Eciton hamatum (Fabricius 1781)

Ecitoninae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

major face view

major lateral view

major petiole, lateral view

male face view

male lateral view

Additional images: worker, posterior face of propodeum (large). Queen, face view (large), lateral view (large), dorsal view (large).


Mexico to central Brazil, Bolivia. Type locality French Guiana. Costa Rica: wet forest lowlands throughout the country; absent in dry forest and montane areas.


Minor worker: head, mesosoma, and metasoma evenly orange yellow; occipital tooth present; petiolar teeth in the form of short, acute flanges, separate or joined into a scoop-like structure, and with short separate carinae extending to a variable extent onto the posterior face, never fused into a single median carina on the posterior face; petiole long and low, subrectangular, with no anterodorsal elevated flange; fourth abdominal tergite with short, sparse appressed pubescence beneath erect setae.

Major worker: face smooth and shiny, not matte; long sickle-shaped mandibles simple, without tooth on inner margin; other characters as in minor.

Similar species: lucanoides.

Natural History

In lowland wet forest habitats this is one of the most common Eciton species. Raids are always in columns, never in a carpet like E. burchellii. Raids can be day or night, and I frequently observe raiding columns ascending trees. Prey are often brood of vespid wasps and the ant genera Dolichoderus and Camponotus, suggesting that E. hamatum is mainly an arboreal forager.

Page author:

John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505

Date of this version: 4 March 2009.
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