Acromyrmex

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Acromyrmex
Acromyrmex versicolor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acromyrmex
Mayr, 1865
Type species
Formica hystrix, now Acromyrmex hystrix
Subgenera
Diversity
56 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Acromyrmex versicolor casent0104036 profile 1.jpg

Acromyrmex versicolor

Acromyrmex versicolor casent0104036 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships
Neoattina

Cyatta (1 species), Kalathomyrmex (1 species)





Mycetarotes
  (4 species)



Mycetosoritis
  (2 species)






some Cyphomyrmex
  (23 species)




some Cyphomyrmex
  (23 species)



Paramycetophylax
  (1 species)






Mycetophylax
  (21 species)




Mycetagroicus
  (4 species)





Mycetomoellerius
  (31 species)




Sericomyrmex
  (11 species)



Xerolitor
  (1 species)






Paratrachymyrmex
  (9 species)




Trachymyrmex
  (9 species)




Amoimyrmex
  (3 species)




Acromyrmex
  (56 species)



Atta
  (20 species)












Based on Ward et al. (2014), Blaimer et al. (2018), Li et al. (2018), Cristiano et al. (2020) and Hanisch et al. (2022).

A genus of fungus growing ants. Primarily a Neotropical group, Acromyrmex occurs from the southern USA south to southern South America. They cultivate fungus within their nests and, like Atta, they are true leaf-cutters. Most Acromyrmex inhabit tropical forests, grasslands, and disturbed areas. Acromyrmex versicolor is atypical in that it is found in dry desert areas of the southwestern USA and northern Mexico.


At a Glance • Fungus Grower  

 

Photo Gallery

  • Acromyrmex worker covered in Pseudonocardia. These leafcutter ants use this bacteria to fight invasive fungus, that attack their fungus gardens. Photo by João Pedro Sá Medeiros.
  • An Acromyrmex nest being raided by Nomamyrmex esenbeckii. The Acromyrmex worker defended itself, but was unsuccessful. Still, even the heavily armoured predators can get wounded, and the worker in the picture is already missing a part of its hind-leg. Photo by Phil Hoenle.

Identification

The genus Acromyrmex occupies a morphological "middle ground" between the highly polymorphic genus Atta and the monomorphic genus Trachymyrmex. Acromyrmex is separated from Atta by the presence of 3 pairs of spines or teeth on the promesonotum (only 2 pairs in Atta), and from Trachymyrmex by the presence of spines or teeth on the promesonotum (rather than tubercles), by the absence of shallow antennal scrobes (often present in Trachymyrmex), and its polymorphic worker caste (monomorphic in Trachymyrmex).

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus

 

Keys to Species in this Genus

Distribution

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Biology

Longino (Ants of Costa Rica) - Acromyrmex species are true leaf cutters. Compared to Atta, they have a greater predilection for flowers and fruits. Their colonies are smaller (thousands of workers rather than millions), and foraging columns are usually single file and sparse. Their nests are usually in pre-formed cavities, and they do little excavating of their own.

Morphologically they are sandwiched between Atta and Trachymyrmex. Atta have very large colonies, strong worker size polymorphism, and a smooth gastral dorsum. Trachymyrmex have smaller colonies, usually smaller monomorphic workers, and a tuberculate gastral dorsum. Acromyrmex have intermediate colony sizes, strong worker polymorphism (but the major workers are not as highly differentiated as Atta majors), and the gaster is tuberculate. Single workers of Acromyrmex can be difficult to differentiate from Trachymyrmex in a key.

In Costa Rica there are few species of Acromyrmex. In lowland and seasonally dry habitats there are usually one or two forms of the Acromyrmex octospinosus species complex. In moist to wet montane areas Acromyrmex coronatus dominates.

Schultz et al. (1998) have discovered cryptic species in the A. octospinosus complex in Panama, and one should expect similar complexity to occur in Costa Rica. I recognize three species in the complex in Costa Rica (octospinosus, Acromyrmex echinatior, Acromyrmex volcanus), but the morphological basis for the distinctions is slight and some concentrated research on the group could easily redraw the species boundaries.

There is a large literature on Acromyrmex that is not reviewed or cited here.

Association with Other Organisms

Species Uncertain

  • An unknown species is a host for the histerid beetle Euspilotus latimanus (a myrmecophile) in Brazil (Arriagada, 1987; Lackner, 2014).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus cantleyi (a parasite) (phorid.net) (attacked).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus cantleyi (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus (a parasite) (phorid.net) (attacked).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus neivai (a parasite) (phorid.net) (attacked).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus neivai (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus onorei (a parasite) (phorid.net) (attacked).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus onorei (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Neodohrniphora acromyrmecis (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Rhyncophoromyia gymnopleura (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • An unknown species is a host for the phorid fly Rhyncophoromyia maculineura (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).

