Azteca chartifex occurs in wet forest habitats. Colonies are polydomous, occurring in clusters of large, pendant carton nests. The carton is dry and paper-like. The nests are never penetrated by epiphytes or other plant roots, and in this regard are very different from the ant gardens of Azteca gnava and Azteca nigra. They can occur in very exposed and highly insolated environments, and seem more abundant in seasonal moist to dry habitats than in weakly seasonal wet forest. (Longino 2007)
A member of the Azteca trigona group. See the group page and keys for identification information.
Keys including this Species
Costa Rica to southern Brazil.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Longino (2007) - I have observed two colonies in Costa Rica, both in the lowland forest of the Osa Peninsula. Both colonies were in regenerating second growth forest. One colony was on a large Inga (Fabaceae) tree and several adjacent Psidium (Myrtaceae) trees. There were about eight large nests within a 10m radius. Individual nests were up to 2m long and tapering. I cut into several nests and dissected one nest thoroughly, finding only workers and larger brood. This particular colony was relatively long-lived: I first observed it in 1990, and when I walked by the same site six years later the colony was still there and looked relatively unchanged. The second colony I observed was a single large nest on a palm trunk, about 10m high. It was in an area of dense vegetation and it is likely there were other nests in the vicinity. Forel's subspecies Azteca chartifex laticeps was collected from a carton nest on Psidium (the Champion series from Chiriquí, Panamá).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- chartifex. Azteca chartifex Forel, in Emery, 1896c: 4 (footnote), fig. 5 (w.) TRINIDAD. Senior synonym of laticeps: Longino, 2007: 23. Current subspecies: nominal plus cearensis, decipiens, lanians, multinida, spiriti, stalactitica.
- laticeps. Azteca chartifex r. laticeps Forel, 1899c: 117 (w.) COSTA RICA. Junior synonym of chartifex: Longino, 2007: 23.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Longino (2007) - (n=5 workers from Costa Rica to Brazil): HLA 0.88 (0.84–0.96), HW 0.97 (0.87–1.05), SL 0.78 (0.64–0.85), CI 108 (100–110), SI 87 (74–89).
Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining, with moderately abundant small piligerous puncta; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level; head with strongly convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; in lateral profile promesonotum forming single strongly protruding convexity, posterior mesonotum dropping abruptly to much lower metanotal groove and dorsal face of propodeum; scape and tibia lacking erect setae; sides and posterior margin of head lacking erect setae; posterior pronotum with conspicuous cluster of 6 or more long erect setae, mesonotum with 0–4 shorter erect setae, dorsal face of propodeum with 4–6 erect setae at variable angles to surface; color and red brown.
- Forel, A. 1896a. [Untitled. Azteca chartifex For. n. sp.]. P. 4 in: Emery, C. Alcune forme nuove del genere |Azteca| Forel e note biologiche. Boll. Mus. Zool. Anat. Comp. R. Univ. Torino 11(230):1-7. (page 4, (footnote), fig. 5 worker described)
- 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.