Mycetomoellerius tucumanus

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Mycetomoellerius tucumanus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Mycetomoellerius
Species: M. tucumanus
Binomial name
Mycetomoellerius tucumanus
(Forel, 1914)

Trachymyrmex tucumanus casent0909391 p 1 high.jpg

Trachymyrmex tucumanus casent0909391 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Little is known about the biology of Mycetomoellerius tucumanus.


Mayhe-Nunes and Brandão (2005) - This species falls into same dichotomy with Mycetomoellerius holmgreni in the identification key. Besides differences pointed out in the discussion, M. tucumanus has a distinct shape of the antennal scapes lobes, without marked tip.

Except for the slight differences observed in the synonymized varieties, we did not observe any significant variation in the other studied specimens.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -26.808285° to -34.583333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina (type locality), 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. ‎


Images from AntWeb

Trachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912527 h 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912527 d 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912527 p 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912527 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Acromyrmex iheringi cordovanaWorker. Specimen code casent0912527. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.
Trachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912528 p 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912528 d 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912528 h 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912528 l 1 high.jpg
Type of unavailable quadrinomial: Trachymyrmex tucumanus cordovanus missionensisWorker. Specimen code casent0912528. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.
Trachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912529 h 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912529 p 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912529 d 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912529 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Mycetomoellerius tucumanus fracticornisWorker. Specimen code casent0912529. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.
Trachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912530 p 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912530 d 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912530 h 1 high.jpgTrachymyrmex tucumanus casent0912530 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Mycetomoellerius tucumanus weiseriWorker. Specimen code casent0912530. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.


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

  • tucumanus. Acromyrmex (Trachymyrmex) iheringi var. tucumana Forel, 1914d: 282 (w.) ARGENTINA.
    • Bruch, 1921: 202 (q.).
    • Combination in Trachymyrmex: Gallardo, 1916d: 325.
    • Combination in Mycetomoellerius: Solomon et al., 2019: 948.
    • Status as species: Santschi, 1925e: 164.
    • Senior synonym of cordovanus, fracticornis, weiseri: Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão, 2005: 299.
  • cordovanus. Acromyrmex (Trachymyrmex) iheringi var. cordovana Bruch, 1921: 202 (w.) ARGENTINA. Combination in Trachymyrmex: Kempf, 1972a: 254. Subspecies of tucumanus: Santschi, 1922b: 358. Junior synonym of tucumanus: Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão, 2005: 299.
  • fracticornis. Trachymyrmex tucumana var. fracticornis Santschi, 1925e: 164 (w.) ARGENTINA. Junior synonym of tucumanus: Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão, 2005: 299.
  • weiseri. Trachymyrmex tucumana var. weiseri Santschi, 1925e: 164 (w.) ARGENTINA. Junior synonym of tucumanus: Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão, 2005: 299.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Mayhe-Nunes and Brandão (2005) - TL 3.7-4.2; HL 1.14-1.26; HW 1.02-1.18; IFW 0.62-0.68; ScL 0.85-0.95; TrL 1.40-1.51; HfL 1.26-1.37. Ferruginous to yellowish brown, some specimens with darker gaster. Integument fine and indistinctly shagreened, opaque. Hairs moderately scarce on the body, short and erect or curved on appendages; hook-like mixed with oblique to decumbent hairs on other parts of body.

Head in full view as long as broad (CI 100). Mandible smooth and shining except laterally on base where it is finely transversely striate, and near the masticatory margin, which bears the apical and 6 regularly developed teeth. Frontal lobe sub-triangular, moderately expanded laterad (FLI 58), backwards directed and laterally subdentate; anterior and posterior borders weakly concave. Frontal carina diverging caudad, reaching the apex of scrobe. Front and vertex with small isolated piligerous tubercles. Posterior third of antennal scrobe clearly delimited by the frontal carina but weakly marked by the extension of the preocular ones. Supraocular proection formed by a group of small tubercles. Occiput notched in the middle. Occipital tooth developed as a stout spine-like projection rather microtuberculated. Inferior occipital corner indistinctly emarginated with weak carina. Eye moderately convex, no more than 12 facets in a row across the greatest diameter. Antennal scape weakly surpassing the occipital corner when laid back over head as much as possible; basal lobe transversely enlarged, its lateral projections moderately expanded to both sides; anterior surface surmounted by small tubercles.

