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Species: Centromyrmex alfaroi   Emery, 1890 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2021)

Centromyrmex alfaroi Emery, 1890c PDF: 40 (w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Emery, 1906c PDF: 115 (q.).
[Also described as new by Emery, 1894l PDF: 46.].
See also: Kempf, 1967b PDF: 404.
// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica, Bolivia, Brazil (GO, SP, BA). Costa Rica: known from Alajuela, La Selva.


Natural History:

Workers of this large ponerine are apparently entirely subterranean, and thus rarely encountered. In 1988 S. Cover (pers. comm.) observed closed turrets projecting from clay soil in open sunlit ground surrounding the River Station at La Selva Biological Station. Excavation yielded workers and males, and Cover suggested the turrets were the result of a premating flight excavation. Males are distinctively bicolored (figure: reduced, original), and have been collected at blacklights.

The genus Centromyrmex is pantropical, with three species in the Neotropics (Kempf 1966). Several species, and by extrapolation perhaps the entire genus, are specialized predators of termites, nesting within termite nests (Wheeler 1936, Luederwaldt 1926, Mann 1934, Borgmeier 1937, Kempf 1967, Levieux 1976, Mill 1982, Grasse 1986, Dejean and Feneron 1993, Delabie 1995). The biology of C. alfaroi in Costa Rica is unknown, but one can anticipate an association with termites. Delabie (1995) gives a detailed description of C. alfaroi populations in large soil mounds of Syntermes nests in the state of Bahia, Brazil. He found that C. alfaroi is polygynous, with many dealate queens occurring together with workers in termite mounds.


Borgmeier, T. 1937. Formigas novas ou pouco conhecidas da America do Sul e Central, principalmente do Brasil (Hym. Formicidae). Arch. Inst. Biol. Veget. R.Janeiro 3:217-255.

Dejean, A., R. Feneron. 1993. Polyginie et forme de polymorphisme chez une Ponerinae. Actes Coll. Insectes Sociaux 8:179-182.

Delabie, J. H. C. 1995. Inquilinismo simultaneo de duas especies de Centromyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae) em cupinzeiros de Syntermes sp (Isoptera, Termitidae, Nasutermitinae). Rev. Bras. Ent. 39:605-609.

Emery, C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. I-V. Boll. Soc. Entomol. It. 22:38-80.

Grasse, P. P. 1986. Termitologie III. Comportement, Socialite, Ecologie, Evolution, Systematique. Paris, Masson, 715pp.

Kempf, W. W. 1967 (1966). A synopsis of the Neotropical ants of the genus Centromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomol. 9:401-410.

Levieux, J. 1976. Etude de la structure du nid de quelques especes terricoles de fourmis tropicales [Nest structure of certain terricolous species of tropical ants]. Annales de l'Universite d'Abidjan Serie C Sciences 12:23-34.

Luederwaldt, H. 1926. Observacoes biologicas sobre formigas brasileiras, especialmente do Estado de Sao Paulo. Rev. Mus. Paulista 14:185-304.

Mann, W. M. 1934. Stalking ants, savage and civilized. Natn. Geogr. Mag. 66:171-192.

Mill, A. E. 1982. Faunal studies on termites (Isoptera) and observations on their ant predators (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Amazon basin. Revta bras. Ent. 26:253-260.

Wheeler, W. M. 1936. Ecological relations of ponerine and other ants to termites. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 71:159-243.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 3 times found in montane wet forest, 4 times found in STR, 4 times found in Sura, 1 times found in park/garden, 2 times found in SCH, 1 times found in rainforest, 1 times found in wet forest, 1 times found in CCL 300, 1 times found in Cerrado s.s., 1 times found in lowland rainforest.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times bajo de M/01, 1 times ex surface of pool, 2 times bajo de M/29, 2 times bajo de M/28, 2 times bajo de M/26, 2 times bajo de M/22, 0 times “Coletada em cima de um ninho de Syntermes sp.” (sampled on top of a Syntermes sp. nest), 1 times Periphery of Sytermes dirus mound, 1 times in soil, 1 times ex termite mound, Syntermes, 1 times Cornitermes cumulans, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 13 times flight intercept trap, 8 times Arm. Malaise, 2 times Malaise, 1 times Manual search, 1 times search, 1 times Arm. Malaise (18-21h), 1 times Blacklight.

Elevations: collected from 40 - 600 meters, 222 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1938-01-01 and 2012-11-12

Type specimens: syntype of Centromyrmex alfaroi: casent0903859

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