Pachycondyla foetida (Linnaeus 1758)

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker lateral view


Costa Rica to Bolivia. Costa Rica: known from both wet and dry forest, in Atlantic and northern Pacific lowlands (Santa Rosa, road from PanAmerican Highway to Monteverde, Tortuguero, La Selva Biological Station, 500m in Braulio Carrillo National Park south of La Selva).


Mesosomal dorsum with erect hairs; opening of propodeal spiracle viewed perpendicularly slit-shaped, more than twice as long as wide; mandible with approximately 13 teeth; dorsal outline of mesosoma interrupted by a distinct, impressed propodeal groove, so that the mesonotum forms a convexity separate from the more or less convex propodeal dorsum; in full-face view, a line drawn through the centers of the eyes falls near head mid-head, crossing near posterior limits of frontal carinae; cheeks with a distinct carina reaching from clypeal wing to eye margin; anterior face of petiolar node perpendicular, forming an angular anterodorsal summit; posterior face of petiolar node coarsely, transversely striate to apex; head width including eyes greater than 2.0mm.

Natural History

This large arboreal ant prefers open sunny areas. I have collected workers in Santa Rosa National Park, in scrubby vegetation along the road to Monteverde, in open pasture areas around Rara Avis, and in isolated trees in young secondgrowth areas of La Selva Biological Station. I observed one nest in a recently felled Hieronyma oblonga tree. The tree was in a pasture in an area of active clearing of rainforest, at 500m elevation just south of La Selva. A small nest entrance hole, little larger than a worker, lead to a large cavity in a knot, where there were abundant workers.

This species is similar to villosa in morphology and size. It is generally sympatric with villosa, but villosa is more abundant and has a broader habitat range, occurring abundantly in dry forest, in disturbed habitats, and in mature rainforest.

Type Data

Formica foetida Linnaeus 1758:582. Syntype queen: "America meridionali."

Literature Cited

Linneus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio 10.1:823 pp. Holmiae.

Page author:

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

Date of this version: 3 April 1999.
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