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Species: Dolichoderus bispinosus   (Olivier, 1792) 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2022)

Formica bispinosa Olivier, 1792: 502 (w.) FRENCH GUIANA. Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: holotype (?) worker. Primary type locality: French Guiana: Cayenne (Tugni). Primary type depository: MNHN. Type notes: No indication of number of specimens is given. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Combination in Polyrhachis: Smith, 1858a PDF: 74.
Combination in Hypoclinea: Mayr, 1862 PDF: 708; Mayr, 1863a PDF: 423; Roger, 1863b PDF: 14.
Combination in Monacis: Roger, 1862a PDF: 235; Kempf, 1959c: 240.
Status as species: Latreille, 1802a PDF: 133; Latreille, 1817a: 97; Smith, 1858a PDF: 74; Mayr, 1862 PDF: 708; Smith, 1862b PDF: 31; Roger, 1862a PDF: 235; Roger, 1863b PDF: 14; Mayr, 1863a PDF: 423; Mayr, 1870b PDF: 955 (in key); Mayr, 1884 PDF: 31; Emery, 1890b PDF: 69; Emery, 1890c PDF: 55; Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 158; Emery, 1894d PDF: 232; Emery, 1894l PDF: 61; Forel, 1895b PDF: 107; Forel, 1899b PDF: 98; Forel, 1899j: 274; Wheeler, 1905c PDF: 131; Emery, 1906c PDF: 173; Wheeler, 1907b PDF: 275; Forel, 1907h PDF: 9; Forel, 1908c PDF: 60; Forel, 1908a PDF: 63; Wheeler, 1908a PDF: 149; Forel, 1909a PDF: 260; Emery, 1913a PDF: 9; Forel, 1914e PDF: 12; Mann, 1916 PDF: 461; Wheeler, 1916f PDF: 330; Crawley, 1916b PDF: 374; Santschi, 1916e PDF: 389; Luederwaldt, 1918 PDF: 46; Wheeler, 1922e PDF: 14; Borgmeier, 1923: 81; Wheeler, 1923a PDF: 4; Borgmeier, 1934 PDF: 109; Menozzi, 1935b PDF: 199; Wheeler, 1938 PDF: 252; Santschi, 1939f PDF: 166; Wheeler, 1942 PDF: 213; Kempf, 1959c: 240 (redescription); Kempf, 1961b PDF: 520; Kempf, 1972b PDF: 142; Kempf, 1972g PDF: 253 (in key); Harada, 1987 PDF: 603 (in key); Lattke, 1987b PDF: 263 (in key); MacKay, 1993b PDF: 42 (redescription); Shattuck, 1994 PDF: 44; Bolton, 1995b: 172; Wild, 2007b PDF: 24; Ortiz & Fernández, 2011 PDF: 53; Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012 PDF: 253; Ortega-De Santiago & Vásquez-Bolaños, 2012 PDF: 1008 (in key); Dubovikoff & Coronado-Blanco, 2017 10.1134/S001387381709010X PDF: 1323; Bezděčková et al., 2015 PDF: 108; Guerrero, 2019 PDF: 700.
// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Argentina, Belize, 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:

Mexico south to Uruguay, southern Brazil, northern Argentina; St. Thomas in Virgin Islands. Costa Rica: common in southern Pacific lowlands, becoming less common in northern Pacific lowlands, unknown from Atlantic slope.


Natural History:

From MacKay 1993:

