Eciton mexicanum

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Eciton mexicanum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Eciton
Species: E. mexicanum
Binomial name
Eciton mexicanum
Roger, 1863

Eciton mexicanum casent0006116 profile 1.jpg

Eciton mexicanum casent0006116 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Photo Gallery

  • One of the smallest Eciton species is Eciton mexicanum. A soldier patrolling along an emigration column at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Photo by Daniel Kronauer.


Jack Longino:

Minor worker: head and mesosoma maroon, metasoma somewhat lighter yellow brown; occipital tooth present; petiolar teeth fused, forming a bilobed scoop-like structure, with a single median carina extending down the posterior face of propodeum; petiole long and low, subrectangular, occasionally with a low anterodorsal rim; fourth abdominal tergite with short, sparse appressed pubescence beneath erect setae.

Major worker: face densely micropunctate, matte; long sickle-shaped mandibles simple, without tooth on inner margin; other characters as in minor.


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 23.68° to -23.4°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (type locality), Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela.

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.


Baudier et al. (2015) studied thermal tolerances of a variety of army ant workers. Eciton mexicanum was one of a number of army ant species sampled with a life history that includes both below and above ground activities.

Jack Longio: This species can be found in dry forest or wet forest, from sea level to montane areas.

Raiding is always in columns, never in a carpet like Eciton burchellii. Many of the raiding columns I have observed have been at night, showing a tendency to be nocturnal, but I also encounter columns during the day. The few times I have encountered prey they have been large ponerines in the genera Ectatomma and Pachycondyla and relatives.

O'Donnell et al. (2020) report this species foraging both day and night.

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 associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Ecitophora bruchi (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Ecitophora collegiana (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Ecitophora pilosula (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Ecitophora sp. (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Ecitoptera concomitans (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Thalloptera schwarzmaieri (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a prey for the phorid fly Dohrniphora ecitophila (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).


. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Images from AntWeb

Eciton mexicanum casent0006117 head 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0006117 profile 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0006117 dorsal 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0006117 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0006117. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Eciton mexicanum casent0006118 head 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0006118 profile 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0006118 dorsal 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0006118 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0006118. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Eciton mexicanum casent0178720 head 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0178720 profile 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0178720 dorsal 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0178720 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0178720. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MIZA, Maracay, Venezuela.
Eciton mexicanum casent0178721 head 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0178721 profile 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0178721 dorsal 1.jpgEciton mexicanum casent0178721 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0178721. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MIZA, Maracay, Venezuela.


Relationships among species of Eciton based on Winston et al. (2016). The species Eciton jansoni, Eciton quadriglume, Eciton setigaster and Eciton uncinatum were not included in this study.


Eciton dulcium

Eciton vagans

Eciton quadriglume

Eciton rapax

Eciton mexicanum

Eciton lucanoides

Eciton burchellii

Eciton drepanophorum

Eciton hamatum


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

  • mexicanum. Eciton mexicana Roger, 1863a: 205 (w.) MEXICO (no state data).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Mexico: (no further data).
    • [Note: locality provided by Borgmeier, 1955: 257, Mexico: Chiapas, Escuintla, 3-4.iv.1945 (Schneirla), is not based on type-material and is not the type-locality.]
    • Type-depository: MNHU.
    • Emery, 1894c: 178 (s.); Borgmeier, 1933a: 92 (q., as rogeri); Borgmeier, 1955: 252 (m.).
    • Status as species: Roger, 1863b: 36; Mayr, 1863: 459; Mayr, 1865: 77 (in key); Norton, 1868a: 62; Norton, 1868b: 45; Norton, 1868c: 7; Mayr, 1886b: 117 (in key); Emery, 1890b: 38; Dalla Torre, 1893: 4; Emery, 1894c: 178; Emery, 1894k: 45; Emery, 1896g: 33; Forel, 1899c: 27; Smith, M.R. 1931a: 16; Borgmeier, 1955: 250 (redescription); Kempf, 1961b: 486; Kempf, 1970b: 323; Kempf, 1972a: 102; Watkins, 1976: 9 (in key); Watkins, 1982: 209 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 185; Palacio, 1999: 151 (in key); Wild, 2007b: 25; Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 254; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 109; Palacio, 2019: 601.
    • Senior synonym of rogeri: Borgmeier, 1955: 250; Kempf, 1972a: 103; Bolton, 1995b: 185.
    • Distribution: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus argentinum, goianum, latidens, moralum, panamense.
  • rogeri. Eciton rogeri Dalla Torre, 1892: 89.
    • Unnecessary replacement name for mexicanum Roger, 1863b: 205.
    • Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 6; Emery, 1894c: 178; Emery, 1896h: 625; Forel, 1899c: 25; Emery, 1900a: 185; Wheeler, W.M. 1907a: 271; Emery, 1910b: 21; Forel, 1911c: 288; Mann, 1916: 420; Borgmeier, 1923: 40; Bruch, 1934b: 125; Borgmeier, 1939: 406.
    • Junior synonym of mexicanum: Borgmeier, 1955: 250; Kempf, 1972a: 103; Bolton, 1995b: 186.

Taxonomic Notes

Jack Longino:

Borgmeier (1955) described a subspecies Eciton mexicanum panamense from central Panama, based on workers and queen. He differentiated panamense from mexicanum s. str. as follows (my translation): "The soldier differs from mexicanum s. str. by the shorter scapes (1.84mm), shorter funiculus, shorter mandible (3mm) and smaller postpetiole (0.56mm broad posteriorly), and by a well developed anteroventral petiolar tooth (also present on the available minor workers, while it is missing or very short on the workers of mexicanum s. str.)." His key to the queens differentiated the forms as follows:

Petiolar horns with approximately parallel sides, dorsal longitudinal sulcus broad and deep: mexicanum s. str.

Petiolar horns tapered posteriorly, dorsal longitudinal sulcus narrow and shallow: panamense.

Borgmeier 1955, Fig 8-9.jpg

The degree of development of the anteroventral petiolar tooth is highly variable among the Costa Rica material I have examined, from nearly absent to well developed. I consider panamense a junior synonym of mexicanum until evidence to the contrary.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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