Dolichoderus validus (Kempf 1959)

Dolichoderinae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker lateral view

worker dorsal view

worker face view


Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. Costa Rica: Atlantic lowlands. It has a parapatric distribution with D. curvilobus, which occurs in the Pacific lowlands and two mid-elevation Atlantic slope sites.


Color black with abundant yellow pubescence; scapes and mesosomal dorsum with abundant erect setae; dorsal and posterior faces of propodeum separated by a well-defined transverse flange; petiolar summit not transversely truncate, lateral margin continuing and tapering into spine; vertex margin strongly concave.

Similar species: bispinosus, curvilobus.

Natural History

From MacKay 1993:

Swain (1977) reported extensively on the biology of this species. Nests are completely different than those of D. bispinosus. They are arboreal, 1.5 - 6 meters above the surface, constructed of coarse plant fibers (3 cm long) woven together like burlap. These ants apparently never nest in termite nests. They build shelters to enclose membracids. This species is probably monogynous; a nest contained 2,200 workers. They are aggressive when defending the nest. Nectar is the principal food source. They tend membracids and coccids, and visit extrafloral nectaries of plants including Inga edulis. They also collect bird droppings, insect fragments, seeds and unidentified material. They have a crepuscular foraging rhythm. Flights occur at dawn. [MacKay Literature Cited]

At La Selva Biological Station Phil DeVries found a large carton nest suspended from the thin branches of Rinorea (Violac.) tree. I collected the entire nest into a plastic bag, which was no easy task because these ants are incredibly aggressive. I placed the nest in a freezer for a day and then dissected it. In addition to workers and brood there were many males and alate queens. I never found the colony queen but the dissection was cursory enough that she could have been lost among the debris. The center of the nest contained what appeared to be an old euglossine bee tube. I encountered many tiny white cocoons in the nest, scattered and attached to the carton. One contained an adult beetle, but I have not succeeded in identifying it. I saw no other inquilines. I estimated the colony size to be 11800 workers, based on the wet weight of the entire sample, and weights of 10 subsamples for which number of ants was counted.

Images of nest (click here). Images of another very similar nest can be found under curvilobus.

Page author:

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

Date of this version: 8 March 2003.
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