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Species: Azteca alfari   Emery, 1893 

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Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Azteca alfari Emery, 1893l: 138, pl. 2, figs. 48, 49 (w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: lectotype worker (by designation of Longino, 1989b PDF: 5). Primary type locality: lectotype Costa Rica: Jiménez (A. Alfaro). Primary type depository: MSNG. Secondary type information: Secondary type material: paralectotype workers (number not stated). Secondary type locality: same as for lectotype. Secondary type depository: MSNG. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Lectotype designation: Longino, 1989b PDF: 5.
[Misspelled as alfaroi by Emery, 1896b PDF: 4; Forel, 1899b PDF: 112, many others.]
[Misspelled as alforoi by Forel, 1908a PDF: 63.]
Material of the unavailable name Azteca alfari lucidula zonalis referred here by Longino, 1989b PDF: 7; Brandão, 1991 PDF: 329; Shattuck, 1994 PDF: 12; Bolton, 1995b: 78; Longino, 2007 PDF: 15.
// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Central Mexico to northern Argentina. Costa Rica: widespread.


Natural History:

The taxonomy and biology of A. alfari are reviewed in Longino (1989a, 1991b). Also see review of Azteca-Cecropia ant-plant relationship.

Azteca alfari is an obligate Cecropia ant. It is the most widespread of the Cecropia ants, extending into the subtropics at both ends of its range. Throughout the range it is the Cecropia ant most likely to be found in open or highly disturbed areas. Founding queens are frequent in Cecropia saplings. As trees grow and form multiple branches, the nests become polydomous. Workers and brood are dispersed in branch tips, and the bole and inner portions of branches are progressively abandoned (Longino 1991a). Workers vary in aggressiveness geographically and over time. Workers in young colonies are usually aggressive, but in many cases workers in mature colonies are less aggressive, retreating inside of stems on disturbance (Longino 1991a). Only when a branch is broken open will workers rush out to attack. Trees occupied by alfari often appear somewhat decrepid, with abundant leaf damage and frequently burdened with vines. The foliage of these trees hosts a diverse insect fauna, including foraging ants of other species.

Harada (1989) has described the colony structure of young colonies of alfari. Harada's study did not distinguish between alfari and ovaticeps.

The alfari group, containing alfari and ovaticeps, is a lineage that has colonized Cecropia trees independently of other obligate Cecropia ants (Ayala et al. 1996).

Literature Cited

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Azteca   Longino, J. T., 2007, A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group., Zootaxa 1491, pp. 1-63: 8-10, (download) 8-10 21311
Azteca alfari   Longino, J. T., 2007, A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group., Zootaxa 1491, pp. 1-63: 15-19, (download) 15-19 21311
Azteca alfari   Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 24, (download) 24 21367
Azteca alfari   Forel, A., 1899, Biologia Centrali-Americana; or, contributions to the knowledge of the fauna and flora of Mexico and Central America. Insecta. Hymenoptera. 3 (Formicidae)., London: Unknown Publisher: 112, (download) 112 8170

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 33 times found in cerrado, 14 times found in wet forest, 12 times found in riparian dry forest, 4 times found in second growth veg., 9 times found in Roadside vegetation, 6 times found in dry forest, 3 times found in rainforest, 6 times found in restinga, 5 times found in roadside edge, 5 times found in tropical semideciduous forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 40 times ex Cecropia, 39 times ex Cecropia pachystachya, 9 times ex Cecropia sapling, 12 times ex Cecropia branch, 5 times ex Cecropia obtusifolia, 5 times ex Cecropia peltata, 8 times in Cecropia peltata, 6 times in Cecropia sapling, 5 times in Cecropia peltata sapling, 1 times ex Cecropia insignis sapling, 3 times in Cecropia tree, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 93 times search, 3 times direct collection, 2 times Malaise, 1 times light traps, 1 times Pitfall48h, 1 times Beating.

Elevations: collected from 4 - 1310 meters, 385 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1891-08-01 00:00:00.0 and 2019-09-24 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: Lectotype of Azteca alfari: casent0905089; Lectotype of Azteca alfari lucidula: casent0909594; Lectotype of Azteca alfari curtiscapa: casent0909586; Lectotype of Azteca alfari mixta: casent0909592; Lectotype of Azteca alfari cecropiae: casent0909593; Lectotype of Azteca bicolor: casent0905095; paratype of Azteca alfari fumaticeps: focol0537; syntype of Azteca forelii breviscapa: casent0909631; syntype of Azteca virens: casent0909711; syntype of Azteca alfari argentina: casent0909585; syntype of Azteca alfari fumaticeps: casent0909587; syntype of Azteca forelii breviscapa: casent0903002; syntype of Azteca virens: casent0903003; Type of unavailable quadrinomial: Azteca alfari lucidula zonalis: casent0911459

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