Rhopalothrix therion

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

Rhopalothrix therion casent0616292 p 1 high.jpg

Rhopalothrix therion casent0616292 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species occurs in rain forest and cloud forest habitats, from 550–1420m elevation. All specimens are from Winkler samples of sifted leaf litter. At three cloud forest sites in Nicaragua it occurred in 5–10% of 100 miniWinkler samples. In Costa Rica, it is known from one collection near Turrialba, a site on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Volcánica Central, yet is unknown from the intensively sampled Barva Transect a short distance away.(Longino and Boudinot 2013)


Labrum broader than long, anterior margin bilobed on each side of medial notch, lateral lobule rounded and the same length as or shorter than medial lobule; first gastral tergite with abundant, short, strongly spatulate squamiform setae uniformly covering surface. (Longino and Boudinot 2013)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

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.


Known only from the worker caste.


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

  • therion. Rhopalothrix therion Longino & Boudinot, 2013: 318, figs. 1A, 2A, 3E, 13, 16 (w.) HONDURAS.

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



HW 0.66–0.80 (n=6); mandible with two or three teeth on masticatory margin (can vary within individuals, with two teeth on one mandible and three teeth on the other), second tooth from base largest; subapical tooth with distinct reclinate denticle at base; subapical tooth about twice as long as apical tooth; intercalary teeth prominent, one closest to apical tooth about half as long as apical tooth; labrum trapezoidal, wider than long, anterior margin bilobed on each side of medial notch, lateral lobule rounded and the same length as or shorter than medial lobule; arcuate promesonotal groove and metanotal groove strongly impressed; propodeal tooth large, triangular, right-angled to acute, infradental lamella broad beneath tooth, narrowing ventrally; first gastral tergite with abundant, short, strongly spatulate squamiform setae uniformly covering surface.

Type Material

Holotype Specimen Labels

Holotype worker: Honduras, Olancho: 9 km N Catacamas, 14.93693 -85.90535 ±20 m, 1360 m, 10 May 2010, mixed hardwood forest, ex sifted leaf litter (R.S.Anderson#2010-020) California Academy of Sciences, unique specimen identifier CASENT0616292. Paratypes (workers): same data as holotype National Museum of Natural History, CASENT0616286; same data but 14.93465 -85.90662 ±20 m, 1330m, 12 May 2010, Liquidambar-hardwood forest, ex sifted leaf litter (R.S.Anderson#2010-026) Museum of Comparative Zoology, CASENT0629584; Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, CASENT0629585.


Referring to the fierce habitus and to the deep furrows and rugosities on the face and mesosoma.


  • 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. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at https://sites.google.com/site/admacsite/