Current View: Bolton World Catalog
Change View
Cite this page

Citing AntWeb


To cite this page, please use the following:

· For print:      Citation: AntWeb. Version 8.8. California Academy of Science, online at Accessed .

· For web:

Species: Azteca sericeasur   Longino, 2007 

Download Data

Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2022)

Azteca sericeasur Longino, 2007 PDF: 46, figs. 3, 4A, 5, 6E,F, 7 (w.q.m.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: holotype queen. Primary type locality: Costa Rica: Prov. Limón, Hamburg Farm (10°15’N, 83°27’W), 50 m., 11.vii.1925 (F. Nevermann). Primary type depository: USNM. Secondary type information: Secondary type material: 18 paratype workers, 2 paratype queens, 2 paratype males. Secondary type locality: same as for holotype. Secondary type depositories: INBC, JTLC, LACM, MCZC, USNM. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Status as species: Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012 PDF: 253.
// Distribution


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

Distribution Notes:

Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama. Costa Rica: widespread.


Natural History:

Azteca sericeasur occurs in moist to wet forest habitats. Queens establish in live stems of understory trees, near the base. Mature colonies are polydomous and dispersed. Foraging columns extend across low vegetation and on the forest floor, connecting multiple small pavilions made of carton (paper-like material constructed by the ants from masticated plant fibers). Clusters of workers and brood occur in the pavilions, and the pavilions may cover membracids and pink scale insects, which the ants tend. Thus the queen is located in a permanent and well-protected site, while the colony is widely spread in a large number of small ephemeral nests.

Along the R’o San Luis near Monteverde, I found workers coming and going from a fissure at the base of a live Xanthoxylem (Rutaceae) at a pasture edge. A colony of Camponotus novogranadensis was using the same entrance, in an apparent case of parabiosis. I have several observations of colonies from the Osa Peninsula. One colony was spread over an area of several square meters, in the dead, hollow core of a live Chimarrhis parviflora (Rubiaceae), in nearby dead sticks, and filling hollow stems of an adjacent Tetrathylacium costaricensis plant (Flacourtiaceae). The Tetrathylacium contained workers, small brood, and mealybugs, but no sexuals or large brood. Small carton nests covered some of the stems and nest entrances. The dead core of the Chimarrhis contained a small pocket of carton, in which I found the grossly distended colony queen and abundant small brood. In another case I found workers streaming through low vegetation. A nest was in a small sapling; the lowest part of the nest was 4m above the ground. There were numerous small cavities and knotholes in the trunk; these were all filled with workers and brood. The lowermost knothole was covered with a carton nest, and the bulk of the workers were in the carton portion. I looked in the carton and in all the knotholes, but I never found a queen. Leanne Tennant, in her study of Tetrathylacium costaricensis in Corcovado, found at least two of her study plants inhabited by A. sericeasur. Males may be produced in large numbers in the small satellite nests. In August, 1982, I observed a series of carton shelters on vine stems at the base of a buttressed tree, and they were packed with hundreds of adult males. Alate queens are few in collections; two were collected in October and one in July. Nest series with alate queens have been taken twice, both in July. I collected a founding queen in the internode of a Cecropia sapling at Estacion Pitilla in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, and Joel Dunn found an incipient colony in a Cordia bicolor plant near Monteverde.

The queens are generally setose ants, with abundant fine flexuous setae on most body parts. An exception was the queen from the Chimarrhis plant described above. This queen was almost completely devoid of erect setae anywhere on the body, including the tibiae, and the pubescence was sparse and patchy. When collecting from this colony, it took me more than an hour to locate the colony center, chop into the Chimarrhis tree, and extract the physogastric queen. This is probably the oldest queen I have examined, the others being alates or foundresses in incipient colonies (and thus more easy to locate and collect). It may be that once queens establish and become sedentary in the middle of a large colony, they gradually become depilated, perhaps through constant grooming by workers.


This species is very similar to A. sericea, differing in the presence of erect setae on the posterior margin of the head. Azteca sericea is known from Mexico and Guatemala, where it is associated with myrmecophytic orchids.

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 sericeasur new species  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: 46-48, (download) 46-48 21311 GoogleMaps

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 7 times found in SSO 200m, 7 times found in wet forest, 4 times found in rainforest, 4 times found in coffee agroforest, 5 times found in lowland rainforest, 1 times found in 2nd growth rainforest, 1 times found in mature forest, 1 times found in moist forest, 1 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in second growth vegetation, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times tending Membracidae, 1 times nest in low vegetation, 1 times under carton galleries on trunk of Ficus, 1 times nocturnal foragers, 1 times nest in live and dead stems, 2 times in carton nest, 1 times column in vegetation, 1 times in carton nest, colony 3, 2 times Ex sifted leaf litter., 2 times ex live stems Tetrathylacium costaricensis, 1 times on tree trunk, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 7 times Fogging, 9 times search, 2 times Malaise, 2 times Winkler, 1 times Malaise trap.

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1400 meters, 199 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1924-07-12 00:00:00.0 and 2013-07-01 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: Holotype Azteca sericeasur: jtlc000005642; Paratype Azteca sericeasur: casent0260166, casent0260167, jtlc000005643, jtlc000009405, jtlc000009412, jtlc000009413, jtlc000009414, jtlc000009415, jtlc000009416

See something amiss? Send us an email.