Longino (2007) - Azteca alfari is an obligate Cecropia ant. It is the most widespread of the Cecropia ants, extending into the subtropics at both ends of its range. Throughout the range it is the Cecropia ant most likely to be found in open or highly disturbed areas. Founding queens are frequent in Cecropia saplings. As trees grow and form multiple branches, the nests become polydomous. Workers and brood are dispersed in branch tips, and the bole and inner portions of branches are progressively abandoned (Longino 1991a). Workers vary in aggressiveness geographically and over time. Workers in young colonies are usually aggressive, but in many cases workers in mature colonies are less aggressive, retreating inside of stems on disturbance (Longino 1991a).
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
Longino (2007) - Azteca alfari is most similar to Azteca ovaticeps. See differentiating characters in key and under A. ovaticeps. Workers of A. alfari may also be confused with workers of Azteca forelii. Mandibles of A. alfari workers are smooth and shiny; mandibles of A. forelii workers are roughened and dull.
Keys including this Species
Central Mexico to northern Argentina.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica (type locality), Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
De Oliveira et al. (2015) studied Cecropia diversity and ant occupancy of Ceropia by ants in southwest Bahia, Brazil. Azteca alfari was by far the commonest ant species, being found in 52% (273 trees) of the Cecropia examined. This ant was predominant in rainforest and was not found above 600 m or in dry forest.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- alfari. Azteca alfari Emery, 1893b: 138, pl. 2, figs. 48, 49 (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Emery, 1896c: 3 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1951: 192 (l.). Senior synonym of breviscapa, cecropiae, curtiscapa, fumaticeps, langi, lucidula, lynchi (and its junior synonym argentina), mixta, virens and material of the unavailable name zonalis referred here: Longino, 1989: 5; senior synonym of bicolor: Longino, 1992: 1575. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 215; Longino, 2007: 15. [Note: in the older literature the name of this taxon is frequently misspelled as alfaroi, for example Emery, 1896c: 4; Forel, 1899c: 113.]
- bicolor. Azteca bicolor Emery, 1893b: 141, pl. 2, figs. 54-60 (s.w.q.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1992: 1575.
- lucidula. Azteca alfaroi r. lucidula Forel, 1899c: 113 (w.q.m.) GUATEMALA. Raised to species: Forel, 1912h: 51. Subspecies of alfari: Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 222; Kempf, 1972a; 29. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- virens. Azteca virens Forel, 1899c: 115 (footnote) (w.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- cecropiae. Azteca alfari r. cecropiae Forel, 1906d: 240 (w.) BRAZIL. Forel, 1908c: 387 (q.m.). See also: Forel, 1912h: 51; Stitz, 1913: 212. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- mixta. Azteca alfari var. mixta Forel, 1908c: 386 (w.q.m.) PARAGUAY. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- fumaticeps. Azteca alfaroi var. fumaticeps Forel, 1909a: 250 (w.) MEXICO. Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 218 (q.). Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- breviscapa. Azteca foreli r. breviscapa Forel, 1912h: 51 (w.) COSTA RICA. [First available use of Azteca foreli r. championi var. breviscapa Forel, 1899c: 112; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- curtiscapa. Azteca alfari var. curtiscapa Forel, 1912h: 51 (w.q.) COSTA RICA. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- argentina. Azteca alfari var. argentina Forel, 1914d: 287 (w.) ARGENTINA. Gallardo, 1916a: 115 (q.). Junior synonym of lynchi: Bruch, 1915: 534; Gallardo, 1915: 20.
- lynchi. Azteca lynchi Brèthes, 1914a: 93 (w.) BOLIVIA. Subspecies of alfari: Bruch, 1915: 534. Senior synonym of argentina: Bruch, 1915: 534; Gallardo, 1915: 20. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
- langi. Azteca alfari var. langi Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 218 (w.q.m.) GUYANA. Junior synonym of alfari: Longino, 1989: 5.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Longino (2007) - (n=13): HLA 0.99 (0.80–1.24), HW 0.88 (0.72–1.07), SL 0.60 (0.53–0.72), CI 91 (86–94), SI 62 (58–69).
Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible largely smooth, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta short, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level, medial lobe at most weakly projecting beyond lateral lobes; head with convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; mesosoma in lateral profile with promesonotum forming a continuous convexity or mesonotum somewhat elevated above pronotum; posterior mesonotum drops gradually to narrow metanotal groove such that posterior mesonotum, metanotal groove, and dorsal face of propodeum form a broad, shallow V (dorsal face of propodeum and broad metanotal groove do not form flat, step-like junction with posterior mesonotum); scape and tibia lacking setae, sides of head lacking setae, posterior margin of head with sparse to abundant erect setae, pronotum, mesonotum, and dorsal face of propodeum with conspicuous erect setae, mesonotum usually with about 8 erect setae of relatively uniform length (range 2–17; contrast with A. ovaticeps); color brown to yellow.
Longino (2007) - (n=21): HLA 1.62 (1.51–1.69), HW 1.32 (1.26–1.43), SL 0.76 (0.71–0.85), CI 83 (80–86), SI 47 (45–51).
Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible largely smooth, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta short, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level (medial lobe not projecting anteriorly); head weakly quadrate; petiolar node acute, triangular, neither strongly flattened nor bluntly rounded; posteroventral petiolar lobe well-developed, evenly convex; scape and tibia lacking setae, sides of head lacking setae, posterior margin of head with abundant curved setae, pronotum with posterior row of curved setae, mesoscutum with sparse setae, scutellum and propodeum with more abundant setae, petiolar node with cluster of erect setae, third abdominal tergum with abundant erect setae, fourth and fifth abdominal terga with 0–6 erect setae exclusive of posterior row; color light red brown to black.
Longino (2007) - Lectotype worker: Jiménez, Atlantic slope, Costa Rica (Alfaro) Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa (examined).
- Emery, C. 1893l. Studio monografico sul genere Azteca Forel. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (5)3:119-152 (page 138, pl. 2, figs. 48, 49 soldier, worker described)
- Emery, C. 1896b. Alcune forme nuove del genere Azteca For. e note biologiche. Boll. Mus. Zool. Anat. Comp. R. Univ. Torino 11(2 230: 1-7 (page 3, queen described)
- Longino, J. T. 1989b. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting ants in the Azteca alfari species group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): evidence for two broadly sympatric species. Contr. Sci. (Los Angel.) 412: 1-16 (page 5, senior synonym of breviscapa, cecropiae, curtiscapa, fumaticeps, langi, lucidula, lynchi (and it junior synonym argentina), mixta, virens, and material of the unavailable name zonalis referred here.)
- Longino, J. T. 1991a. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting Azteca ants. J. Nat. Hist. 2 25: 1571-1602 (page 1575, senior synonym of bicolor)
- Longino, J.T. 2007. A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group. Zootaxa. 1491:1-63. PDF
- de Oliveira, G. V., M. M. Correa, I. M. A. Goes, A. F. P. Machado, R. J. de Sa-Neto, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2015. Interactions between Cecropia (Urticaceae) and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along a longitudinal east-west transect in the Brazilian Northeast. Annales De La Societe Entomologique De France. 51:153-160. doi:10.1080/00379271.2015.1061231
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1951. The ant larvae of the subfamily Dolichoderinae. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 53: 169-210 (page 192, larva described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1942. Studies of Neotropical ant-plants and their ants. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 90: 1-262 (page 215, see also)