Cyphomyrmex cornutus

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Cyphomyrmex cornutus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Cyphomyrmex
Species: C. cornutus
Binomial name
Cyphomyrmex cornutus
Kempf, 1968

Cyphomyrmex cornutus casent0052778 profile 1.jpg

Cyphomyrmex cornutus casent0052778 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Photo Gallery

  • Cyphomyrmex cornutus grows yeast fungus. Notice that the yeast pebbles are stacked on top of a beetle elytron, which can be found in basically all nests of this species. Photo by Phil Hoenle.


Mera-Rodriguez, et al. (2020) - Cephalic and mesonotal protuberances horn-like; preocular carina curves above eye; frontal lobes broadly expanded, semicircular; pronotum without median paired denticles, humeral prominence weakly developed and postero-lateral tubercle more developed, antero-ventral corner rectangular; and mesonotum with anterior pair of very prominent spines and posterior pair of very low denticles (Kempf 1968).


Mera-Rodriguez, et al. (2020) - Widely distributed across Central and South America: recorded from Veracruz state in Mexico, south to Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, and the Brazilian states of Acre and Bahia. This ample and somewhat disjunct distribution suggests that C. cornutus might have a continuous distribution throughout Central America and northern South America (Adams and Longino 2007; Miranda et al. 2012; Vergara-Navarro and Serna 2013; San- tos et al. 2017).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 18.3212° to -13.342222°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Colombia (type locality), Costa Rica, 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.



Adams et al. (2015) found that workers of Cyphomyrmex costatus, the host of Megalomyrmex mondaboroides and Megalomyrmex silvestrii, react to a sting by Megalomyrmex parasites mainly with submissive behavior, playing dead or retreating. Host submission also followed brief antennal contact. The observed behavior of Cyphomyrmex costatus was similar to that of Cyphomyrmex cornutus, host of Megalomyrmex mondabora, suggesting that the alkaloidal venoms with pyrrolidines from M. mondabora, piperidines from M. mondaboroides, and pyrolizidines from M. silvestrii may function similarly as appeasement and repellent allomones against host ants, despite their different chemical structure. With the use of these chemical weapons, Megalomyrmex thief ants are met with little host resistance and easily exploit host colony resources.

Association with Other Organisms

This species is a host for the ant Megalomyrmex mondabora (a xenobiont) in Costa Rica (Adams et al., 2015).



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

  • cornutus. Cyphomyrmex cornutus Kempf, 1968a: 35, figs. 1-4 (w.q.) COLOMBIA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 27 paratype workers, 4 paratype queens.
    • Type-locality: holotype Colombia: Valle, 3.2 km. E Rio Aguaclara, on Old Cali Road, 19.iii.1967 (R.B. Root & W.L. Brown); paratypes: 19 workers, 3 queens with same data, 8 workers, 1 queen Colombia: Mun. Buenaventura (Bajo Calima), 16-17.iii.1967 (R.B. Root & W.L. Brown).
    • Type-depositories: MCZC (holotype); DZSP, MCZC, MZSP (paratypes).
    • Status as species: Kempf, 1972a: 92; Snelling, R.R. & Longino, 1992: 485; Bolton, 1995b: 167; Fernández & Serna, 2019: 850.
    • Distribution: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana.



  • 2n = 22, karyotype = 10M+12SM (French Guiana) (Mariano et al., 2011).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Adams, R.M.M. and J.T. Longino. 2007. Nesting biology of the arboreal fungus-growing ant Cyphomyrmex cornutus and behavioral interactions with the social-parasitic ant Megalomyrmex mondabora. Insectes Sociaux 54:136-143
  • Bustos H., J. 1994. Contribucion al conocimiento de al fauna de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) del occidente del Departamento de Narino (Colombia). Bol. Mus. Ent. Univ. Valle 2(1,2):19-30
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Fernández F., E. E. Palacio, W. P. Mackay, and E. S. MacKay. 1996. Introducción al estudio de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Colombia. Pp. 349-412 in: Andrade M. G., G. Amat García, and F. Fernández. (eds.) 1996. Insectos de Colombia. Estudios escogidos. Bogotá: Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, 541 pp
  • Fichaux M., B. Bechade, J. Donald, A. Weyna, J. H. C. Delabie, J. Murienne, C. Baraloto, and J. Orivel. 2019. Habitats shape taxonomic and functional composition of Neotropical ant assemblages. Oecologia 189(2): 501-513.
  • 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.
  • INBio Collection (via Gbif)
  • 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
  • Longino J. T. L., and M. G. Branstetter. 2018. The truncated bell: an enigmatic but pervasive elevational diversity pattern in Middle American ants. Ecography 41: 1-12.
  • Longino J. T., and R. K. Colwell. 2011. Density compensation, species composition, and richness of ants on a neotropical elevational gradient. Ecosphere 2(3): 16pp.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at
  • Mariano C. S. F., I. da Silva Santos, S. Groc, C. Leroy, P.-J. Malé, M. X. Ruiz-Gonzales, P. Cerdan, A. Dejean, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2011. Th e karyotypes of Gigantiops destructor (Fabricius) and other ants from French Guiana (Formicidae). Ann. soc. entomol. Fr. (n.s.) 47 (1–2): 140-146
  • Sandoval V. E., and G. Zambrano. 2007. Catálogo de las hormigas presentes en el Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad del Cauca. Taller Editorial de la Universidad del Cauca, Popayán. 60 pp.
  • Snelling R. R., and J. T. Longino. 1992. Revisionary notes on the fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmex, rimosus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini). Pp. 479-494 in: Quintero, D.; Aiello, A. (eds.) 1992. Insects of Panama and Mesoamerica: selected studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, xxii + 692 pp.
  • Solomon S. E., C. Rabeling, J. Sosa-Calvo, C. Lopes, A. Rodrigues, H. L. Vasconcelos, M. Bacci, U. G. Mueller, and T. R. Schultz. 2019. The molecular phylogenetics of Trachymyrmex Forel ants and their fungal cultivars provide insights into the origin and coevolutionary history of ‘higher-attine’ ant agriculture. Systematic Entomology 44: 939–956.