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Atta cephalotes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Atta
Fabricius, 1804
Type species
Formica cephalotes, now Atta cephalotes
19 species
(Species Checklist)

Atta cephalotes casent0173617 profile 1.jpg

Atta cephalotes

Atta cephalotes casent0173617 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


A genus of fungus growing ants.


Keys including this Genus

Keys to Species in this Genus


World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Atta Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Atta Species Richness.png




Worker Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 11 • Antennal club gradual • Palp formula 4,2 • Total dental count 8-12 • Spur formula 0, 0 • Eyes present • Scrobes absent • Sting present


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

  • ATTA [Myrmicinae: Attini]
    • Atta Fabricius, 1804: 421. Type-species: Formica cephalotes, by subsequent designation of Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 159.
    • Atta senior synonym of Oecodoma: Roger, 1863b: 35.
    • Atta senior synonym of Archeatta: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 832.
    • Atta senior synonym of Archeatta, Epiatta, Neoatta, Palaeatta: Weber, 1958a: 8. [Each subgeneric name has subsequently been resurrected from and returned to synonymy, see under respective entries and in Bolton (1995b, 2003).]
  • ARCHEATTA [junior synonym of Atta]
    • Archeatta Gonçalves, 1942: 342 [as subgenus of Atta]. Type-species: Oecodoma mexicana, by original designation.
    • Archeatta as subgenus of Atta: Borgmeier, 1959b: 350; Kempf, 1972a: 27.
    • Archeatta as junior synonym of Atta: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 832; Weber, 1958a: 8; Bolton, 1994: 105.
  • EPIATTA [junior synonym of Atta]
    • Epiatta Borgmeier, 1950d: 246 [as subgenus of Atta]. Type-species: Oecodoma laevigata, by original designation.
    • Epiatta junior synonym of Atta: Weber, 1958a: 8.
    • Epiatta junior synonym of Neoatta: Borgmeier, 1959b: 358.
    • Epiatta junior synonym of Atta: Bolton, 1994: 105.
  • MYRMEGIS [Nomen nudum]
    • Myrmegis Rafinesque, 1815: 124. Nomen nudum. [Brown, 1973b: 182, placed Myrmegis as a junior synonym of Atta, because the entry in Rafinesque reads, "6. Myrmegis R. Atta Latr."]
  • NEOATTA [junior synonym of Atta]
    • Neoatta Gonçalves, 1942: 346 [as subgenus of Atta]. Type-species: Formica sexdens, by original designation.
    • Neoatta subgenus of Atta: Borgmeier, 1959b: 358; Kempf, 1972a: 27.
    • Neoatta senior synonym of Epiatta: Borgmeier, 1959b: 358.
    • Neoatta junior synonym of Atta: Weber, 1958a: 8; Bolton, 1994: 105.
  • OECODOMA [junior synonym of Atta]
    • Oecodoma Latreille, 1818: 222. Type-species: Formica cephalotes, by subsequent designation of Shuckard, in Swainson & Shuckard, 1840: 174.
    • Oecodoma junior synonym of Atta: Roger, 1863b: 35. [Atta and Oecodoma share the same type-species, synonymy is therefore absolute.]
  • PALAEATTA [junior synonym of Atta]
    • Palaeatta Borgmeier, 1950d: 244 [as subgenus of Atta]. Type-species: Atta bisphaerica, by original designation.
    • Palaeatta subgenus of Atta: Borgmeier, 1959b: 377; Kempf, 1972a: 28.
    • Palaeatta junior synonym of Atta: Weber, 1958a: 8; Bolton, 1994: 105.


  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 384, Atta in Cryptoceridae)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 197, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Borgmeier, T. 1959b. Revision der Gattung Atta Fabricius (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. (n.s.) 2: 321-390 (page 321, Revision of genus)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1973b. A comparison of the Hylean and Congo-West African rain forest ant faunas. Pp. 161-185 in: Meggers, B. J., Ayensu, E. S., Duckworth, W. D. (eds.) Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Wash (page 182, Myrmegis (nomen nudum) referable to Atta)
  • Cherrett, J. M.; Cherrett, F. J. 1989. A bibliography of the leaf-cutting ants, Atta spp. and Acromyrmex spp., up to 1975. Overseas Dev. Nat. Resour. Inst. Bull. 14: 1-58 (page 1, Bibliography)
  • Cresson, E. T. 1887. Synopsis of the families and genera of the Hymenoptera of America, north of Mexico, together with a catalogue of the described species, and bibliography. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc., Suppl. Vol. 1887: 1-351 (page 259, Atta in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 150, Atta in Myrmicinae)
  • Emery, C. 1877b. Saggio di un ordinamento naturale dei Mirmicidei, e considerazioni sulla filogenesi delle formiche. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 9: 67-83 (page 81, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini [Myrmicidae, Attidae])
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 770, Atta in Myrmicinae)
  • Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 42, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Emery, C. 1924f [1922]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 352, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Fabricius, J. C. 1804. Systema Piezatorum secundum ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Brunswick: C. Reichard, xiv + 15-439 + 30 pp. (page 421, Atta as genus)
  • Forel, A. 1893b. Sur la classification de la famille des Formicides, avec remarques synonymiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 161-167 (page 163, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Forel, A. 1899d. Formicidae. [part]. Biol. Cent.-Am. Hym. 3: 25-56 (page 30, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 247, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, A. 1835 [1836]. Histoire naturelle des insectes. Hyménoptères. Tome I. Paris: Roret, 547 pp. (page 172, Atta in Myrmicites)
  • Lofgren, C. S.; Vander Meer, R. K. (eds.) 1986. Fire ants and leaf-cutting ants. Biology and management. Boulder: Westview Press, xv + 435 pp. (page 1, Bibliography)
  • Luiz Carlos Forti, Isabela Maria Piovesan Rinaldi, Roberto da Silva Camargo, and Ricardo Toshio Fujihara. 2012. Predatory Behavior of Canthon virens (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): A Predator of Leafcutter Ants. Psyche, vol. 2012, Article ID 921465 (doi:10.1155/2012/921465).
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 459, Atta in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp. (page 65, Atta in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 18, Atta in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 35, Atta senior synonym of Oecodoma)
  • Smith, F. 1857a. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected at Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore, by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 2: 42-88 (page 77, Atta in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 161, Atta in Poneridae, Attidae)
  • Smith, F. 1871a. A catalogue of the Aculeate Hymenoptera and Ichneumonidae of India and the Eastern Archipelago. With introductory remarks by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 11: 285-348 (page 333, Atta in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Smith, M. R. 1951c. Family Formicidae. Pp. 778-875 in: Muesebeck, C. F., Krombein, K. V., Townes, H. K. (eds.) Hymenoptera of America north of Mexico. Synoptic catalogue. U. S. Dep. Agric. Agric. Monogr. 2:1-1420. (page 832, Atta senior syinonym of Archeatta)
  • Tschinkel, W.R. 2015. The architecture of subterranean ant nests: beauty and mystery underfoot. Journal of Bioeconomics 17:271–291 (DOI 10.1007/s10818-015-9203-6).
  • Weber, N. A. 1958a. Nomenclatural notes on Proatta and Atta (Hym.: Formicidae). Entomol. News 69: 7-13 (page 8, Atta senior synonym of Archeatta, Epiatta, Neoatta, Paleatta)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 141, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1911g. A list of the type species of the genera and subgenera of Formicidae. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 21: 157-175 (page 159, Type-species: Formica cephalotes; by subsequent designation)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 669, Atta in Myrmicinae, Attini)