Acromyrmex insinuator

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Acromyrmex insinuator
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acromyrmex
Species: A. insinuator
Binomial name
Acromyrmex insinuator
Schultz, Bekkevold & Boomsma, 1998

MCZ-ENT00511496 Acromyrmex insinuator hal.jpg

MCZ-ENT00511496 Acromyrmex insinuator had.jpg

Type Specimen Label

A social parasite that has been found in colonies of Acromyrmex echinatior and Acromyrmex octospinosus. Despite the ability of queens to integrate themselves into the nests of both of these species, A. insinuator is seemingly only able to successfully rear new reproductives in colonies of A. echinatior.

At a Glance • Social parasite  



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Panama (type locality).

Check distribution from AntMaps.

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Acromyrmex insinuator for further details


This species is a social parasite.

Nehring et al. (2015) - Experiments were performed that included taking queens of the parasite from existing host nests and placing them into a different host nest (both A. echinatior and A. octospinosus host colonies). Parasite queens were initially attacked but many of these queens survived and were eventually accepted in novel host colonies. Aggressive interactions were attenuated when parasite queens were introduced into subcolonies of their original colony or into colonies that already had a parasitic queen present. The cuticular chemical profiles of A. insinuator queens were found to be host colony specific and to contain more nalkanes than host queens. Nalkanes are not generally relevant for nestmate recognition. Overall, the experimental results were suggested to show that A. insinuator queens employ dual, non-exclusive, chemical strategies for invading colonies of their host: chemical insignificance, as evidenced by elevated nalkanes, that allow queens to enter host nests due to the absence of key recognition labels and camouflage, where queens gradually acquire colony specific chemical labels as they become integrated into their host nest.




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • insinuator. Acromyrmex insinuator Schultz, Bekkevold & Boomsma, 1998: 466, figs. 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 (w.q.m.) PANAMA.



  • Buschinger, A. (2009) Social parasitism among ants: a review. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 12: 219-235.
  • Nehring, V., F. R. Dani, S. Turillazzi, J. J. Boomsma, and P. d'Ettorre. 2015. Integration strategies of a leaf-cutting ant social parasite. Animal Behaviour. 108:55-65. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.07.009
  • Schultz, T.R., Bekkevold, D. ; Boomsma, J.J. 1998. Acromyrmex insinuator new species; an incipient social parasite of fungus-growing ants. Insectes Soc. 45(4): 457-471 (page 466, figs. 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 worker, queen, male described)
  • Schultz, T. R.; Solomon, S. A. 2002. [Untitled. Cyphomyrmex muelleri Schultz and Solomon, new species.] Pp. 336-337 in: Schultz, T. R.; Solomon, S. A.; Mueller, U. G.; Villesen, P.; Boomsma, J. J.; Adams, R.