Alitrunk. Pronotum with a marked humeral angle; antero-inferior corner armed with a triangular and flattened spine-like projection; lateral spines long; median projections as two small microscopic spines. First pair of mesonotal projections, although a little stouter, similar to pronotal lateral ones; second and third projections represented by two parallel and longitudinal rows of small tubercles. Mesopleura without hairs; blunt to acute triangular projection on superior border of katepisternum (rarely inconspicuous).

Alitrunk weakly constricted dorso-laterally al the shallowly impressed metanotal groove. Basal face of propodeum narrow, laterally delimited by a row of small teeth, sometimes inconspicuous; propodeal spines longer and slender than promesonotal projections.

Waist and gaster. Petiole shortly pedunculate, the node proper as long as broad, with one pair of dorsal bifid teeth; subpetiolar process vestigial. Postpetiole slightly broader than long, shallowly excavated above; postero-dorsal border straight; postero-lateral corners wilhoul projections. Gaster opaque with minute piligerous tubercles more or less distributed in four irregular longitudinal series on tergum I.

Type Material

Mayhe-Nunes and Brandão (2005) - worker: Argentina, Tucuman, Concepcion.

T. tucumana (type) XXI.V.d.3419 Argentina, Tucuman, Chipton col in Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel; not examined (Dietz personal communication). Obs. Collecters name is Shipton in original description.

Syntype workers of the varieites T. tucumanus var. fracticornis and T. tucumanaus var. weiseri in Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo; examined.


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.
  • Cuezzo, F. 1998. Formicidae. Chapter 42 in Morrone J.J., and S. Coscaron (dirs) Biodiversidad de artropodos argentinos: una perspectiva biotaxonomica Ediciones Sur, La Plata. Pages 452-462.
  • Diehl-Fleig E. 2014. Termites and Ants from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Sociobiology (in Press).
  • Forel A. 1909. Ameisen aus Guatemala usw., Paraguay und Argentinien (Hym.). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1909: 239-269.
  • Gallardo A. 1916. Notes systématiques et éthologiques sur les fourmis attines de la République Argentine. Anales del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Buenos Aires 28: 317-344.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • 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
  • Kusnezov N. 1957. Die Solenopsidinen-Gattungen von Südamerika (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger 158: 266-280.
  • Kusnezov N. 1978. Hormigas argentinas: clave para su identificación. Miscelánea. Instituto Miguel Lillo 61:1-147 + 28 pl.
  • Kusnezov, N. "Lista de las hormigas de Tucumán con descripción de dos nuevos géneros (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)." Acta Zoologica Lilloana 13 (1953): 327-339.
  • Mayhé-Nunes A. J., and C. R. F. Brandão. 2005. Revisionary studies on the attine ant genus Trachymyrmex Forel. Part 2: the Iheringi group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 45(2): 271-305.
  • Santoandre S., J. Filloy, G. A. Zurita, and M. I. Bellocq. 2019. Ant taxonomic and functional diversity show differential response to plantation age in two contrasting biomes. Forest Ecology and Management 437: 304-313.
  • Santschi F. 1925. Fourmis des provinces argentines de Santa Fe, Catamarca, Santa Cruz, Córdoba et Los Andes. Comunicaciones del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural "Bernardino Rivadavia" 2: 149-168.
  • Santschi F. 1931. Contribution à l'étude des fourmis de l'Argentine. Anales de la Sociedad Cientifica Argentina. 112: 273-282.
  • Vittar, F. 2008. Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de la Mesopotamia Argentina. INSUGEO Miscelania 17(2):447-466
  • Vittar, F., and F. Cuezzo. "Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de la provincia de Santa Fe, Argentina." Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina (versión On-line ISSN 1851-7471) 67, no. 1-2 (2008).
  • 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.
  • Zolessi L. C. de; Y. P. de Abenante, and M. E. Philippi. 1989. Catálogo sistemático de las especies de Formícidos del Uruguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Montevideo: ORCYT Unesco, 40 + ix pp.
  • de Zolessi, L.C., Y.P. de Abenante and M.E. Philippi. 1987. Lista sistemática de las especies de formícidos del Uruguay. Comunicaciones Zoologicas del Museo de Historia Natural de Montevideo 11(165):1-9