Azteca ovaticeps

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Azteca ovaticeps
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Azteca
Species: A. ovaticeps
Binomial name
Azteca ovaticeps
Forel, 1904

Azteca ovaticeps casent0106110 p 1 high.jpg

Azteca ovaticeps casent0106110 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Longino (2007) - The taxonomy and biology of A. ovaticeps is reviewed in Longino (1989a, 1991b). Azteca ovaticeps is an obligate Cecropia ant. Its biology is very similar to A. alfari, with which it is often locally sympatric. Azteca ovaticeps tends to be more abundant in mature forest areas, older second growth forest, and river banks in mature forest, while A. alfari becomes dominant in open and highly disturbed habitats, such as roadsides and agricultural areas. Azteca ovaticeps is more geographically variable than A. alfari and may be paraphyletic with respect to A. alfari (Longino 1989a, Ayala et al. 1996).


Longino (2007) - Azteca ovaticeps is distinguished from Azteca alfari as described above. Workers of A. ovaticeps may also be confused with workers of Azteca forelii. Mandibles of A. ovaticeps workers are smooth and shiny; mandibles of A. forelii workers are roughened and dull.

Keys including this Species


Costa Rica to Amazonian Brazil and Bolivia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia, Brazil (type locality), Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


De Oliveira et al. (2015) studied Cecropia diversity and ant occupancy of Ceropia by ants in southwest Bahia, Brazil. Azteca ovaticeps was found in 25% (131 trees) of the Cecropia examined.



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • aequilata. Azteca alfari var. aequilata Forel, 1904e: 691 (w.q.m.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of ovaticeps: Longino, 1989: 8.
  • ovaticeps. Azteca alfaroi var. ovaticeps Forel, 1904c: 44 (w.q.) BRAZIL. Raised to species and senior synonym of aequalis, aequilata, tuberosa: Longino, 1989: 8. See also: Longino, 2007: 42.
  • aequalis. Azteca alfari var. aequalis Forel, 1906d: 239 (w.) BRAZIL. Forel, 1908c: 387 (q.m.). Junior synonym of ovaticeps: Longino, 1989: 8.
  • tuberosa. Azteca alfari r. tuberosa Forel, 1906d: 240 (s.w.q.) BRAZIL. [Azteca alfari r. tuberosa Forel, 1905b: 159. Nomen nudum.] Junior synonym of ovaticeps: Longino, 1989: 8.

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): HLA 1.16 (0.93–1.31), HW 1.02 (0.87–1.19), SL 0.71 (0.59–0.78), CI 92 (88–94), SI 61 (60–67).

Similar to Azteca alfari in almost all respects and not always distinguishable. In general A. ovaticeps is more setose, with a “scruffy” appearance on the mesosomal dorsum. There are always > 10 setae on the mesonotum, with median number about 20, and they are of irregular length. In contrast, A. alfari has a cleaner look, with fewer dorsal setae. There are 2–17 setae on the mesonotum, with median number 8, and they are of relatively more even length.


Longino (2007) - (n=11): HLA 1.60 (1.52–1.65), HW 1.34 (1.27–1.37), SL 0.81 (0.79–0.84), CI 83 (82–85), SI 51 (49–53).

Similar to Azteca alfari in almost all respects; differing as follows: fourth abdominal tergum with > 10 erect setae (rarely fewer), exclusive of posterior row (< 6 in A. alfari); dorsal surface of head, when viewed in profile, often with setae bridging the gap between the ocellar region and the upper vertex, and often with setae extending up from the clypeus almost to the ocellar region (these areas devoid of setae in A. alfari); scape relatively long (SI 49–54 versus 45–49 in A. alfari, Fig. 6C); color usually light red brown, A. alfari usually black.

Type Material

Longino (2007) - Syntype queens, workers: Brazil, Pará (Göldi) Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, Museum of Comparative Zoology (examined).


  • Forel, A. 1904d. Miscellanea myrmécologiques. Rev. Suisse Zool. 12: 1-52 (page 44, worker, queen described)
  • Longino, J. T. 1989b. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting ants in the Azteca alfari species group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): evidence for two broadly sympatric species. Contr. Sci. (Los Angel.) 412: 1-16 (page 8, raised to species, and senior synonym of aequalis, aequilata, and tuberosa)
  • Longino, J.T. 2007. A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group. Zootaxa. 1491:1-63.
  • de Oliveira, G. V., M. M. Correa, I. M. A. Goes, A. F. P. Machado, R. J. de Sa-Neto, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2015. Interactions between Cecropia (Urticaceae) and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along a longitudinal east-west transect in the Brazilian Northeast. Annales De La Societe Entomologique De France. 51:153-160. doi:10.1080/00379271.2015.1061231