Acromyrmex aspersus

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Acromyrmex aspersus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acromyrmex
Species: A. aspersus
Binomial name
Acromyrmex aspersus
(Smith, F., 1858)

Acromyrmex aspersus casent0904994 p 1 high.jpg

Acromyrmex aspersus casent0904994 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels




Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 4.73898° to -31.632389°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Brazil (type locality), Colombia, Peru.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Explore-icon.png Explore Fungus Growing 
For additional details see Fungus growing ants.

A handful of ant species (approx. 275 out of the known 15,000 species) have developed the ability to cultivate fungus within their nests. In most species the fungus is used as the sole food source for the larvae and is an important resource for the adults as well. Additionally, in a limited number of cases, the fungus is used to construct part of the nest structure but is not as a food source.

These fungus-feeding species are limited to North and South America, extending from the pine barrens of New Jersey, United States, in the north (Trachymyrmex septentrionalis) to the cold deserts in Argentina in the south (several species of Acromyrmex). Species that use fungi in nest construction are known from Europe and Africa (a few species in the genera Crematogaster, Lasius).

The details of fungal cultivation are rich and complex. First, a wide variety of materials are used as substrate for fungus cultivating. The so-called lower genera include species that prefer dead vegetation, seeds, flowers, fruits, insect corpses, and feces, which are collected in the vicinity of their nests. The higher genera include non leaf-cutting species that collect mostly fallen leaflets, fruit, and flowers, as well as the leafcutters that collect fresh leaves from shrubs and trees. Second, while the majority of fungi that are farmed by fungus-feeding ants belong to the family Lepiotaceae, mostly the genera Leucoagaricus and Leucocoprinus, other fungi are also involved. Some species utilise fungi in the family Tricholomataceae while a few others cultivate yeast. The fungi used by the higher genera no longer produce spores. Their fungi produce nutritious and swollen hyphal tips (gongylidia) that grow in bundles called staphylae, to specifically feed the ants. Finally, colony size varies tremendously among these ants. Lower taxa mostly live in inconspicuous nests with 100–1000 individuals and relatively small fungus gardens. Higher taxa, in contrast, live in colonies made of 5–10 million ants that live and work within hundreds of interconnected fungus-bearing chambers in huge subterranean nests. Some colonies are so large, they can be seen from satellite photos, measuring up to 600 m3.

Based on these habits, and taking phylogenetic information into consideration, these ants can be divided into six biologically distinct agricultural systems (with a list of genera involved in each category):

Nest Construction

A limited number of species that use fungi in the construction of their nests.

Lower Agriculture

Practiced by species in the majority of fungus-feeding genera, including those thought to retain more primitive features, which cultivate a wide range of fungal species in the tribe Leucocoprineae.

Coral Fungus Agriculture

Practiced by species in the Apterostigma pilosum species-group, which cultivate fungi within the Pterulaceae.

Yeast Agriculture

Practiced by species within the Cyphomyrmex rimosus species-group, which cultivate a distinct clade of leucocoprineaceous fungi derived from the lower attine fungi.

Generalized Higher Agriculture

Practiced by species in several genera of non-leaf-cutting "higher attine" ants, which cultivate a distinct clade of leucocoprineaceous fungi separately derived from the lower attine fungi.

Leaf-Cutter Agriculture

A subdivision of higher attine agriculture practiced by species within several ecologically dominant genera, which cultivate a single highly derived species of higher attine fungus.

Note that the farming habits of Mycetagroicus (4 species) are unknown. Also, while species of Pseudoatta (2 species) are closely related to the fungus-feeding genus Acromyrmex, they are social parasites, living in the nests of their hosts and are not actively involved in fungus growing. ‎

Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • aspersus. Oecodoma aspersa Smith, F. 1858b: 185, pl. 10, fig. 17 (q.) BRAZIL (no state data).
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: (no further data).
    • Type-depository: BMNH.
    • [Misspelled as aspera by Santschi, 1919f: 51.]
    • Emery, 1905c: 49 (w.m.).
    • Combination in Atta: Roger, 1863b: 35;
    • combination in Atta (Acromyrmex): Forel, 1893e: 590;
    • combination in Acromyrmex: Gallardo, 1916d: 328.
    • Junior synonym of octospinosus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 153; Forel, 1893e: 590; Forel, 1899c: 34; Santschi, 1913h: 41.
    • Status as species: Roger, 1863b: 35; Mayr, 1863: 437; Emery, 1905c: 48; Emery, 1906c: 165; Forel, 1911c: 292; Mann, 1916: 454; Gallardo, 1916d: 328; Luederwaldt, 1918: 38; Santschi, 1919f: 51; Emery, 1924d: 348; Santschi, 1925a: 391 (in key); Santschi, 1925d: 242; Borgmeier, 1927c: 129; Bruch, 1928: 346; Weber, 1938b: 205; Kusnezov, 1956: 35 (in key); Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Cherrett & Cherrett, 1989: 50; Bolton, 1995b: 54; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 114; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43 (redescription); Fernández & Serna, 2019: 833.
    • Senior synonym of affinis: Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 54; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
    • Senior synonym of fuhrmanni: Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
    • Senior synonym of inquirens: Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 54; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
    • Senior synonym of mesonotalis: Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 54; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
    • Material of the unavailable name clarus referred here by Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 54.
    • Distribution: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru.
  • affinis. Acromyrmex aspersus var. affinis Santschi, 1925a: 369 (w.) BRAZIL (Paraná).
    • Type-material: 3 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Paraná, Castro (H. von Ihering).
    • Type-depository: MHNG (perhaps also NHMB).
    • Subspecies of aspersus: Santschi, 1925d: 243; Borgmeier, 1927c: 129.
    • Junior synonym of aspersus: Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 54; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
  • fuhrmanni. Atta (Acromyrmex) mesonotalis var. fuhrmanni Forel, 1914e: 10 (w.) COLOMBIA.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Colombia: Antioquia, Laguna, above Medellin, 2300 m. (O. Fuhrmann).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Combination in Acromyrmex: Emery, 1924d: 349.
    • Subspecies of mesonotalis: Emery, 1924d: 349.
    • Subspecies of aspersus: Santschi, 1925a: 369; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55.
    • Junior synonym of aspersus: Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
  • inquirens. Atta (Acromyrmex) mesonotalis var. inquirens Forel, 1914e: 11 (w.) BRAZIL (São Paulo).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: São Paulo (H. von Ihering).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Santschi, 1925d: 243; Borgmeier, 1927c: 130.
    • Subspecies of mesonotalis: Emery, 1924d: 349.
    • Subspecies of aspersus: Santschi, 1925a: 368.
    • Junior synonym of aspersus: Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.
  • mesonotalis. Atta (Acromyrmex) mesonotalis Emery, 1905c: 46, fig. 8 (w.) PERU.
    • Type-material: 2 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Peru: Marcapata (no collector’s name) (from Staudinger & Bang-Haas).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • [Misspelled as mesonodotalis by Luederwaldt, 1918: 38.]
    • Combination in Acromyrmex: Luederwaldt, 1918: 38.
    • Status as species: Forel, 1908c: 351; Luederwaldt, 1918: 38; Emery, 1924d: 349.
    • Subspecies of aspersus: Santschi, 1925a: 391 (in key); Santschi, 1925d: 242; Borgmeier, 1927c: 130.
    • Junior synonym of aspersus: Gonçalves, 1961: 132; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 56; Fernández, et al. 2015: 43.



