Acromyrmex subterraneus

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Acromyrmex subterraneus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acromyrmex
Species: A. subterraneus
Binomial name
Acromyrmex subterraneus
(Forel, 1893)

Acromyrmex subterraneus casent0173804 profile 1.jpg

Acromyrmex subterraneus casent0173804 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This species is parasitized by the inquiline Acromyrmex ameliae.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (type locality), Paraguay.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Pikart et al. (2015) found in aggression experiments that Acromyrmex subterraneus workers were very aggressive to non-nestmate Acromyrmex subterraneus and workers of Acromyrmex subterraneus molestans, Acromyrmex subterraneus brunneus and Acromyrmex niger. Interactions with winged queens of the social parasite Acromyrmex ameliae produced a slightly less aggressive response.


Nickele et al. (2015) studied this species in Paraná, Brazil, both in the field and lab, to elucidate details of their leaf transport. Some of their findings: In Acromyrmex subterraneus cutting and carrying of fragments were clearly separated activities performed by distinct worker groups differing in body size. Cutters were larger than carriers. In addition, the behavior of foragers of differed significantly according to variation in trail distances. On short trails (1 m), cutters frequently transported the fragments directly to the nest, whereas on long trails (more than 10 m), most cutters transferred the fragments to other workers. Transport chains (fragments found on the trail or directly received from nestmates are transported consecutively by different carriers) happened more frequently when workers harvested plants far from the nest. These results demonstrate that Acromyrmex species display both division of labor between cutters and carriers, and task partitioning during leaf transport, with trail lengths showing marked effects on the likelihood of sequential transport. Furthermore, the results of this study provide support for the hypothesis that the behavioral response of transferring fragments in Acromyrmex species would have been selected for because of its positive effect on the information flow between workers.

Fernandes et al. (2018) used A. subterraneus to experimentally examine differences in how myrmecochorous seeds are handled may influence germination.




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

  • subterraneus. Atta (Acromyrmex) subterranea Forel, 1893e: 593 (s.w.q.) BRAZIL. Forel, 1901d: 301 (m.). Subspecies of coronatus: Forel, 1901d: 301; Forel, 1911c: 291; Bruch, 1914: 216. Status as species: Emery, 1905c: 48; Forel, 1912e: 181; Luederwaldt, 1918: 39; Santschi, 1925a: 372; Gonçalves, 1961: 164. Senior synonym of mixtus, purensis: Gonçalves, 1961: 164. Current subspecies: nominal plus brunneus, molestans, ogloblini, peruvianus.
  • purensis. Atta (Acromyrmex) subterranea var. purensis Forel, 1912e: 181 (w.) BRAZIL. Combination in Acromyrmex: Emery, 1924d: 350. Junior synonym of subterraneus: Gonçalves, 1961: 164.
  • mixtus. Acromyrmex subterraneus var. mixtus Santschi, 1925a: 373 (w.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of subterraneus: Gonçalves, 1961: 164.



  • 2n = 38 (Brazil) (Fadini & Pompolo, 1996).


  • Bruch, C. 1914. Catálogo sistemático de los formícidos argentinos. Rev. Mus. La Plata 19: 211-234 (page 216, race/subspecies of coronatus)
  • Calheiros, A.C., Ronque, M.U.V., Oliveira, P.S. 2019. Social organization and subcaste specialization in the Leaf-Cutting Ant Acromyrmex subterraneus (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Journal of Insect Behavior (doi:10.1007/s10905-019-09729-6).
  • De Souza, D. J., I. M. F. Soares and T. M. C. Della Lucia. 2007. Acromyrmex ameliae sp. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A new social parasite of leaf-cutting ants in Brazil. Insect Science. 14:251-257.
  • Emery, C. 1905f. Revisione delle specie del genere Atta appartenenti ai sottogeneri Moellerius e Acromyrmex. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (6)2:39-54 (page 48, status as species)
  • Fernandes, T. V., L. N. Paolucci, F. M. S. Carmo, C. F. Sperber, and R. I. Campos. 2018. Seed manipulation by ants: disentangling the effects of ant behaviours on seed germination. Ecological Entomology. 43:712-718. doi:10.1111/een.12655
  • Forel, A. 1893h. Note sur les Attini. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 586-607 (page 593, soldier, worker, queen described)
  • Forel, A. 1901g. Einige neue Ameisen aus Südbrasilien, Java, Natal und Mossamedes. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 10: 297-311 (page 301, male described, race/subspecies of coronatus)
  • Forel, A. 1911e. Ameisen des Herrn Prof. v. Ihering aus Brasilien (Sao Paulo usw.) nebst einigen anderen aus Südamerika und Afrika (Hym.). Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1911: 285-312 (page 291, race/subspecies of coronatus)
  • Forel, A. 1912f. Formicides néotropiques. Part II. 3me sous-famille Myrmicinae Lep. (Attini, Dacetii, Cryptocerini). Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 19: 179-209 (page 181, status as species)
  • Gomides C.H.F., T.M.C. Della Lucia, F.S. Araujo & D.D.O Moreira 1997. Velocidad de forrajeo y area foliar transportada por la hormiga Acromyrmex subterraneus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Revista de Biologia Tropical 45: 1663-1667.
  • Gonçalves, C. R. 1961. O genero Acromyrmex no Brasil (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. 4: 113-180 (page 164, status as species, senior synonym of mixtus and purensis)
  • Hastenreiter, I. N., T. A. Sales, R. S. Camargo, L. C. Forti, and J. F. S. Lopes. 2015. Use of Seeds as Fungus Garden Substrate Changes the Organization of Labor Among Leaf-Cutting Ant Workers. Neotropical Entomology. 44:351-356. doi:10.1007/s13744-015-0299-0
  • Loiacono, M., Margaria, C., Moreira, D.D.O. & Aquino, D. 2013. A new species of Szelenyiopria Fabritius (Hymenoptera: Diapriidae), larval parasitoid of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Brazil. Zootaxa 3646, 228–234.
  • Luederwaldt, H. 1918. Notas myrmecologicas. Rev. Mus. Paul. 10: 29-64 (page 39, status as species)
  • Nickele, M. A., W. Reis, and M. R. Pie. 2015. Sequential load transport during foraging in Acromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) leaf-cutting ants. Myrmecological News. 21:73-82.
  • Pikart, T. G., P. G. Lemes, W. C. d. C. Morais, J. C. Zanuncio, and T. M. C. Della Lucia. 2015. Recognition and Aggression of conspecific and heterospecific worker in Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus (Forel) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology. 62:28-33. doi:sociobiology.v62i1.28-33 10.13102 sociobiology.v62i1.28-33
  • Santschi, F. 1925a. Revision du genre Acromyrmex Mayr. Rev. Suisse Zool. 31: 355-398 (page 372, status as species)