Atta colombica (Guerin-Meneville 1844)

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker lateral view

worker face view

worker lateral view


Guatemala to Colombia.


Worker surface completely mat, with no shiny spot; color maroon; majors without conspicuous patch of wooly hair on face.

Natural History

Atta colombica can be locally abundant in Costa Rica but does not have the ubiquity of A. cephalotes. It is common in the southern Pacific lowlands and I have also found it to be common around Volcan Arenal. I have not found it in other parts of Costa Rica where I have collected. Around Sirena in Corcovado National Park both A. colombica and A. cephalotes were abundant when I worked there in the early 1980's.

Atta colombica has conspicuous refuse dumps on the surface, where spent fungus substrate is deposited. These are often large conical mounds off to the side of the main soil mounds. Lines of workers can be seen carrying grayish white pellets from the nest and dropping them from a single high point, such that a regular conical mound forms below. This is in contrast to the behavior of A. cephalotes, which has subterranean refuse dumps.


The spelling of the name as "columbica" in Bolton's catalog is an error (Bolton, pers. com.).

Page author:

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

Date of this version: 8 October 2003.
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