Mycetomoellerius zeteki

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Mycetomoellerius zeteki
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Mycetomoellerius
Species: M. zeteki
Binomial name
Mycetomoellerius zeteki
(Weber, 1940)

Trachymyrmex zeteki casent0901695 p 1 high.jpg

Trachymyrmex zeteki casent0901695 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


A fungus growing ant. Weber (1940) found a nest at the slope of a hill in the back of the Barro Colorado island laboratory in dense shade, with a single chamber about 67mm deep in the soil, horizontally elliptical, 42 X 80mm. In 1972, Weber described briefly the population and male flights in the laboratory.

Photo Gallery

  • A Mycetomoellerius zeteki worker encounters a Megalomyrmex adamsae worker within her nest. Megalomyrmex adamsae lives in the fungus garden of Mycetomoellerius and preys selectively on its brood. Although a parasite within the nest, Megalomyrmex adamsae defends the garden from attack. Panama (captive colony at the University of Texas). Photo by Alex Wild.


A member of the Jamaicensis species group. Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão (2007) - See comments for Mycetomoellerius atlanticus. Mycetomoellerius zeteki females share with Mycetomoellerius isthmicus and Mycetomoellerius ixyodus projecting teeth at the anterior margin of the frontal lobes, but differ from females of M. ixyodus by the presence of a single midpronotal denticle, while females of Mycetomoellerius isthmicus show double midpronotal denticles.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 10.43333333° to -0.5833°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


This species is a host for the ant Megalomyrmex adamsae (a xenobiont). Parasitised colonies have reduced host worker and alate numbers, as well as lower garden biomass, compared with non-parasitised colonies, confirming that M. adamsae is a xenobiotic social parasite. However, host queen survival is not significantly different between parasitised and control colonies (Adams et al., 2012).

Association with Other Organisms

  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Acanthopria sp. (a parasite) in Panama (Pérez-Ortega et al., 2010) (ant species as Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki).
  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Mimopriella sp. (a parasite) in Panama (Pérez-Ortega et al., 2010) (ant species as Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki).
  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Oxypria sp. (a parasite) in Panama (Pérez-Ortega et al., 2010) (ant species as Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki).
  • This species is a host for the diapriid wasp Szelenyiopria sp. (a parasite) in Panama (Pérez-Ortega et al., 2010) (ant species as Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki).



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

  • zeteki. Trachymyrmex zeteki Weber, 1940a: 422 (w.) PANAMA.
    • Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão, 2007: 17 (q.).
    • Combination in Mycetomoellerius: Solomon et al., 2019: 948.
    • Senior synonym of balboai: Weber, 1958b: 55.
  • balboai. Trachymyrmex balboai Weber, 1940a: 424 (w.) PANAMA.
    • Junior synonym of zeteki: Weber, 1958b: 55.

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



Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão (2007) - (n = 3). TL 5.0 (4.7–5.2); DHL 1.44 (1.40–1.48); HW 1.44 (1.42–1.48); IFW 0.83 (0.80–0.86); ScL 1.00 (0.97–1.02); HWL 0.85 (0.77–0.92); MeL 1.92 (1.88–1.98); PL 0.44 (0.38–0.49); PPL 0.42; GL 1,33 (1.26–1.42); HfL 2.01 (1.97–2.05).

Ferruginous. Integument opaque and finely granulose. Pilosity: bristly spatulate dark hairs with lighter tips, confined to body projections; short, strongly curved and hook-like hairs in other parts of the body.

Trachymyrmex zeteki worker. Mayhe-Nunes and Brandao 2007. Figs. 23-26

Head in full face view (Fig. 23) as long as broad (DCI average 100; 99–101). Outer border of mandible feebly sinuous; chewing border with 8 teeth, with a diastema between the second and third teeth, the last six approximately of the same size, smaller than apical and sub-apical teeth. Clypeus median apron without projections. Frontal area impressed. Frontal lobe semicircular, moderately expanded (FLI average 57; 56–58), with weakly crenate free border and one prominent denticle on the antero-lateral border. Frontal carina marked, moderately diverging caudad, reaching the antennal scrobe posterior end in a single tooth at the vertexal margin; preocular carina posteriorly ending in one multituberculated and stout tubercle, with the tip outwards directed near the posterior margin of head. Occipital spine almost as long as preocular carina projection. Supraocular projection tuberculiform. Inferior corner of occiput, in side view, with a minute tooth. Eye faintly convex, only its anterior half surpassing the lateral border of head; 11 facets in a row across the greatest diameter. Antennal scape short, when lodged in the scrobe not surpassing the tip of the preocular carina projection; gradually thickened towards apex, covered with small piligerous tubercles.