This is one of the most common and widely distributed species in the genus, occurring especially in disturbed habitats (coffee, cacao plantations) in second growth forest, as well as virgin rain forests, up to 2100 meters. They are commonly found during quarantine on banana debris and on orchids. Dolichoderus bispinosus nests in cavities in trees or in hollow logs on the ground and occasionally in carton termite nests on branches of trees (Swain, 1977), especially those of Nasutitermes ephratae, N. columbicus and N. sp. (pers. obs.). This species also nests in myrmecophytes such as Cordia and Tillandsia. Myrmecophiles include cockroachs and thysanurans (both unidentified - Swain, 1977). Dolichoderus bispinosus is polygynous (Kempf, 1959; Swain, 1977); several de-alate females and workers are often found within series. It is also polydomous (Swain, 1977). A mature nest contains thousands of workers and sexuals (Swain, 1977). New nests are formed by fission (Swain, 1977). These ants are very aggressive, especially when the nest is disturbed (Mann, 1916; Wheeler, 1936; pers. obser.). Workers produce a strong odor similar to that of Liometopum spp. when they are disturbed. They look and act similar to Liometopum in the field under such circumstances. They often nest together with Crematogaster limata parabiotica and with Dolichoderus lamellosus. Worker specimens have been collected almost 50 meters inside the mouth of a cave in Yucat n. Workers have been found in extrafloral nectaries of Bixa orellana (Bentley, 1977) and in the facultative, myrmecophytic orchid, Caularthron bilamellatum (Fisher et al., 1990), as well as several other species of plants (Swain, 1977). This species tends scale insects on Prioria, coccids, membracids and rioninid larvae, and are also effective predators, especially of termites (Swain, 1977). They are preyed upon by ant eaters and armadillos. Swain (1977) presents much more detailed information on this species. Sexuals are commonly collected in light traps. Stray sexuals have been collected in Jan. (Venezuela), Apr. (Surinam), May (Mexico, Panama, Venezuela), June (Costa Rica), July (Mexico, Guiana, Venezuela), Aug. (Trinidad, Peru, Venezuela), Aug.-Sept. (Brasil), Sept.-Oct. (Panama) and Oct. (Ecuador). [MacKay Literature Cited]

In the field these may be easily confused with some species of Camponotus subgenus Myrmobrachys, which are of similar size, black, and diurnal. However, they are nothing alike in behavior or odor. Myrmobrachys are generally timid and will flee disturbance, and if they have any odor at all it is a weak acid odor. Dolichoderus bispinosus workers are extremely pugnacious, aggressively defending resources and nest areas. Workers will quickly run onto your hand and bite. They have a strong chemical defense that imparts a characteristic odor. This distinctive odor is shared with many other groups in the Dolichoderinae, including Azteca, Tapinoma, Dorymyrmex, and some but not all other species of Dolichoderus. Workers are very fond of carbohydrate resources and will cluster around extrafloral nectaries, aggregations of membracids, and Coccoidea. Some riodinid butterflies with myrmecophilous larvae have a specialized association with D. bispinosus. For example, adult females of Juditha molpe search for aggregations of D. bispinosus as oviposition sites. Larvae can be found on a wide variety of host plants, the common factor being the presence of extrafloral nectaries or other carbohydrate sources at which D. bispinosus have gathered. The butterfly is an ant specialist rather than a plant specialist!

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Dolichoderus bispinosus   Forel, A., 1908, Fourmis de Costa-Rica, récoltées par M. Paul Biolley., Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 44, pp. 35-72: 60-61, (download) 60-61 4014
Dolichoderus bispinosus   Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 24, (download) 24 21367

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 80 times found in tropical moist forest, 44 times found in 2º wet forest, 47 times found in lowland wet forest, 21 times found in tropical rainforest, 14 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 15 times found in Rainforest, 11 times found in Cafetal, 9 times found in wet forest, 8 times found in mesophil forest, 6 times found in lowland rainforest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 91 times at bait, 82 times beating vegetation, 36 times ex sifted leaf litter, 14 times on low vegetation, 17 times Malaise trap, 3 times strays, 2 times stray foragers, 3 times on hardwood tree, 1 times under loose bark, 1 times column on vegetation, 2 times nocturnal forager, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 91 times Baiting, 82 times Beating, 22 times search, 23 times MiniWinkler, 20 times Red de golpeo, 11 times direct collection, 13 times Malaise, 7 times MaxiWinkler, 7 times Winkler, 6 times beating low vegetation, 4 times hand collecting, ...

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1800 meters, 366 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1915-07-01 00:00:00.0 and 2019-06-22 00:00:00.0

Type specimens:

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