Cephalotes scutulatus (F. Smith 1867)

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker dorsal view

major face view

major lateral view

Major dorsal view (reduced, original).

Queen dorsal view (reduced, original); face view (reduced, original).

Line drawings of minor worker dorsal view, major worker dorsal view, from Kempf (1952).


Mexico to Panama (Bugaba), Ecuador. Costa Rica: throughout the country in wet and moist forest habitats.


Minor worker: eyes situated behind the scrobe, which terminates in front of the eye; lateral border of head convex and upturned above eye, without a rounded excision; lateral margins of mesosoma, including lateral margins of propodeum, with relatively uniform foliaceous crest, which is lighter colored than mesosomal dorsum; petiole with distinct anterior and dorsal faces; propodeal suture completely absent medially.

Major worker: eyes situated behind the scrobe, which terminates in front of the eye; head with complete and strongly developed cephalic disk; cephalic disk with arcuate notch anteriorly; in full face view dorsal surface of mandibles visible in notch; surface of cephalic disk almost entirely orange, smooth, and shiny; propodeum with lateral foliaceous crest, not spinose.

Natural History

This species prefers rainforest and moist forest habitats. Collections of workers are fairly common from treefalls and canopy fogging samples. Nests can be in live or dead stems. Kempf (1952) observed that although scutulatus had been collected in pseudobulbs of Schomburgkia tibicinis and other orchids (Skwarra 1934), Acacia cornigera (Skwarra 1934) and Tillandsia sp. (Wheeler 1942), its association with these myrmecophytes was only facultative because it also occurred frequently in dead twigs and vines.

I have the following nest collections of this species:

Small Ficus tree along stream edge. Nest in 10mm dia dead branch.

Pasture/primary forest edge. Cecropia insignis sapling. Nest in two internodes.

Type Data

Cryptocerus scutulatus F. Smith 1867:524. Type soldier: Mexico [OXUM].


Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) included a new species, kukulcan Snelling, that differs from scutulatus as follows: "in the worker, by the frontal carinae weakly upturned above the eyes and, in the soldier and gyne, by the dense, deep, irregular and contiguous foveae on the disc..." It is based on material from Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico. Andrade and Baroni Urbani tentatively identify as kukulcan a figure on the Project ALAS web site, and thus Costa Rica was tentatively included in the range. All La Selva material, including any that might have been used for the web site (the image is no longer available), look like standard scutulatus to me, and thus I consider Costa Rica to be outside the range of kukulcan.

Literature Cited

Andrade, M. L. de, and C. Baroni Urbani. 1999. Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Palaontologie) 271:1-889.

Kempf, W. W. 1952. A synopsis of the pinelii-complex in the genus Paracryptocerus (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. 1:1-30.

Skwarra, E. 1934. Okologische Studien uber Ameisen und Ameisenpflanzen in Mexiko. Konigsberg: published by author (printer: R. Leupold), 153 pp.

Smith, F. 1867. Descriptions of new species of Cryptoceridae. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (3)5:523-528.

Wheeler, W. M. 1942. Studies of Neotropical ant-plants and their ants. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 90:1-262.

Page author:

John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.longinoj@evergreen.edu

Date of this version: 27 June 2000
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