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Genus: Eciton   Latreille, 1804 


Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Extant: 12 valid species, 17 valid subspecies

Eciton Latreille, 1804: 179. Type-species: Formica hamata, by subsequent designation of Shuckard, 1840e PDF: 173. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Eciton in Formicariae: Latreille, 1804: 179; Latreille, 1809 PDF: 129.
Eciton in Poneridae, Myrmicidae: Smith, 1858a PDF: 148.
Eciton in Myrmicinae: Mayr, 1865 PDF: 17 [Myrmicidae]; Cresson, 1887 PDF: 259 [Myrmicidae].
Eciton as junior synonym of Atta: Latreille, 1809 PDF: 128; Leach, 1815: 147.
Eciton as genus: all authors except Latreille, 1809 PDF: 128; Leach, 1815: 147.
Genus Eciton references
Smith, 1858a PDF: 148 (diagnosis); Mayr, 1865 PDF: 17, 77 (diagnosis, all species key); Mayr, 1886b PDF: 115 (all species key); Emery, 1900e: 176 (all species, males key); Emery, 1910b PDF: 17, 19 (diagnosis, subgenera key); Gallardo, 1920 PDF: 312 (Argentina species key); Borgmeier, 1955 PDF: 162, 175 (diagnosis, all species revision, key); Watkins, 1976 PDF: 9 (all species key); Watkins, 1982 PDF: 209 (Mexico species key); Billen, 1986b: 170 (Dufour's gland); Bolton, 1995a PDF: 1049 (census); Palacio, 1999: 151 (Colombia species key); Brady et al., 2014 10.1186/1471-2148-14-93 PDF: 4 (phylogeny); Baccaro et al., 2015 10.5281/zenodo.32912 PDF: 156 (genus in Brazil); Borowiec, 2016 10.3897/zookeys.608.9427 PDF: 129 (diagnosis); Cantone, 2017 PDF: 131 (brief male diagnosis); Palacio, 2019 PDF: 599 (Colombia species key).

Taxon Page Images:

Eciton burchellii bivouac. These army ants form living nests from their own bodies. Maquipucuna reserve, Pichincha, Ecuador.
Image © Alex Wild. // Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Afrotropical, Neotropical
  Native biogeographic regions (according to species list records):


Key to species based on males (translated and adapted from Borgmeier 1955 by B.E. Boudinot)

1 Mandibular apex truncate and rounded ... E. jansoni
- Mandibular apex pointed ...2
2 Mandibles broadest in basal third (mandibles appearing narrow) ... 3
- Mandibles broades in apical half (mandibles appearing broad) ... 5
3 Mandibles more or less straight (and very thin) ... E. burchelli
- Mandibles bent basally ... 4
4 Mandibles long, apical tooth almost straight ... E. dulcius
- Mandibles shorter, apical tooth curved inwards ... E. quadriglurne
5 Subapical tooth small; apical tooth slightly bent ... 6
- Subapical tooth very large; apical tooth bent, hook-shaped ... 8
6 Metasoma with erect bristles ... 7
- Metasoma without erect bristles ... E. vagans
7 Scape with standing setae. Body reddish or rusty yellow; abdominal tergites 3-5 with scattered standing setae ... E. hamatum
- Scape without standing setae. Body blackish brown; tergites 3-5 with setae restricted to a band ... E. setigaster
8 Area between subapical and apical teeth straight ... E. uncinatum
- Area between subapical and apical teeth with broad concavity subtending apical tooth ... E. mexicanum


Borgmeier, T. 1955. Die Wanderameisen der neotropischen Region. Studia Entomologica 3:1-720.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Eciton   Smith, F., 1858, Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae., London: British Museum, pp. -1--1: 148, (download) 148 8127
Eciton   Forel, A., 1893, Formicides de l'Antille St. Vincent. Récoltées par Mons. H. H. Smith., Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1893, pp. 333-418: 369, (download) 369 3948
Eciton   Jerdon, T. C., 1851, A catalogue of the species of ants found in southern India., Madras Journal of Literature and Science 17, pp. 103-127: 111, (download) 111 4764

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