Acromyrmex coronatus

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Acromyrmex coronatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acromyrmex
Species: A. coronatus
Binomial name
Acromyrmex coronatus
(Fabricius, 1804)

Acromyrmex coronatus casent0173792 profile 1.jpg

Acromyrmex coronatus casent0173792 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Subspecies
Synonyms

Acromyrmex coronatus is a montane species found in cloud forest habitats. It is tolerant of cold, wet conditions and colonies can be found in small clearings and gaps in dense cloud forest. Nests are often in or under a piece of dead wood, and often with a superstructure of loose dead leaf fragments. In Monteverde, Costa Rica, it is the main pest in gardens and will come into houses at night to cut bread, cabbage or fruit.

Identification

Distribution

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 17.113222° to -31.648611°.

   
North
Temperate
North
Subtropical
Tropical South
Subtropical
South
Temperate

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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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.
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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.
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Biology

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. ‎

Jack Longino provides the following notes from Costa Rica:

Acromyrmex coronatus is a montane species found in cloud forest habitats and not in the lowlands. It is tolerant of cold, wet conditions and colonies can be found in small clearings and gaps in dense cloud forest. On the transect on the north side of Volcan Barva it has been found at 1100m elevation but not at 500m or 2000m. On the Central Valley side it has been collected at 1600m elevation at Zurqui. In the Monteverde area it occurs in the community area, up to the highest ridges at 1700m, and down to 800m in the Penas Blancas Valley.

In Monteverde, it is the main pest in gardens and will come into houses at night to cut bread, cabbage, or fruit that has been left out. The nests are often in or under a piece of dead wood, and often with a superstructure of loose dead leaf fragments. They do not excavate soil very extensively if at all. They may be arboreal at times, nesting in a low branch junctions of epiphyte-laden trees.

Lisa Ellis, an undergraduate student with the University of California Education Abroad Program in the late 1980's, carried out a study of A. coronatus foraging during the transition from dry to wet season in Monteverde. She found that foraging was continuous at night, but diurnal foraging only occurred when there had been recent rain. Following a heavy rain, diurnal foraging would commence followed by a gradual cessation over a period of a day or two. Periodic rains during the dry season would initiate a short bout of diurnal foraging, but when the rains became more continuous diurnal foraging became continuous. Thus the lack of diurnal foraging during the dry season was a short-term response to immediate environmental conditions and not a long-term change in colony foraging behavior.

Nuptial flights are common in Monteverde and the distinctively-patterned dealate queens are often seen on the roads. On 9 July 1984 I observed a swarm of males in the canopy of an emergent oak on the ridge crest above Monteverde. Hundreds of males were swarming just above the highest branches of the tree. Later in the day I saw many dealate queens on the roads.

I have observed aggregations of founding queens under epiphyte mats in recent treefalls. Several times I have seen dealate queens out cutting leaves, suggesting that queens need to forage to establish a colony.

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.
  • This species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus (a parasite) (phorid.net) (attacked).
  • This species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus pseudocercus (a parasite) (phorid.net) (attacked).
  • This species is a prey for the Microdon fly Microdon triginus (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).

Castes

Images from AntWeb

Acromyrmex coronatus casent0173792 head 1.jpgAcromyrmex coronatus casent0173792 profile 1.jpgAcromyrmex coronatus casent0173792 dorsal 1.jpgAcromyrmex coronatus casent0173792 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0173792. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ALWC, Alex L. Wild Collection.

Images from AntWeb

Acromyrmex coronatus casent0173791 head 1.jpgAcromyrmex coronatus casent0173791 profile 1.jpgAcromyrmex coronatus casent0173791 dorsal 1.jpgAcromyrmex coronatus casent0173791 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0173791. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ALWC, Alex L. Wild Collection.


