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Species: Cephalotes varians   (Smith, 1876) 

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Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Cryptocerus varians Smith, 1876d PDF: 606, pl. 11, fig. 6 (w.) CUBA. Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: 4 syntype workers. Primary type locality: Cuba (no further data). Primary type depository: BMNH. Type notes: Smith, 1947a PDF: 33, says incorrectly, “Type-locality. - Antilles; no specific locality cited”, whereas in the original description Smith states, “Hab.-Cuba”. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Combination in Zacryptocerus: Smith, 1979: 1403.
Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 144; Emery, 1894d PDF: 211; Emery, 1895d PDF: 325; Wheeler, 1905c PDF: 102, 128; Wheeler, 1910a PDF: 567; Forel, 1912f PDF: 201; Wheeler, 1913b PDF: 496; Wheeler & Mann, 1914 PDF: 39; Emery, 1915g PDF: 192; Wheeler, 1917g PDF: 461; Mann, 1920b PDF: 430; Mann, 1922 PDF: 34; Emery, 1924f PDF: 312; Smith, 1930a PDF: 4; Wheeler, 1932a PDF: 11; Weber, 1934a PDF: 57; Wheeler, 1937b PDF: 459; Wheeler, 1942 PDF: 212; Smith, 1947a PDF: 30 (redescription); Weber, 1948b PDF: 83; Creighton, 1950a PDF: 298; Smith, 1951c PDF: 825; Smith, 1954c PDF: 8; Kempf, 1958a: 155 (redescription); Smith, 1958c PDF: 135; Wilson, 1964b PDF: 6; Smith, 1967a PDF: 360; Kempf, 1972b PDF: 181; Alayo, 1974 PDF: 40; Wilson, 1976b PDF: 354; Smith, 1979: 1403; Deyrup et al., 1989 PDF: 97; Brandão, 1991 PDF: 389; Bolton, 1995b: 427; Deyrup, 2003 PDF: 44; De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999 PDF: 457 (redescription); Deyrup, 2017: 58.
// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Bahamas, Cuba, United States
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Nearctic, Neotropical

Distribution Notes:

Incomplete list
USA: Florida. Considered native in Fisher & Cover (2007).
Caribbean: Bahamas, Cuba (type locality)


There is some question as to whether the Florida population of C. varians is native (e.g. Deyrup et al., 1988; Deyrup et al., 2000)or introduced (e.g. Wittenborn & Jeschke, 2011). The species is otherwise known only from the Bahamas and Cuba (De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999). Deyrup et al. (2000)refrained from classifying C. varians as introduced to Florida, arguing that the species may have been transported in floating trees, and dislodged mangroves in particular. Non-native Cephalotes species, including the widespread C. pusillus (Klug), are occasionally intercepted at US ports of entry.


De Andrade, M.L. & Baroni Urbani, C. (1999) Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present. Stuttg. Beitr. Naturkd. Ser. B (Geol. Palaontol.), 271, 1-889.

Deyrup, M., Carlin, N., Trager, J. & Umphrey, G. (1988) A review of the ants of the Florida Keys. Florida Entomol., 71, 163-176.

Deyrup, M., Davis, L. & Cover, S. (2000) Exotic ants in Florida. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc., 126, 293-326.

Wittenborn, D. & Jeschke, J. (2011) Characteristics of exotic ants in North America. NeoBiota, 10, 47-64.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 11 times found in Mangrove swamp, 1 times found in dry thorn scrub, 1 times found in tropical dry forest, 1 times found in karst forest.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 38 times nest in twig above ground, 11 times dead twig above ground, 6 times beating vegetation, 1 times nest in small bamboo, 3 times sifting leaf litter, 1 times hand collections, 1 times ex dead twig Cassia, 1 times litter, 1 times in twig, 1 times ground nest.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 6 times beating, 2 times search, 4 times Winkler, 1 times hand collected, 1 times hand collected|aspirator.

Elevations: collected from 1 - 409 meters, 28 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1927-11-30 00:00:00.0 and 2022-05-16 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: syntype of Cephalotes varians: casent0900251

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