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Species: Brachymyrmex cavernicola   Wheeler, 1938 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Brachymyrmex cavernicola Wheeler, 1938 PDF: 252 (w.m.) MEXICO (Yucatan). Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: lectotype worker (by designation of Ortiz-Sepúlveda et al., 2019 10.1007/s13127-019-00406-2 PDF: 479). Primary type locality: lectotype Mexico: Yucatan, Chichen Itza, Balaam Canche Cave, (H.S. Pearse). Primary type depository: USNM. Secondary type information: Secondary type material: 21 paralectotype workers, 1 paralectotype male. Secondary type locality: same as for lectotype. Secondary type depositories: MCZC, USNM. Type notes: Original description cites 33 worker, 1 male syntypes. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Mexico (type locality), Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Peñas Blancas, Maritza, Barva transect at 500m, La Selva, Hitoy Cerere.


Natural History:

This species occurs in low to mid-elevation wet to moist forest habitats, where it appears to be completely subterranean. I have a few records of workers from Winkler and Berlese samples, but I more often collect it by finding nests under stones and in small galleries in clay soil. I do not know what an entire colony is like, but I did find a dealate queen in one nest.

This is a very atypical Brachymyrmex. The coarse black setae sprouting from the pale orange integument makes for a striking appearance. It looks like a cross between Brachymyrmex and some Paratrechina.

This species was previously known only from the types. The types were collected in Mexico, "in the Balaam Canche Cave, Chichen Itza, under a stone near the mouth." (Wheeler 1938). Wheeler included the species in a paper on cavernicolous ant species, but admitted that the line between truly cavernicolous ants and subterranean ants was not sharp (he referred to subterranean ants as "microcavernicolous"). It is clear that this species is not associated with caves in any special way.


I owe the identification of this species to John LaPolla, who compared the images on this page to type material at the USNM.


Wheeler, W. M. 1938. Ants from the caves of Yucatan. Pp. 251-255 in: Pearse, A. S. Fauna of the caves of Yucatan. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Publ. 491:1-304.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 30 times found in tropical moist forest, 24 times found in mature wet forest, 21 times found in montane wet forest, 15 times found in tropical wet forest, 15 times found in 2º wet forest, 9 times found in tropical rainforest, with some big trees, probably a mix of primary and secondary forest, 3 times found in tropical rainforest, 3 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 5 times found in wet forest, 2 times found in lowland rainforest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 104 times ex sifted leaf litter, 24 times at bait, 10 times Hojarasca, 3 times nest under stone, 2 times ex sifted litter, 1 times ex sifted leaf litter and rotten wood, 1 times Nest in dead branch on ground., 1 times nest in clay soil, 1 times nest in chamber on clay bank, 1 times Malaise trap, 1 times LeafLitter, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 78 times MiniWinkler, 21 times MaxiWinkler, 24 times Baiting, 10 times search, 10 times Mini Winkler, 6 times Winkler, 5 times Berlese, 2 times Malaise, 1 times Winkler48h, 1 times berlese funnel, 1 times FIT, ...

Elevations: collected from 50 - 1305 meters, 441 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1985-08-29 00:00:00.0 and 2019-06-29 00:00:00.0

Type specimens:

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