Nomenclature

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

  • coronatus. Formica coronata Fabricius, 1804: 413 (q.) “South America”.
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: South America: (“Habitat in America meridionali Dom.Smidt. Mus. Dom. de Sehestedt.”) (no further data).
    • Type-depository: ZMUC.
    • [Note: Zimsen, 1964: 426, cites a single specimen ZMUC.]
    • [Misspelled as conorata Forel, 1893e: 600 (in text).]
    • Forel, 1885a: 356 (w.).
    • Combination in Oecodoma: Smith, F. 1858b: 184;
    • combination in Atta: Roger, 1863b: 35;
    • combination in Atta (Acromyrmex): Forel, 1885a: 355;
    • combination in Acromyrmex: Bruch, 1914: 216.
    • Subspecies of hystrix: Forel, 1885a: 355.
    • Subspecies of octospinosus: Emery, in Dalla Torre, 1893: 153 (footnote).
    • Status as species: Smith, F. 1858b: 186; Roger, 1863b: 35; Mayr, 1863: 438; Dalla Torre, 1893: 152, Forel, 1893e: 600 (redescription); Forel, 1895b: 139; Emery, 1896g: 101; Forel, 1899c: 36; Forel, 1901h: 50; Forel, 1904d: 176; Emery, 1905c: 45; Forel, 1905b: 160 (redescription; Forel, 1907e: 2; Forel, 1908e: 69; Forel, 1911c: 290; Forel, 1912e: 182; Mann, 1916: 454; Wheeler, W.M. 1923a: 4; Emery, 1924d: 348; Santschi, 1925a: 359; Wheeler, W.M. 1925a: 37; Santschi, 1925d: 239; Borgmeier, 1927c: 130; Weber, 1937: 407; Weber, 1938b: 204; Weber, 1946b: 151; Kusnezov, 1956: 35 (in key); Kempf, 1960e: 397; Gonçalves, 1961: 134; Kempf, 1970b: 337; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Cherrett & Cherrett, 1989: 50; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Wild, 2007b: 30; Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 257; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 114; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51 (redescription); Fernández & Serna, 2019: 833.
    • Senior synonym of meinerti: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
    • Senior synonym of modesta: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
    • Senior synonym of moelleri: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
    • Senior synonym of ochraceolus: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
    • Material of the unavailable names flavescens, medianus, obscurior, ornatus referred here by Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus andicola, globoculis, importunus, panamensis, rectispinus.
  • meinerti. Atta (Acromyrmex) moelleri st. meinerti Forel, 1893e: 599 (q.) BRAZIL (no state data).
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: (no further data).
    • [Note: Santschi, 1925a: 364, says that 2 workers with same data as the holotype queen are in MHNG, data: Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Serra Vermella (F. Meinert).]
    • Type-depository: unknown (perhaps ZMUC).
    • Emery, 1905c: 45 (w.); Santschi, 1925a: 364 (w.).
    • Combination in Acromyrmex: Forel, 1916: 429.
    • Subspecies of moelleri: Emery, 1905c: 45; Forel, 1912e: 182; Forel, 1916: 429; Crawley, 1916b: 373; Luederwaldt, 1918: 39; Emery, 1924d: 349.
    • Subspecies of coronatus: Forel, 1905b: 161 (in text); Santschi, 1925a: 364; Borgmeier, 1927c: 130.
    • Junior synonym of coronatus: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 56; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
  • modesta. Atta (Acromyrmex) moelleri r. modesta Forel, 1901h: 49 (s.) BRAZIL (Espirito Santo).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Espirito Santo (H. Fruhstorfer).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Combination in Acromyrmex: Luederwaldt, 1918: 39.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Santschi, 1925a: 364; Borgmeier, 1927c: 130.
    • Subspecies of moelleri: Emery, 1905c: 45; Forel, 1908c: 351; Luederwaldt, 1918: 39; Emery, 1924d: 350.
    • Subspecies of coronatus: Santschi, 1925d: 239.
    • Junior synonym of coronatus: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 56; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
  • moelleri. Atta (Acromyrmex) moelleri Forel, 1893e: 596 (s.w.q.m.) BRAZIL (Santa Catarina).
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens, syntype males (numbers not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Santa Catarina, Blumenau (A.Moeller).
    • Type-depositories: MHNG, NHMB (perhaps also ZMUC).
    • [Misspelled as muelleri by Forel, 1895b: 139.]
    • Combination in Acromyrmex: Forel, 1916: 429.
    • Status as species: Forel, 1899c: 35; Forel, 1901h: 50; Forel, 1904c: 34; Emery, 1905c: 44; Forel, 1908c: 351; Forel, 1912e: 182; Luederwaldt, 1918: 39; Emery, 1924d: 349; Wheeler, W.M. 1925a: 37.
    • Subspecies of coronatus: Forel, 1905b: 161 (in text); Santschi, 1925a: 363; Santschi, 1925d: 240; Borgmeier, 1927c: 131.
    • Junior synonym of coronatus: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 56; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.
  • ochraceolus. Acromyrmex coronatus st. ochraceolus Santschi, 1925a: 365.
    • [First available use of Acromyrmex moelleri r. panamensis var. ochraceolus Forel, 1922: 97 (w.) BRAZIL (Rio de Janeiro); unavailable (infrasubspecific) name.]
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Rio de Janeiro (E.A. Göldi).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Subspecies of coronatus: Borgmeier, 1927c: 131.
    • Junior synonym of coronatus: Gonçalves, 1961: 135; ; Kempf, 1972a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 56; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.

Description

Karyotype

  • n = 19, 2n = 38, karyotype = 12M+8SM+16ST+2A (Brazil) (Barros et al., 2016).

References

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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  • INBio Collection (via Gbif)
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  • Klingenberg, C. and C.R.F. Brandao. 2005. The type specimens of fungus growing ants, Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia 45(4):41-50
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  • Weber N. A. 1938. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part IV. Additional new forms. Part V. The Attini of Bolivia. Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 9: 154-206.
  • Wetterer J. K. 1993. Foraging and nesting ecology of a Costa Rican leaf-cutting ant, Acromyrmex volcanus. Psyche (Camb.) 100: 65-76.
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