Cephalotes umbraculatus (Fabricius 1804)

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker face view

worker dorsal view

major face view

major lateral view

Major dorsal view (reduced, original).

Line drawings of queen, minor and major workers, dorsal view, from Kempf (1958).


Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia. Costa Rica: common in Pacific lowlands, from the Osa Peninsula to Guanacaste Province; rare in the Atlantic lowlands.


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 border of propodeum denticulate; lateral profile of petiole forming a shallow convexity, not differentiated into distinct anterior and dorsal faces; gaster brightly colored, dark gray with four yellow spots; mesosoma and head red brown.

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 spinose.

Natural History

This species prefers open, sunny habitats, including the high canopy of rainforest, secondgrowth vegetation, and isolated trees in pastures and around dwellings. It is a relatively common species, and conspicuous due to its color pattern. I most often encounter it on treetrunks and in treefalls. In spite of its commonness, I have only seen nests once. I was collecting in a canopy Ficus, and I found many nests in live branches. The nests were in the very tips of the branches, with inside diameters 5-8mm, outside diameters 15-20mm. The nest chambers were irregular, as though excavated by the ants and not preformed by the plant. Workers were very abundant in the crown of the tree, suggesting a large, polydomous colony with nests in many branches.

Type Data

Cryptocerus umbraculatus Fabricius 1804:420. Type worker: "America meridionali" [Essequibo, Guyana] [ZMUC].

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.

Fabricius, J. C. 1804. Systema Piezatorum secundum ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Brunswick: C. Reichard, xiv + 15-439 + 30 pp.

Kempf, W. W. 1958. New studies of the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. (n.s.)1:1-168.

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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