Azteca ovaticeps

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Azteca ovaticeps
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
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.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 10.46667° to -12.7°.

Tropical South

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

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.



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.

Association with Other Organisms

  • This species is a host for the eurytomid wasp Aximopsis sp. (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode independent; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).



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

  • ovaticeps. Azteca alfaroi var. ovaticeps Forel, 1904c: 44 (w.q.) BRAZIL (Pará).
    • Subspecies of alfari: Forel, 1908c: 386; Emery, 1913a: 31; Crawley, 1916b: 375; Borgmeier, 1923: 89; Wheeler, W.M. & Bequaert, 1929: 33; Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 220; Kempf, 1972a: 29.
    • Status as species: Longino, 1989: 8 (redescription); Brandão, 1991: 329; Longino, 1991: 1592; Shattuck, 1994: 23; Bolton, 1995b: 79; Longino, 2007: 42 (redescription); Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 108.
    • Senior synonym of aequalis: Longino, 1989: 8; Brandão, 1991: 329; Bolton, 1995b: 79; Longino, 2007: 42.
    • Senior synonym of aequilata: Longino, 1989: 8; Brandão, 1991: 329; Bolton, 1995b: 79; Longino, 2007: 42.
    • Senior synonym of tuberosa: Longino, 1989: 8; Brandão, 1991: 329; Bolton, 1995b: 79; Longino, 2007: 42.
  • aequalis. Azteca alfari var. aequalis Forel, 1906d: 239 (w.) BRAZIL (Pará).
    • Forel, 1908c: 387 (q.m.).
    • Subspecies of alfari: Forel, 1908c: 386; Forel, 1912h: 51; Emery, 1913a: 31; Borgmeier, 1923: 88; Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 216; Kempf, 1972a: 29.
    • Junior synonym of ovaticeps: Longino, 1989: 8; Brandão, 1991: 329; Bolton, 1995b: 78; Longino, 2007: 42.
  • aequilata. Azteca alfari var. aequilata Forel, 1904e: 691 (w.q.m.) BRAZIL (Amazonas).
    • Subspecies of alfari: Forel, 1906d: 239; Emery, 1913a: 31; Borgmeier, 1923: 89; Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 217; Kempf, 1972a: 29.
    • Junior synonym of ovaticeps: Longino, 1989: 8; Brandão, 1991: 329; Bolton, 1995b: 78; Longino, 2007: 42.
  • tuberosa. Azteca alfari r. tuberosa Forel, 1906d: 240 (s.w.q.) BRAZIL (Ceará).
    • [Azteca alfari r. tuberosa Forel, 1905b: 159. Nomen nudum.]
    • Subspecies of alfari: Forel, 1908e: 63; Emery, 1913a: 31; Borgmeier, 1923: 89; Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 224; Kempf, 1972a: 29.
    • Junior synonym of ovaticeps: Longino, 1989: 8; Brandão, 1991: 329; Bolton, 1995b: 80; Longino, 2007: 42.

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).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Ayala F. J., J. K. Wetterer, J. T. Longino, and D. L. Hartl. 1996. Molecular phylogeny of Azteca ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the colonization of Cecropia trees. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 5: 423-428.
  • Baroni Urbani C. 1977. Katalog der Typen von Formicidae (Hymenoptera) der Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Basel (2. Teil). Mitt. Entomol. Ges. Basel (n.s.) 27: 61-102.
  • Borgmeier T. 1923. Catalogo systematico e synonymico das formigas do Brasil. 1 parte. Subfam. Dorylinae, Cerapachyinae, Ponerinae, Dolichoderinae. Archivos do Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro) 24: 33-103.
  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • 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.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Forel A. 1906. Fourmis néotropiques nouvelles ou peu connues. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 50: 225-249.
  • Forel A. 1908. Ameisen aus Sao Paulo (Brasilien), Paraguay etc. gesammelt von Prof. Herm. v. Ihering, Dr. Lutz, Dr. Fiebrig, etc. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 58: 340-418.
  • Forel A. 1908. Catálogo systemático da collecção de formigas do Ceará. Boletim do Museu Rocha 1(1): 62-69.
  • 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.
  • INBio Collection (via Gbif)
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Longino J. T. 1989. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting ants in the Azteca alfari species group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): evidence for two broadly sympatric species. Contributions in Science (Los Angeles) 412: 1-16
  • Longino J. T. 1991. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting Azteca ants. Journal of Natural History 25: 1571-1602
  • 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
  • Longino J. T., J. Coddington, and R. K. Colwell. 2002. The ant fauna of a tropical rain forest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83: 689-702.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at
  • 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. 1942. Studies of Neotropical ant-plants and their ants. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 90: 1-262.
  • 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. Intera ctions between Cecropia (Urticaceae) and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along a longitudinal east-west transect in the Brazilian Northeast. Annales de la Société entomologique de France