All Associate Records for Genus

Explore Associate Data: All, Drilldown
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Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Acromyrmex host histerid beetle Euspilotus latimanus myrmecophile Brazil Arriagada, 1987; Lackner, 2014
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus cantleyi parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus cantleyi parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus neivai parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus neivai parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus onorei parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Apocephalus onorei parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Neodohrniphora acromyrmecis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Rhyncophoromyia gymnopleura parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex host phorid fly Rhyncophoromyia maculineura parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex ambiguus host diapriid wasp Szelenyiopria lucens parasite Brazil, Uruguay Loiacono, 1987; Loiacono et al., 2013; Gonzalez et al., 2016
Acromyrmex ambiguus host histerid beetle Euspilotus myrmecophilus myrmecophile Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay Lackner, 2014; Lackner & Arriagada, 2020
Acromyrmex ameliae workerless inquiline ant Acromyrmex brunneus host
Acromyrmex aspersus host phorid fly Myrmosicarius infestans parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex balzani host ant Pseudoatta argentina workerless inquiline Needs confirmation
Acromyrmex brunneus host ant Acromyrmex ameliae workerless inquiline
Acromyrmex charruanus workerless inquiline ant Acromyrmex heyeri host
Acromyrmex coronatus host phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex coronatus host phorid fly Apocephalus pseudocercus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex coronatus prey ''Microdon'' fly Microdon triginus predator Quevillon, 2018
Acromyrmex crassispinus host nematode Panagrolaimus sp. parasite Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex crassispinus host phorid fly Myrmosicarius crudelis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex disciger host phorid fly Myrmosicarius infestans parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex disciger host phorid fly Neodohrniphora acromyrmecis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex echinatior host ant Acromyrmex insinuator inquiline
Acromyrmex echinatior host fungus Aspergillus flavus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission within nest
Acromyrmex fowleri workerless inquiline ant Acromyrmex rugosus host
Acromyrmex heyeri host ant Acromyrmex charruanus workerless inquiline
Acromyrmex heyeri host ant Pseudoatta argentina workerless inquiline
Acromyrmex heyeri host phorid fly Apocephalus neivai parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex heyeri host phorid fly Myrmosicarius catharinensis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex hispidus host phorid fly Myrmosicarius longipalpis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex insinuator inquiline ant Acromyrmex echinatior host
Acromyrmex insinuator inquiline ant Acromyrmex octospinosus host
Acromyrmex lobicornis host diapriid wasp Szelenyiopria pampeana parasite Argentina Loiácono et al., 2000; Loiácono & Margaría, 2009; Loiacono et al., 2013; Loiacono, 2013; Gonzalez et al., 2016
Acromyrmex lobicornis host diapriid wasp Trichopria formicans parasite Argentina Loiacono et al., 2000; Loiacono, 2013; Gonzalez et al., 2016
Acromyrmex lobicornis host diapriid wasp Trichopria sp. parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode independent; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex lobicornis host phorid fly Myrmosicarius cristobalensis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex lundii host ant Pseudoatta argentina workerless inquiline
Acromyrmex lundii host diapriid wasp Bruchopria hexatoma parasite Argentina Loiacono, 2013; Gonzalez et al., 2016
Acromyrmex lundii host diapriid wasp Doliopria myrmecobia parasite Argentina Loiacono, 2013; Gonzalez et al., 2016
Acromyrmex lundii host fungus Beauveria bassiana parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission within nest
Acromyrmex lundii host histerid beetle Euspilotus myrmecophilus myrmecophile Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay Lackner, 2014; Lackner & Arriagada, 2020
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Apocephalus barbicauda parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Apocephalus neivai parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Apocephalus rionegrensis parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Myrmosicarius catharinensis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex lundii host phorid fly Myrmosicarius persecutor parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex niger associate (details unknown) phorid fly Ecitoptera proboscidalis associate (details unknown) Quevillon, 2018
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Allochaeta longiciliata parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest; as Acromyrmex muticinodus
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Allochaeta longiciliata parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Allochaeta muticinodus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Apocephalus lamellatus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Apocephalus luteihalteratus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Myrmosicarius cuspidatus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest; as Pheidologeton sp.
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Myrmosicarius cuspidatus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Myrmosicarius tarsipennis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest; as Acromyrmex muticinodus
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Myrmosicarius tarsipennis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Procliniella hostilis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest; as Acromyrmex muticinodus
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Procliniella hostilis parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Stenoneurellis laticeps parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest; as Acromyrmex muticinodus
Acromyrmex niger host phorid fly Stenoneurellis laticeps parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex octospinosus host ant Acromyrmex insinuator inquiline not able to reproduce in ''Acromyrmex octospinosus'' colonies
Acromyrmex octospinosus host fungus Ophiocordyceps kniphofioides parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex octospinosus host nematode Steinerema carpocapsae parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex rugosus host ant Acromyrmex fowleri workerless inquiline
Acromyrmex subterraneus host diapriid wasp Szelenyiopria talitae parasite Brazil Loiacono et al., 2013
Acromyrmex subterraneus host fungus Aspergillus flavus pathogen Sales & Toledo, 2020
Acromyrmex subterraneus host fungus Metarhizium anisopliae pathogen Sales & Toledo, 2020
Acromyrmex subterraneus host phorid fly Apocephalus dubitatus parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex subterraneus host phorid fly Apocephalus dubitatus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex subterraneus host phorid fly Apocephalus rionegrensis parasite phorid.net attacked
Acromyrmex subterraneus host phorid fly Myrmosicarius cuspidatus parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex subterraneus host phorid fly Myrmosicarius gracilipes parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Acromyrmex subterraneus host phorid fly Myrmosicarius infestans parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest

