm), and in C. rimosus the hairs on first gastral tergite are not completely appressed and separated by less than their own lengths whereas those of C. minutus are closely appressed and usually separated by more than their own lengths.

Among other introduced and commonly intercepted ants in the United States, C. rimosus can be distinguished the enlarged frontal lobes that obscure the lateral margins of the face, 11-segmented antenna, deep antennal scrobes, indistinct antennal club, and lack of propodeal spines. The antennal scrobes and lack of spines separates C. rimosus from other attine genera (Acromyrmex and Atta). Cephalotes species also have enlarged frontal lobes that obscure the lateral face margins, but C. rimosus can be distinguished from them by the eyes which are placed below antennal scrobe near midline of head (as opposed to at or near apex of antennal scrobe in Cephalotes).


Deyrup, M. (1991) Exotic ants of the Florida keys (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In: Eshbaugh, W.H. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 4th symposium on the natural history of the Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas, pp. 15-22.

Deyrup, M. (2003) An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomol., 86, 43-48.

Deyrup, M., Davis, L. & Cover, S. (2000) Exotic ants in Florida. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc., 126, 293-326.

Kempf, W.W. (1966 (1965)) A revision of the Neotropical fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex Mayr. Part II: Group of rimosus (Spinola) (Hym., Formicidae). Stud. Entomol., 8, 161-200.

Mehdiabadi, N.J. & Schultz, R. (2010) Natural history and phylogeny of the fungus-farming ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini). Myrmecol. News, 13, 37-55.

Murakami, T. & Higashi, S. (1997) Social organization in two primitive attine ants, Cyphomyrmex rimosus and Myrmicocrypta ednaella, with reference to their fungus substrates and food sources. J. Ethol., 15, 17-25.

Snelling, R.R. & Longino, J.T. (1992) Revisionary notes on the fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex rimosus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini). In: Quintero, D. & Aiello, A. (Eds.) Insects of Panama and Mesoamerica: selected studies. Oxford University Press, Oxford.  xxii + 692 p., pp. 479-494, English summary p. 653, Spanish summary p. 662-663.

Tschinkel, W.R. (1987) Relationship between ovariole number and spermathecal sperm count in ant queens: a new allometry. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am., 80, 208-211.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Cyphomyrmex rimosus   Snelling, R. R. & Longino, J. T., 1992, Revisionary notes on the fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex, rimosus-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini)., Insects of Panama and Mesoamerica: selected studies., Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 479-494: 491, (download) 491 13137
Cyphomyrmex longiscapus   Kempf, W. W., 1966, A revision of the Neotropical fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex Mayr. Part II. Group of rimosus (Spinola) (Hym. Formicidae)., Studia Entomologica (N. S.) 8, pp. 161-200: 161-165, (download) 161-165 4580
Cyphomyrmex rimosus   Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 33, (download) 33 21367
Cyphomyrmex rimosus   Forel, A., 1893, Formicides de l'Antille St. Vincent. Récoltées par Mons. H. H. Smith., Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1893, pp. 333-418: 374-375, (download) 374-375 3948
Cyphomyrmex rimosus   Kempf, W. W., 1966, A revision of the Neotropical fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex Mayr. Part II. Group of rimosus (Spinola) (Hym. Formicidae)., Studia Entomologica (N. S.) 8, pp. 161-200: 198, (download) 198 4580
Cyphomyrmex rimosus   Kempf, W. W., 1968, A new species of Cyphomyrmex from Colombia, with further remarks on the genus (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)., Revista Brasileira de Biologia 28, pp. 35-41: 40, (download) 40 4586

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in Tropical hardwood forest, 0 times found in Flatwoods, 1 times found in Zona litoral, 1 times found in in cypress and pine swamp, 2 times found in lowland tropical rain forest, 2 times found in oak woodland, 1 times found in PPBio Grid, L-O 01, 1 times found in rainforest, 0 times found in Scrubby Flatwoods with Inopina Oak, 1 times found in 1� forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times strays in leaf litter, 1 times stray in leaf litter, 1 times stray foragers, 1 times sifting litter, 1 times on recently felled trees, 1 times on orchids, 1 times near creek, 1 times foragers at cookie bait, 1 times ex sifted litter.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 4 times hand collecting, 0 times under rock, 1 times hand collected, 1 times Colecta manual; cultivando hongos en bordillo de cemento (jardín), 2 times sifting leaf litter, 0 times Garden, 1 times Ground nest, 1 times Berlese, 1 times litter sample, 1 times Davis litter sifting, 1 times Nest in stone wall, ...

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1515 meters, 495 meters average

Type specimens: syntype of Cyphomyrmex rimosus: casent0904979; syntype of Cyphomyrmex rimosus curiapensis: casent0901677; syntype of Cyphomyrmex rimosus fuscus: casent0919614; syntype of Meranoplus difformis: casent0901675; type of Cyphomyrmex rimosus: focol1761, focol1762, focol1763; type of Cyphomyrmex rimosus var. fuscula: focol1770

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