Anochetus mayri

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Anochetus mayri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Anochetus
Species: A. mayri
Binomial name
Anochetus mayri
Emery, 1884

Anochetus mayri casent0003324 profile 1.jpg

Anochetus mayri casent0003324 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Anochetus mayri is widespread and regularly encountered in Central and South America. It is found mostly in forests under stones, in moss on rocks or logs, in rotten twigs on the forest floor, or in larger bodies of rotten wood. Colonies are small, often with only a few workers. The workers and queen feign death, and are difficult to see (Brown, 1978; Smith, 1936). It has been introduced into southern Florida where it is found in leaf litter and hollow twigs (Deyrup, 2002).

At a Glance • Limited invasive  


In the Neotropics there appears to be a confusing array of species similar to A. mayri, some of which may be geographic variants of that species (Brown 1978). There is some evidence that males may provide useful characters for separating the species in this complex (Brown 1978). We presume that the Florida population is derived from the West Indies. Florida specimens appear identical to specimens we have seen from Puerto Rico and St. John (the type locality is St. Thomas). In the U.S. there is no likelihood of confusing A. mayri with any other species, unless more Anochetus species are introduced.

Keys including this Species


This species has been introduced from the Neotropics into Florida where it is a rare species in leaf litter and hollow twigs in Dade county (first found in 1987), and also Palm Beach Co. (found in 2002) (Deyrup 2002). It seems likely that the species will expand its range, as Dade and Palm Beach counties have numerous nurseries for tropical and subtropical plants, as well as a population of mobile humans who take their landscape plants to new residences.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 28.393333° to -31.632389°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.


Anochetus mayri worker. San Cristóbal, República Dominicana. Photograph by Judá Isaí Martínez Uribe. © CC BY-SA 3.0

This widely distributed species is found in leaf litter where it is a predator of smaller arthropods. Collection of this species in Florida was detailed by Deyrup (2002). Individuals were found to be common in deep litter at the base of pines and oaks in an environmental teaching facility in West Palm Beach Co. The ant was not a dominant species (in terms of abundance), and was neither aggressive nor strongly defensive.

Regional Notes

Puerto Rico

San Cristóbal, República Dominicana. Video by Judá Isaí Martínez Uribe.

Wheeler (1908): Common under dead leaves and stones in the shade of the cafetals and platanals. The colonies are small, comprising only about a dozen individuals. Usually one finds isolated workers or females moving about under cover of the dead leaves in search of prey. The females seem to be apterous, although the thorax is large and of the usual structure. Specimens with distinct wing-stumps are rare. The larvae are covered with pointed tubercles and resemble those of Odontomachus; the cocoons are rather broad, lemon yellow, with a black meconial spot at the anal pole.


From Jones et al (1999) - Head extracts of A. mayri have been shown to contain 2,5-dimethyl-3-isoamylpyrazine and 3-methyl-4-phenylpyrrole. These compounds most likely are mandibular gland products and have a pheromonal role.



MCZ ENT Anochetus mayri 002 hef 8x.jpgMCZ ENT Anochetus mayri 002 hal 5x.jpgMCZ ENT Anochetus mayri 002 had 5x.jpgMCZ ENT Anochetus mayri 002 lbs.jpg
. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Images from AntWeb

Anochetus mayri casent0006073 head 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0006073 profile 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0006073 dorsal 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0006073 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0006073. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Anochetus mayri casent0010834 head 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0010834 profile 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0010834 dorsal 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0010834 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0010834. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by UCDC, Davis, CA, USA.
Anochetus mayri casent0103554 head 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0103554 profile 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0103554 dorsal 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0103554 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0103554. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.
Anochetus mayri casent0178674 head 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0178674 profile 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0178674 dorsal 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0178674 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0178674. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MIZA, Maracay, Venezuela.


Images from AntWeb

Anochetus mayri casent0103555 head 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0103555 profile 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0103555 dorsal 1.jpgAnochetus mayri casent0103555 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0103555. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


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

  • mayri. Anochetus mayri Emery, 1884a: 378 (diagnosis in key) (w.) VIRGIN IS (St Thomas).
    • Type-material: holotype (?) worker.
    • [Note: no indication of number of specimens is given.]
    • Type-locality: Virgin Is: St Thomas I. (no collector’s name).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Emery, 1890a: 65 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1964b: 455 (l.).
    • Status as species: Forel, 1893g: 356; Emery, 1890a: 65; Dalla Torre, 1893: 48; Emery, 1894c: 187 (in key); Forel, 1897b: 298; Forel, 1905b: 156; Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 121; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 125; Emery, 1911d: 110; Forel, 1912c: 29; Wheeler, W.M. 1913d: 239; Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914: 15; Donisthorpe, 1915d: 336; Mann, 1916: 417; Wheeler, W.M. 1916c: 3; Borgmeier, 1923: 76; Donisthorpe, 1927b: 386; Santschi, 1931c: 270; Weber, 1934a: 23; Smith, M.R. 1937: 826; Kempf, 1961b: 497; Kempf, 1972a: 21; Alayo, 1974: 31; Brown, 1978c: 557, 617; Deyrup, et al. 1989: 94; Brandão, 1991: 325; Bolton, 1995b: 65; Deyrup, et al. 2000: 295; Deyrup, 2003: 44; Zabala, 2008: 133; Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 262; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 123; Feitosa, 2015c: 98; Wetterer, et al. 2016: 7; Deyrup, 2017: 19; Fernández & Guerrero, 2019: 516; Lubertazzi, 2019: 73.
    • Senior synonym of laeviusculus: Brown, 1978c: 557; Brandão, 1991: 325; Bolton, 1995b: 64.
    • Distribution: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, St Vincent & the Grenadines, U.S.A. (Florida), Venezuela, Virgin Is.
  • laeviusculus. Anochetus mayri subsp. laeviusculus Wheeler, W.M. 1911a: 22 (w.q.) JAMAICA.
    • Type-material: 10 syntype workers, 1 syntype queen.
    • Type-locality: Jamaica: nr Troy, 1909 (A.E. Wight).
    • Type-depository: AMNH.
    • [Misspelled as laevior by Aguayo, 1932: 216.]
    • Subspecies of mayri: Kempf, 1972a: 21; Alayo, 1974: 31.
    • Junior synonym of mayri: Brown, 1978c: 557, 618; Brandão, 1991: 325; Bolton, 1995b: 64.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



This species was described in as much as it was included in a key. "Mandibole terminate con tre denti distinti, dei quali l' intermedio piu piccolo. Squama del picciuolo troncata superiormente o bidentata, metanoto con due denti. Squama con due denti." (Mandibles terminate with three distinct teeth, with the intermediate being smaller. The upper scale of the petiole truncated or bidentate, metanotum with two teeth. Scale with two teeth.)


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