Flight Period

All Flight Records for Genus

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Taxon Month Source Notes
Acromyrmex versicolor Jul Aug antkeeping.info

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 1000's-10000's (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: inquilinism (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: herbivore
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: cooperative (Greer et al., 2021)

Castes

Morphology

Worker Morphology

• Antennal segment count: 11 • Antennal club: gradual • Palp formula: 4,2 • Total dental count: 8-11 • Spur formula: 0,0 • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Scrobes: absent • Pronotal Spines: present • Mesonotal Spines: dentiform; present • Propodeal Spines: present • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: polymorphic • Sting: absent • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent

These characters are collated in the table "WorkerMorphology". View table.

Karyotype

All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Acromyrmex ambiguus 38 14M + 12SM + 8ST + 4A Brazil de Castro et al., 2020
Acromyrmex ambiguus 38 2M+6SM+16ST+14A Uruguay Goñi et al., 1984
Acromyrmex ameliae 36 Brazil Cardoso et al. 2018; de Castro et al., 2020
Acromyrmex aspersus 38 8M+10SM+16ST+4A Brazil Teixeira et al., 2017
Acromyrmex balzani 38 12M+10SM+14ST+2A Brazil Barros et al., 2016
Acromyrmex balzani 38 12M+10SM+14ST+2A French Guiana Aguiar et al., 2020
Acromyrmex coronatus 19 38 12M+8SM+16ST+2A Brazil Barros et al., 2016
Acromyrmex crassispinus 38 Brazil Fadini & Pompolo, 1996
Acromyrmex crassispinus 38 12M + 20SM + 4ST + 2A Brazil de Castro et al., 2020
Acromyrmex disciger 38 10M+12SM+14ST+2A Brazil Barros et al., 2016
Acromyrmex echinatior 38 8M+6SM+14ST+10A Brazil Barros et al., 2016
Acromyrmex heyeri 38 2M+6SM+16ST+14A Brazil; Uruguay Goni et al., 1983; SantosColares et al., 1997
Acromyrmex hispidus 38 2M+6SM+16ST+14A Uruguay Goni et al., 1983
Acromyrmex lundii 38 10M + 14SM + 10ST + 4A Brazil de Castro et al., 2020
Acromyrmex molestans 38 10M+10SM+16ST+2A Brazil Fadini & Pompolo, 1996; Teixeira et al., 2017
Acromyrmex niger 38 12M+14SM+10ST+2A Brazil Barros et al., 2016
Acromyrmex nigrosetosus 38 12M + 14SM + 10ST + 2A Brazil de Castro et al., 2020
Acromyrmex rugosus 38 16M+12SM+8ST+2A Brazil Barros et al., 2016
Acromyrmex subterraneus 38 Brazil Fadini & Pompolo, 1996
Acromyrmex subterraneus 38 14M + 18SM + 4ST + 2A Brazil de Castro et al., 2020

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • ACROMYRMEX [Myrmicinae: Attini]
    • Acromyrmex Mayr, 1865: 83 [as subgenus of Atta]. Type-species: Formica hystrix, by monotypy.
    • Acromyrmex raised to genus: Emery, 1913b: 251.
    • Subgenera of Acromyrmex: nominal plus Moellerius.

References