Dolichoderus lutosus (F. Smith 1858)

Dolichoderinae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker lateral view

worker dorsal view

worker face view


Mexico south to Bolivia and southern Brazil. Costa Rica: widespread.


Color red brown with darker gaster; scapes and mesosomal dorsum with no erect setae; face sublucid; face and gaster with very sparse pubescence; pronotal humeri without spines or angles.

Natural History

From MacKay 1993:

This is a common species, found in disturbed habitats (especially coffee plantations) as well as virgin forest up to 800 meters in elevation. It is common in riparian sites. Nests are found in hollow, dead twigs in trees or in abandoned arboreal termite nests or in spines of Acacia bursaria (Wheeler, 1936, 1942; pers. obs.). It is commonly intercepted in quarantine on orchids, in pseudobulbs and in banana debris. These ants are not aggressive when the nest is disturbed, they escape very rapidly into the leaf litter. Sexuals are commonly collected in light traps. Stray sexuals have been collected in Jan. (Panama), Jan., Mar. and May (Brasil), May and June (Mexico), and July (Guiana). [MacKay Literature Cited]

This is by far the most common species in Costa Rica. They are most abundant in highly insolated areas such as roadsides, scrubby vegetation, and the high canopy. Nests are almost always in narrow guage dead stems, often simple stem fragments lodged in vegetation. They occasionally restrict nest openings with small amounts of carton construction, covering the ends of hollow sticks and leaving a small entrance hole. They are opportunistic nesters in myrmecophytes, particularly Cordia alliodora and Triplaris. In these cases they usually nest in dead branches low in the crown, away from the resident colony of dominant plant ants (e.g., Azteca pittieri, Pseudomyrmex viduus).

When held with forceps, workers produce a white, somewhat foamy substance that quickly spreads onto the forceps. They do not have the strong odor typical of other dolichoderines.

Page author:

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

Date of this version: 8 March 2003.
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