Rhopalothrix nubilosa

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Rhopalothrix nubilosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Rhopalothrix
Species: R. nubilosa
Binomial name
Rhopalothrix nubilosa
Longino & Boudinot, 2013

Rhopalothrix nubilosa casent0629594 p 1 high.jpg

Rhopalothrix nubilosa casent0629594 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species occurs in cloud forest, at 1500 m elevation. It is known from one site on the Barva Transect in Costa Rica, where it occurred in 5 of 200 miniWinkler samples. (Longino and Boudinot 2013)


Longino and Boudinot (2013) - Sharing with Rhopalothrix subspatulata and Rhopalothrix weberi a characteristic labrum shape: anterior margin of labrum with two long, bluntly triangular lobes, sinus between them deep, length of anterolateral lobe longer than or about equal to distance from base of sinus to transverse carina at base of labrum; differing from both in larger size (HW = 0.57 versus < 0.50); differing from R. weberi in subapical tooth longer than apical tooth (about same length in R. weberi); differing from R. subspatulata in larger number of squamiform setae on first gastral tergite (about 12 versus about 6).

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Longino and and Boudinot (2013) - Knowledge of the biology of the Rhopalothrix isthmica clade of Rhopalothrix is conjectural; a nest has never been recovered and a live specimen never seen. What we know is based on locations and frequencies of capture using various mass-sampling methods. Specimens are known from wet to moderately seasonal forest, from sea level to 2140 m elevation. At higher elevation, they are found in diverse mesophyll forest and in forests with various combinations of Liquidambar and montane oak. In Costa Rica, they are restricted to the wet forests of the Atlantic slope, to 1500 m on the Barva Transect in the Cordillera Volcánica Central and to 800 m in the Cordillera de Tilarán. The genus is unknown from the Monteverde cloud forest at 1500 m, the lowland wet forests of the Osa Peninsula, and the lowland tropical dry forests of Guanacaste, in spite of intensive collecting efforts in these areas. Further north in Central America they can occur at higher elevations.

In quantitative sampling at La Selva Biological Station, in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica, occurrences were relatively more frequent in soil/litter cores than in samples of sifted litter from the soil surface. This suggests that nests are subterranean, with workers only occasionally venturing up into the litter layer. Dealate queens are known for a few species, occurring occasionally in Winkler or Berlese samples. Alate queens of one La Selva species were found in canopy fogging samples, one each in two separate fogging events. Oddly, alate queens have not been found in the many Malaise samples from La Selva. Males remain unknown.


Males are unknown.


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

  • nubilosa. Rhopalothrix nubilosa Longino & Boudinot, 2013: 314, figs. 1D, 2D, 3C, 10, 16 (w.) COSTA RICA.

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

This is a slightly more robust version of Rhopalothrix subspatulata. Among several other species of Rhopalothrix considered in this report, this degree of difference would be considered intraspecific. However, the sharply parapatric distribution on the Barva transect and the low variability among the many lowland collections of R. subspatulata suggest a separate montane species.



HW 0.57 (n=1); mandible with two closely-spaced short triangular teeth at base, a smaller tooth about mid-distance between basal teeth and base of subapical tooth, reclinate denticle at base of subapical tooth minute but present, apical tooth half the length of subapical tooth, intercalary teeth minute; labrum about as long as broad, with two long, bluntly triangular lobes, sinus between them deep, length of anterolateral lobe longer than or about equal to distance from base of sinus to transverse carina at base of labrum; erect setae on leading edge of scape moderately clavate, longest on basal bend, becoming shorter and thinner toward apex; arcuate promesonotal groove and metanotal groove moderately impressed; propodeal tooth right angled, infradental lamella evenly and shallowly concave; first gastral tergite with 6–8 squamiform setae on posterior margin, a similar number distributed between posterior border and midlength of tergite.

Type Material

Holotype Specimen Labels

Holotype, worker: Costa Rica, Heredia: 10 km NE Vara Blanca, 10.23696 -84.11983 ±125 m, 1500 m, 9 Mar 2005, montane wet forest, second growth, vegetation only about 4 m high, ex sifted leaf litter (ALAS#15/WF/02) California Academy of Sciences, unique specimen identifier CASENT0629594. Paratypes (workers): same data as holotype John T. Longino Collection, CASENT0629593; same data but 10.23684 -84.11909 ± 50 m, mature forest (ALAS#15/WF/02/09) Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, INB0003666702; 10.23754 -84.12001 ±50 m (ALAS#15/WF/02/43) INBC, INB0003667096; 10.23771 -84.11998 ±50 m (ALAS#15/WF/02/47) INBC, INB0003667132; 10.23243 -84.11620 ± 50 m (ALAS#15/WF/04/15) INBC, INB0003668070; 10.23216 -84.11618 ±50 m (ALAS#15/WF/04/21) INBC, INB0003668120.


Referring to the cloud forest habitat.


  • Longino J. T. and Boudinot B. E. 2013. New species of Central American Rhopalothrix Mayr, 1870 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa. 3616:301-324. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3616.4.1

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • 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 B. E. Boudinot. 2013. New species of Central American Rhopalothrix Mayr, 1870 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa 3616: 301-324.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at https://sites.google.com/site/admacsite/