  • 2n = 38, karyotype = 8M+10SM+16ST+4A (Brazil) (Teixeira et al., 2017).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bestelmeyer B. T., and J. A. Wiens. 1996. The Effects of Land Use on the Structure of Ground-Foraging Ant Communities in the Argentine Chaco. Ecological Applications 6(4): 1225-40.
  • Bezdeckova K., P. Bedecka, and I. Machar. 2015. A checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Peru. Zootaxa 4020 (1): 101–133.
  • Bruch C. 1928. Estudios mirmecológicos. Anales del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Buenos Aires 34: 341-360.
  • Cuezzo, F. 1998. Formicidae. Chapter 42 in Morrone J.J., and S. Coscaron (dirs) Biodiversidad de artropodos argentinos: una perspectiva biotaxonomica Ediciones Sur, La Plata. Pages 452-462.
  • Diehl E., and E. Z. Albuquerque. 2007. Representantes das quatro provincias geomorfologicas do Rio Grande do Sul na colecao de Formicidae do laboratorio de insectos sociais da unisinos. Biológico, São Paulo 69(2): 101-104.
  • Emery C. 1906. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. XXVI. Bullettino della Società Entomologica Italiana 37: 107-194.
  • Farji Brener A. G., and A. Ruggiero. 1994. Leaf-cutting ants (Atta and Acromyrmex) inhabiting Argentina: patterns in species richness and geographical range sizes. Journal of Biogeography 21(4): 391-399.
  • Fernández F., V. Castro-Huertas, and F. Serna. 2015. Hormigas cortadoras de hojas de Colombia: Acromyrmex & Atta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Fauna de Colombia, Monografía No.5. Bogotá D.C., Colombia: Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 350 pp.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Forel A. 1908. Ameisen aus Sao Paulo (Brasilien), Paraguay etc. gesammelt von Prof. Herm. v. Ihering, Dr. Lutz, Dr. Fiebrig, etc. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 58: 340-418.
  • Forel A. 1911. Ameisen des Herrn Prof. v. Ihering aus Brasilien (Sao Paulo usw.) nebst einigen anderen aus Südamerika und Afrika (Hym.). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1911: 285-312.
  • Forel A. 1914. Quelques fourmis de Colombie. Pp. 9-14 in: Fuhrmann, O.; Mayor, E. 1914. Voyage d'exploration scientifique en Colombie. Mémoires de la Société Neuchâteloise des Sciences Naturelles 5(2): 1-1090.
  • Gonçalves C. R. 1961. O genero Acromyrmex no Brasil (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. 4: 113-180.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Kusnezov N. 1953. La fauna mirmecológica de Bolivia. Folia Universitaria. Cochabamba 6: 211-229.
  • Kusnezov N. 1956. Claves para la identificación de las hormigas de la fauna argentina. Idia 104-105: 1-56.
  • Kusnezov N. 1978. Hormigas argentinas: clave para su identificación. Miscelánea. Instituto Miguel Lillo 61:1-147 + 28 pl.
  • Luederwaldt H. 1918. Notas myrmecologicas. Rev. Mus. Paul. 10: 29-64.
  • Lutinski J. A., B. C. Lopes, and A. B. Morais. 2013. Diversidade de formigas urbanas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de dez cidades do sul do Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 13(3): 332-342.
  • Nascimento Santos M., J. H. C. Delabie, and J. M. Queiroz. 2019. Biodiversity conservation in urban parks: a study of ground-dwelling ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Rio de Janeiro City. Urban Ecosystems
  • Passos L., and P. S. Oliveira. 2002. Ants affect the distribution and performance of Clusia criuva seedlings, a primarily bird-dispersed rainforest tree. Journal of Ecology 90: 517-528.
  • Passos, L. and P.S. Oliveira. 2002. Ants Affect the Distribution and Performance of Seedlings of Clusia criuva, a Primarily Bird-Dispersed Rain Forest Tree. Journal of Ecology 90(3):517-528.
  • Passos, L. and P.S. Oliveira. 2003. Interactions between ants, fruits and seeds in a restinga forest in south-eastern Brazil. Journal of Tropical Ecology 19(3):261-270.
  • Passos, L. and P.S. Oliviera. 2004. Interaction between Ants and Fruits of Guapira opposita (Nyctaginaceae) in a Brazilian Sandy Plain Rainforest: Ant Effects on Seeds and Seedling. Oecologia 139(3):376-382
  • Santos Lopes J. F., N. Martins dos Reis Hallack, T. Archanjo de Sales, M. Silva Brugger, L. F. Ribeiro, I. N. Hastenreiter, and R. da Silva Camargo. 2012. Comparison of the Ant Assemblages in Three Phytophysionomies: Rocky Field, Secondary Forest, and Riparian Forest—A Case Study in the State Park of Ibitipoca, Brazil. Psyche doi:10.1155/2012/928371
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  • de Abreu J. M., and J. H. C. Delabie. 1986. Controle das formigas cortadeiras em plantios de cacau. Revista Theobroma 16(4): 199-211.