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Species: Octostruma wheeleri   (Mann, 1922) 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2022)

Rhopalothrix (Octostruma) wheeleri Mann, 1922 PDF: 43 (w.) GUATEMALA. Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: holotype worker. Primary type locality: Guatemala: Livingston (Barber & Schwarz). Primary type depository: USNM. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Combination in Octostruma: Brown, 1949f PDF: 92
Status as species: Brown, 1949h PDF: 92; Brown & Kempf, 1960 PDF: 191 (redescription); Kempf, 1972b PDF: 169; Bolton, 1995b: 294; Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012 PDF: 258; Longino, 2013b PDF: 55 (redescription); Fernández & Serna, 2019 PDF: 868.


A cryptic inhabitant of forest floor leaf litter and rotten wood; in Central American lowlands. // Distribution


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

Distribution Notes:

Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama.


Octostruma wheeleri occurs in lowland rainforest, seasonal moist forest, and occasionally in cloud forest habitats. It occurs from sea level to 1100 m elevation, with greatest abundance below 600 m (up to 16% of 1 m2 plot litter samples in quantitative sampling). It is only known from Winkler and Berlese samples of sifted leaf litter.


Face lacking a sharp arcuate carina and differentiated anterior portion; antennal scrobe deep and sharply demarcated with a carinate rim; first and second basalmost teeth of mandible similar in shape, acute; transverse carina between propodeal spines thin and fading medially; labrum apex blunt, not distinctly bilobed; sides of labrum straight and evenly converging; CI > 100; face with at most six spatulate setae; promesonotum never with spatulate setae; face and dorsal pronotum matte but mostly smooth, not rugulose.


Quantitative sampling in Chiapas revealed a sharp parapatric distribution with the highland O. triangulabrum, with a narrow zone of sympatry around 1000 m elevation. At three lowland sites in Chiapas, O. wheeleri occurred in 12%, 11%, and 12% of 100 plot samples, and O. triangulabrum was absent. At Nahá, at 980 m elevation and only 20 km away from one of the lowland sites (Laguna Metzabok at 570 m elevation), O. triangulabrum occurred in 13% of samples and a single O. wheeleri specimen was found.

Specimens from Chiapas to Honduras are uniform with respect to face setae. A worker from Las Marias in eastern Honduras is lacking the posteriomedian pair. The single worker from Hitoy Cerere, Costa Rica, has a single posteromedian pair, lacking the lateral and ocular setae.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 36 times found in tropical moist forest, 26 times found in tropical rainforest, 22 times found in 2º wet forest, 16 times found in lowland wet forest, 14 times found in 2º lowland tropical rainforest, 10 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 9 times found in mature wet forest, 6 times found in montane rainforest, 2 times found in tropical moist forest at night, 1 times found in hi-canopy forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 165 times ex sifted leaf litter, 4 times ex sifted litter, 1 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), 1 times sift under termite nest, 1 times Malaise trap, 1 times litter, 1 times leaf litter forest floor, 1 times leaf litter, 1 times flight intercept trap, 1 times ex sifted litter; 6L sifted litter; extracted in Winkler sack over 20 hours, 1 times ex sifted leaf litter and rotten wood, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 98 times MiniWinkler, 56 times MaxiWinkler, 8 times Berlese, 7 times Winkler, 2 times Night MiniWinkler, 1 times Berlese/Winkler, 1 times Flight Intercept Trap, 1 times Malaise.

Elevations: collected from 50 - 1120 meters, 350 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1969-08-07 00:00:00.0 and 2019-07-03 00:00:00.0

Type specimens:

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