Change View
Cite this page

Citing AntWeb


To cite this page, please use the following:

· For print:      Citation: AntWeb. Version 8.64.2. California Academy of Science, online at Accessed .

· For web:

Species: Sericomyrmex amabilis   Wheeler, 1925 

Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2021)

Sericomyrmex amabilis Wheeler, 1925e PDF: 166, fig. 8 (w.) [Note: the drawings of fig. 4 and fig. 8 are transposed in the publication.] PANAMA (Barro Colorado I.). Neotropic. Primary type information: PANAMÁ, Panamá, Barro Colorado Island, [9.1543, -79.8461], 3 Aug 1924, W. M. Wheeler, WMW838; USNMENT00920034 (topmost specimen on the pin); USNM AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Panama, Costa Rica. Costa Rica: widespread below 500m elevation.



Sericomyrmex amabilis Wheeler, W.M. 1925:166, fig. 8 (not fig. 4). Worker: Panama. Wheeler, G.C. 1949:671 (larva). Senior synonym of bierigi: Weber, 1958:263.Natural History:

Sericomyrmex amabilis is very common in lowland habitats throughout Costa Rica. It extends to about 800m elevation in open or seasonally dry areas, but drops out at lower elevations in close-canopy wet forest. Foraging is almost entirely nocturnal; workers are rarely seen during the day. Nests are in soil, and are difficult to locate. In some instances they make small soil craters at the nest entrance. The nest entrance hole runs horizontally beneath the soil, and is difficult to follow. I have seen foragers carrying caterpillar droppings, pieces of guava fruit (Psidium), and Cordia alliodora flowers. I collected alate queens at the La Selva blacklight on 9 January 1993. Workers are fairly common in Winkler samples of sifted litter. Workers seem to always forage on the ground; I never find them climbing up on vegetation. I have seen aggregations of dozens to hundreds of workers around nest entrances, suggesting relatively large colonies.


There are 19 species of Sericomyrmex, most of them from South America. One species is from Mexico, one from Guatemala, and one (amabilis) from Panama. All Sericomyrmex look quite similar to me. Although there is fairly pronounced geographic variation in Costa Rica, I have never found evidence of sympatric forms, nor sharp breaks or parapatric distributions of discrete forms. Sericomyrmex amabilis is the species with the nearest type locality, so I use that name for the Costa Rican material.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 42 times found in forest, 36 times found in rainforest, 6 times found in primary forest, 2 times found in premontane rainforest, 3 times found in disturbed habitat, 4 times found in secondary forest, 1 times found in 2ndary forest, road embankment, 2 times found in coffee plantation, 2 times found in tropical forest, 1 times found in next to the road, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times nest at base of palm in lab clearing, 1 times ground foragers, 1 times at bait, 1 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), 1 times in soil, leaf litter, 1 times foragers from nest entrance, chambers not found.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 10 times hand collected, nest series, 2 times Hand collected, 8 times pitfall, 5 times Winkler, 2 times litter sample, 1 times bait, 1 times search, 1 times hand coll., nest, 1 times Malaise trap, 1 times baiting, 1 times sifter litter, ...

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1009 meters, 222 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1905-05-28 and 2014-03-07

Type specimens: Lectotype of Sericomyrmex amabilis: usnment00920034; paralectotype of Sericomyrmex amabilis: mcz404221197; syntype of Sericomyrmex bierigi: casent0912515

See something amiss? Send us an email.