Mesosoma (Figs. 24, 25). Pronotal dorsum marginate in front and on sides; antero-inferior corner with a small triangular and acute flattened spine; inferior margin weakly crenulated; median pronotal tooth with bifid tip, projected bellow the tip of the longer lateral pronotal spines, which point obliquely upwards from the pronotum, in frontal view. Anterior pair of mesonotal spines almost as long and stout as the lateral pronotal projections, directed upwards; the second pair smaller, but spine-like and longer than the tooth-like third pair. Anterior margin of katepisternun smooth, without a projecting tooth. Metanotal constriction very impressed. Basal face of propodeum laterally marginated by a row of 3–4 denticles on each side; propodeal spines longer than the distance between their inner bases. Hind femora a little longer than mesosoma length.

Waist and gaster (Fig. 26). Dorsum of petiolar node with two pairs of minute spines, the sides subparallel in dorsal view, with a series of lateral denticles. Postpetiole almost as long as broad in dorsal view, and impressed dorsally, with straight postero-dorsal border; sternum without sagital keel. Gaster, when seen from above, suboval. Tergum I with straight lateral faces separated from the dorsal face by a longitudinal row of piligerous tubercles; anterior two thirds of gaster dorsum with three piligerous shallow longitudinal furrows, separated by a pair of tubercles rows. Sternum I without an anterior sagital keel.


Trachymyrmex zeteki queen. Mayhe-Nunes and Brandao 2007. Figs. 27-28

Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão (2007) - (Figs. 27, 28): TL 6.9; DHL 1.74; HW 1.63; IFW 1.02; ScL 1.14; HWL 1.05; MeL 2.43; PL 0.68; PPL 0.57; GL 2.17; HfL 2.20.

Resembling the worker with the usual caste differences. The median anterior ocellus without a down curved ridge above, and the two lateral ones partially concealed by the longitudinal carinae of vertex. Pronotum with a pair of strong and acute scapular spines on each side, directed out and forwards, the inferior ones pointed down and forwards. Mesoscutum surmounted by conspicuous tubercles, but without notable dorsal projections, superficially impressed on posterior region, with a median notch in the middle of anterior margin in dorsal view. Shallowly impressed parapses delimited by the conspicuous parapsidial furrows; dorsum of mesothoracic paraptera more or less impressed, oblique in relation to scutellum dorsum in side view, with a narrow median portion when seen from above; scutellum ending in a pair of moderately stout and acute spines, directed backwards, with the sides converging obliquely inwards; metathoracic paraptera concealed by the scutellum in dorsal view; propodeal spiracle orifices on a tubercular projection. Two massive and acute spines on propodeum, longer than pronotal ones. Petiolar dorsum with two pairs of minute teeth near the anterior and posterior margins. First gastric tergite with a longitudinal ridge on each side; disk with two longitudinal series of small piligerous tubercles, absent in the middle of the segment. Wings unknown.

Type Material

Mayhé-Nunes & Brandão (2007) - Syntype worker: PANAMA Canal Zone, Barro Colorado Island,, N. A. Weber leg., 1 worker (“cotype” # 59827 deposited in National Museum of Natural History).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Kaspari M., D. Donoso, J. A. Lucas, T. Zumbusch, and A. D. Kay. 2012. Using nutritional ecology to predict community structure: a field test in Neotropical ants. Ecosphere 3(11): art.93.
  • 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., J. Coddington, and R. K. Colwell. 2002. The ant fauna of a tropical rain forest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83: 689-702.
  • 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
  • Mayhe-Nunes A. J., and C. R. F. Brandao. 2007. Revisionary studies on the attine ant genus Trachymyrmex Forel. Part 3: The Jamaicensis group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1444: 1-21.
  • 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.
  • Vergara-Navarro E. V., and F. Serna. 2013. A checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the department of Antioquia, Colombia and new records for the country. Agronomía Colombiana 31(3): 324-342.
  • Weber N. A. 1940. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part VI. Key to Cyphomyrmex, new Attini and a new guest ant. Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 11: 406-427.
  • Weber N. A. 1941. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part VII. The Barro Colorado Island, Canal Zone, species. Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 12: 93-130.
  • Weber N. A. 1958. Nomenclatural changes in Trachymyrmex (Hym.: Formicidae). Entomological News 69: 49-55.