Leptogenys punctaticeps Emery 1890

Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker lateral view

worker face view

Image of petiole.


Costa Rica to northwestern Colombia. Costa Rica: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands.


When mandibles are in their usual resting position, with tips crossed, they project beyond anterior border of clypeus, leaving a distinct gap; mandible slender, parallel sided in frontal view; clypeus reduced, leaving labrum largely exposed; hypostomal teeth reduced, barely or not visible in full-face view; head distinctly narrowed behind; face with large puncta (which may be dense or somewhat dispersed and shallow); compound eye large, diameter covering more than one third the length of the lateral cephalic margin; metanotal groove well impressed; propodeum unarmed; dorsal and posterior faces of petiole meeting at nearly a right angle, not or only weakly produced as a posteriorly directed tooth; posterior margin of node sinuous in lateral view; legs and scapes darker brown, not contrasting strongly with head and mesosoma.

Worker metrics (n=7). HL (1.38-1.62); HW (1.01-1.11); ML (0.81-0.91); EL (0.30-0.40); SL (1.62-1.85); WL (2.26-2.56) mm. CI (0.63-0.77); MI (0.80-0.84); OI (0.29-0.38); SI (1.58-1.67).

Natural History

The favored habitats for this species seem to be lowland forest, including open forest. According to the label some BCI specimens were taken with an isopod. Longino knows this species from La Selva Biological Station and from Sirena in Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula. At La Selva he knows it from stray workers and males at blacklights. At Sirena Longino observed a colony or colony fragment. A tight column of 39 adults was moving along a trail. They stopped at one point, the column broke up, and individuals ran madly about in a small area. After about 10 minutes of this a less well defined column moved 1m away to a spot under a Cecropia leaf. They were carrying pupae and large larvae, and one worker was missing the gaster. Perhaps such a situation could have been the consequence of an army ant raid.


Leptogenys ambigua Santschi can be considered a junior synonym of L. punctaticeps. Santschi (1931) did not state why he considered L. ambigua a distinct species, though he mentions it as close to L. imperatrix and L. famelica. A comparison of the types of L. ambigua and L. puncaticeps revealed nothing that could be used to differentiate between the two forms.

In a number of collections L. JTL-007 was labeled as L. ambigua or L. punctaticeps but L. JTL-007 is easily separated on account of the large hypostomal teeth and the sharp basal curvature of each mandible.

L. punctaticeps has been reported from Cuba by Portuondo & Fernández (2004:133) but this is unlikely, and perhaps their specimens are L. pubiceps complex members.

Type data

Leptogenys punctaticeps Emery 1890:62. Syntype worker: Costa Rica, Jimenez [a site near present day Guapiles] (Alfaro).

Literature Cited

Emery, C. 1890. Voyage de M. E. Simon au Venezuela (Decembre 1887 - Avril 1888). Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. (6)10:55-76.

Page authors:
John E. Lattke piquihuye@gmail.com
John T. Longino longinoj@evergreen.edu

Date of this version: 3 March 2009.
Previous versions of this page: 28 May 1999, 7 July 2004
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