Azteca chartifex

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Azteca chartifex
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Azteca
Species: A. chartifex
Binomial name
Azteca chartifex
Forel, 1896

Azteca chartifex casent0249593 p 1 high.jpg

Azteca chartifex casent0249593 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Azteca chartifex occurs in wet forest habitats. Colonies are polydomous, occurring in clusters of large, pendant carton nests. The carton is dry and paper-like. The nests are never penetrated by epiphytes or other plant roots, and in this regard are very different from the ant gardens of Azteca gnava and Azteca nigra. They can occur in very exposed and highly insolated environments, and seem more abundant in seasonal moist to dry habitats than in weakly seasonal wet forest. (Longino 2007)


A member of the Azteca trigona group. See the group page and keys for identification information.

Keys including this Species


Costa Rica to southern Brazil.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 9.266667° to -64.3°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago (type locality).

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.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Longino (2007) - I have observed two colonies in Costa Rica, both in the lowland forest of the Osa Peninsula. Both colonies were in regenerating second growth forest. One colony was on a large Inga (Fabaceae) tree and several adjacent Psidium (Myrtaceae) trees. There were about eight large nests within a 10m radius. Individual nests were up to 2m long and tapering. I cut into several nests and dissected one nest thoroughly, finding only workers and larger brood. This particular colony was relatively long-lived: I first observed it in 1990, and when I walked by the same site six years later the colony was still there and looked relatively unchanged. The second colony I observed was a single large nest on a palm trunk, about 10m high. It was in an area of dense vegetation and it is likely there were other nests in the vicinity. Forel's subspecies Azteca chartifex laticeps was collected from a carton nest on Psidium (the Champion series from Chiriquí, Panamá).

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the phorid fly Nothomicrodon sp. (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).



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

  • chartifex. Azteca chartifex Forel, in Emery, 1896c: 4 (footnote), fig. 5 (w.) TRINIDAD.
    • Status as species: Forel, 1899c: 117; Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 131; Emery, 1913a: 32; Wheeler, W.M. 1916d: 330; Mann, 1916: 472; Wheeler, W.M. 1922c: 14; Kempf, 1972a: 30; Shattuck, 1994: 14; Bolton, 1995b: 78; Longino, 2007: 23 (redescription); Guénard & Economo, 2015: 226.
    • Senior synonym of laticeps: Longino, 2007: 23.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus cearensis, decipiens, lanians, multinida, spiriti, stalactitica.
  • laticeps. Azteca chartifex r. laticeps Forel, 1899c: 117 (w.) COSTA RICA, PANAMA.
    • Subspecies of chartifex: Forel, 1906d: 236; Forel, 1912h: 52; Emery, 1913a: 32; Crawley, 1916b: 375; Borgmeier, 1923: 91; Menozzi, 1935b: 199; Kempf, 1972a: 30; Shattuck, 1994: 14; Bolton, 1995b: 79.
    • Junior synonym of chartifex: Longino, 2007: 23.

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



Longino (2007) - (n=5 workers from Costa Rica to Brazil): HLA 0.88 (0.84–0.96), HW 0.97 (0.87–1.05), SL 0.78 (0.64–0.85), CI 108 (100–110), SI 87 (74–89).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining, with moderately abundant small piligerous puncta; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level; head with strongly convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; in lateral profile promesonotum forming single strongly protruding convexity, posterior mesonotum dropping abruptly to much lower metanotal groove and dorsal face of propodeum; scape and tibia lacking erect setae; sides and posterior margin of head lacking erect setae; posterior pronotum with conspicuous cluster of 6 or more long erect setae, mesonotum with 0–4 shorter erect setae, dorsal face of propodeum with 4–6 erect setae at variable angles to surface; color and red brown.

Type Material

Longino (2007) - Syntype workers: Trinidad (Urich) Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, Museum of Comparative Zoology (examined).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Crawley W. C. 1916. Ants from British Guiana. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 8(17): 366-378.
  • Dejean A., A. Compin, J. H. C. Delabie, F. Azemar, B. Corbara, and M. Leponce. 2019. Biotic and abiotic determinants of the formation of ant mosaics in primary Neotropical rainforests. Ecological Entomology
  • Emery C. 1913. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Dolichoderinae. Genera Insectorum 137: 1-50.
  • Fernandes I., and J. de Souza. 2018. Dataset of long-term monitoring of ground-dwelling ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the influence areas of a hydroelectric power plant on the Madeira River in the Amazon Basin. Biodiversity Data Journal 6: e24375.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Forel A. 1912. Formicides néotropiques. Part V. 4me sous-famille Dolichoderinae Forel. Mémoires de la Société Entomologique de Belgique. 20: 33-58.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Kempf W. W. 1978. A preliminary zoogeographical analysis of a regional ant fauna in Latin America. 114. Studia Entomologica 20: 43-62.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Longino J. T. 2007. A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group. Zootaxa 1491: 1-63
  • Pires de Prado L., R. M. Feitosa, S. Pinzon Triana, J. A. Munoz Gutierrez, G. X. Rousseau, R. Alves Silva, G. M. Siqueira, C. L. Caldas dos Santos, F. Veras Silva, T. Sanches Ranzani da Silva, A. Casadei-Ferreira, R. Rosa da Silva, and J. Andrade-Silva. 2019. An overview of the ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the state of Maranhao, Brazil. Pap. Avulsos Zool. 59: e20195938.
  • Shattuck S. O. 1994. Taxonomic catalog of the ant subfamilies Aneuretinae and Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). University of California Publications in Entomology 112: i-xix, 1-241.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1905. The ants of the Bahamas, with a list of the known West Indian species. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 21: 79-135.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. The ants of Trinidad. American Museum Novitates 45: 1-16.
  • Wilson E. O. 1962. Behavior of Daceton armigerum (Latreille), with a classification of self-grooming movements in ants. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 127: 403-421.
  • Wilson E. O. 1965. Trail sharing in ants. Psyche (Cambridge) 72: 2-7.