Acromyrmex hystrix

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Acromyrmex hystrix
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acromyrmex
Species: A. hystrix
Binomial name
Acromyrmex hystrix
(Latreille, 1802)

Acromyrmex hystrix casent0281787 p 1 high.jpg

Acromyrmex hystrix casent0281787 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels




Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 5.25° to -34.92125°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: French Guiana (type locality), Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay.

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. ‎



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

  • hystrix. Formica hystrix Latreille, 1802c: 230, pl. 10, fig. 61 (w.) FRENCH GUIANA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: French Guiana: Cayenne (no collector’s name).
    • Type-depository: unknown (holotype lost (Santschi, 1925a: 357)).
    • Emery, 1888c: 357 (m.).
    • Combination in Myrma: Billberg, 1820: 104;
    • combination in Atta: Haliday, 1836: 328; Roger, 1863b: 35;
    • combination in Oecodoma: Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, 1835: 178; Smith, F. 1858b: 186; Mayr, 1863: 438;
    • combination in Atta (Acromyrmex): Mayr, 1865: 83; Forel, 1885a: 355;
    • combination in Acromyrmex: Santschi, 1925a: 357.
    • Junior synonym of octospinosus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 153; Forel, 1893e: 590; Emery, 1894c: 220; Forel, 1895b: 139; Forel, 1899c: 34; Emery, 1905c: 44; Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 158; Santschi, 1913h: 41; Emery, 1924d: 350.
    • Status as species: Fabricius, 1804: 414; Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, 1835: 178 (redescription); Haliday, 1836: 328; Smith, F. 1858b: 186; Mayr, 1863: 438; Roger, 1863b: 35; Mayr, 1884: 37; Mayr, 1865: 83; Forel, 1885a: 362 (in key); Forel, 1886a: 217; Emery, 1888c: 357; Emery, 1890a: 66. Emery, 1890b: 55; Emery, 1894k: 58; Santschi, 1925a: 357; Borgmeier, 1927c: 132; Santschi, 1939e: 319 (in key); Santschi, 1939f: 164; Weber, 1946b: 153; Gonçalves, 1961: 143; Kempf, 1970b: 337; Kempf, 1972a: 12; Zolessi, et al. 1988: 4; Cherrett & Cherrett, 1989: 50; Brandão, 1991: 323; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 114; Fernández, et al. 2015: 57 (redescription); Fernández & Serna, 2019: 833.
    • Senior synonym of emilii: Santschi, 1925a: 357; Borgmeier, 1927c: 132; Santschi, 1939e: 319 (in key); Gonçalves, 1961: 143; Kempf, 1972a: 12; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 57.
    • Distribution: Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Uruguay.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus ajax.
  • emilii. Atta (Acromyrmex) emilii Forel, 1904c: 32 (w.) BRAZIL (Pará).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Pará, Guamá (E.A. Göldi).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Wheeler, G.C. 1949: 675 (l.).
    • Combination in Acromyrmex: Mann, 1916: 454.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1905c: 44; Mann, 1916: 454; Wheeler, W.M. 1916c: 11; Emery, 1924d: 349.
    • Junior synonym of hystrix: Santschi, 1925a: 357; Borgmeier, 1927c: 132; Santschi, 1939e: 319 (in key); Gonçalves, 1961: 143; Kempf, 1972a: 12; Bolton, 1995b: 55; Fernández, et al. 2015: 51.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • Culebra Mason S., C. Sgarbi, J. Chila Covachina, J. M. Pena, N. Dubrovsky Berensztein, C. Margaria, and M. Ricci. 2017. Acromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae): species distribution patterns in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rev. Mus. Argentino Cienc. Nat. 19(2) 185-199.
  • Dattilo W., R. E. Vicente, R. V. Nunes, and M. Soares Gigliotti Carvalho. 2010. First Record of the Quenquém cisco-da-Amazônia Acromyrmex hystrix (Latreille) (Formicidae: Myrmicinae) for Maranhão State, Brazil. EntomoBrasilis 3 (3): 92-93.
  • Emery C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 22: 38-8
  • Emery C. 1890. Voyage de M. E. Simon au Venezuela (Décembre 1887 - Avril 1888). Formicides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France (6)10: 55-76.
  • Emery C. 1894. Estudios sobre las hormigas de Costa Rica. Anales del Museo Nacional de Costa Rica 1888-1889: 45-64.
  • Escalante Gutiérrez J. A. 1993. Especies de hormigas conocidas del Perú (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Revista Peruana de Entomología 34:1-13.
  • Fernández F., and E. E. Palacio. 1995. Hormigas de Colombia IV: nuevos registros de géneros y especies. Caldasia 17: 587-596.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • 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).
  • Mann W. M. 1916. The Stanford Expedition to Brazil, 1911, John C. Branner, Director. The ants of Brazil. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 60: 399-490
  • Mayhe-Nunes A. J., and K. Jaffe. 1998. On the biogeography of attini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ecotropicos 11(1): 45-54.
  • Overal W. L., A. Y. Harada, and B. M. Mascarenhas. 1997. As formigas. In: ed. P. L. B. Lisboa, 369–379. Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, Brazil.
  • Pires de Prado L., R. M. Feitosa, S. Pinzon Triana, J. A. Munoz Gutierrez, G. X. Rousseau, R. Alves Silva, G. M. Siqueira, C. L. Caldas dos Santos, F. Veras Silva, T. Sanches Ranzani da Silva, A. Casadei-Ferreira, R. Rosa da Silva, and J. Andrade-Silva. 2019. An overview of the ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the state of Maranhao, Brazil. Pap. Avulsos Zool. 59: e20195938.
  • Radoszkowsky O. 1884. Fourmis de Cayenne Française. Trudy Russkago Entomologicheskago Obshchestva 18: 30-39.
  • Santschi F. 1925. Revision du genre Acromyrmex Mayr. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 31: 355-398.
  • Weber N. A. 1946. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part IX. The British Guiana species. Revista de Entomologia (Rio de Janeiro) 17: 114-172.
  • Weber N. A. 1947. Lower Orinoco River fungus-growing ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Attini). Boletín de Entomologia Venezolana 6: 143-161.
  • Wheeler G. C. 1949. The larvae of the fungus-growing ants. Am. Midl. Nat. 40: 664-689.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1916. Ants collected in British Guiana by the expedition of the American Museum of Natural History during 1911. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 35: 1-14.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1937. Mosaics and other anomalies among ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 95 pp.
  • Zolessi L. C. de, Y. P. Abenante, and M. E. de Philippi. 1988. Lista sistematica de las especies de Formicidos del Uruguay. Comun. Zool. Mus. Hist. Nat. Montev. 11: 1-9.