Azteca xanthochroa

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Azteca xanthochroa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Azteca
Species: A. xanthochroa
Binomial name
Azteca xanthochroa
(Roger, 1863)

Azteca xanthochroa casent0610377 p 1 high.jpg

Azteca xanthochroa casent0610377 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Longino (2007) - The taxonomy and biology of A. xanthochroa is reviewed in Longino (1989b, 1991a, b). The species is an obligate Cecropia ant. It is one of the most common Cecropia ants in Costa Rica, occurring in wet to moist forest habitats and extending to relatively high elevations (up to 1400m). Mature colonies occupy a single carton nest in the bole of the tree. All larvae and alate sexuals are concentrated in this single nest. Branch tips, which all communicate internally with the carton nest, contain only workers and Hemiptera. Workers of this species are very aggressive, and respond to any disturbance by pouring out of branch tips. A distinctive feature of this species is that workers maintain a vertical fissure near the base of the tree, far below the carton nest. Workers can move freely inside the trunk from the nest to this fissure. Thus, when the tree is disturbed at the base, workers suddenly appear on the trunk at ground level (Longino 1991a).


Longino (2007) - The queens of A. xanthochroa are very distinctive and not easily confused with any other species. Workers of Azteca constructor and A. xanthochroa are very similar. Large workers of A. constructor retain a chocolate brown color, while large workers of A. xanthochroa become more mottled orange. The petiolar node of A. constructor workers is relatively low, while the posteroventral lobe is relatively deep and strongly convex. Workers of A. xanthochroa are the reverse, with relatively taller node and shallower ventral lobe.

Keys including this Species


Mexico to Costa Rica.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 18.5851° to -8.25778°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (type locality), Trinidad and Tobago.

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.


Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.

This species is a host for the encyrtid wasp Aenasius tachigaliae (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (associate).



Images from AntWeb

Azteca xanthochroa casent0905099 h 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0905099 p 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0905099 d 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0905099 l 1 high.jpg
Paralectotype of Azteca xanthochroa costaricensisWorker. Specimen code casent0905099. Photographer Z. Lieberman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MSNG, Genoa, Italy.
Azteca xanthochroa casent0915574 h 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0915574 p 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0915574 d 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0915574 l 1 high.jpg
Lectotype of Azteca xanthochroa costaricensisWorker. Specimen code casent0915574. Photographer Z. Lieberman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMW, Vienna, Austria.


Images from AntWeb

Azteca xanthochroa casent0249555 h 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0249555 p 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0249555 d 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa casent0249555 l 1 high.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0249555. Photographer Shannon Hartman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by PSWC, Philip S. Ward Collection.
Azteca xanthochroa jtlc000010294 h 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa jtlc000010294 p 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa jtlc000010294 d 1 high.jpgAzteca xanthochroa jtlc000010294 l 1 high.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code jtlc000010294. Photographer Ryan Perry, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by JTLC.


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

  • xanthochroa. Liometopum xanthochroum Roger, 1863a: 167 (q.) MEXICO (no state data).
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: Mexico: (no further data).
    • Type-depository: unknown.
    • [Note: Shattuck, 1994: 29, cites a “possible queen type” BMNH.]
    • Mayr, 1866a: 497 (w.); Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 247 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1951: 193 (l.).
    • Combination in Iridomyrmex: Mayr, 1866a: 497;
    • combination in Azteca: Forel, 1878: 384.
    • Junior synonym of instabilis: Mayr, 1878: 870; Dalla Torre, 1893: 164; Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 159.
    • Subspecies of instabilis: Emery, 1893b: 137.
    • Status as species: Roger, 1863b: 14; Mayr, 1863: 427; Mayr, 1866a: 497; Emery, 1896c: 2 (redescription); Forel, 1899c: 115; Emery, 1913a: 35; Wheeler, W.M. 1922c: 15; Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 247; Kempf, 1972a: 36; Brandão, 1991: 329; Longino, 1991: 1594 (redescription); Shattuck, 1994: 29; Bolton, 1995b: 80; Longino, 2007: 52 (redescription); Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 253.
    • Senior synonym of costaricensis: Longino, 1991: 1594; Shattuck, 1994: 29; Bolton, 1995b: 80; Longino, 2007: 53.
    • Distribution: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama.
  • costaricensis. Azteca xanthochroa var. costaricensis Wheeler, W.M. 1942: 248 (in text) (w.) COSTA RICA.
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Longino, 1991: 1594), 5 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: Costa Rica: Jimenez, v.1895 (A. Alfaro).
    • Type-depositories: NHMW (lectotype); MSNG, NHMW (paralectotypes).
    • Subspecies of xanthochroa: Kempf, 1972a: 36.
    • Junior synonym of xanthochroa: Longino, 1991: 1594; Shattuck, 1994: 29; Bolton, 1995b: 78; Longino, 2007: 53.

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



Longino (2007) - (n=4): HLA 1.59 (1.40–1.69), HW 1.41 (1.30–1.49), SL 1.05 (0.95–1.08), CI 89 (87–93), SI 67 (62–68).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta very short, appressed and little larger than width of puncta, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level; head with convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; mesosoma in lateral profile with promesonotum forming a single broad convexity, or mesonotum forming a distinct, somewhat more strongly produced convexity; metanotal groove broad; petiole in profile with node larger than sternal lobe, perpendicular distance from tergosternal suture to apex of node greater than distance to ventral margin of sternal lobe (in contrast to A. constructor, on which the petiolar node is smaller relative to sternal lobe); scape with abundant erect setae, length of setae about one half maximum width of scape; mid and hind tibia with abundant erect setae, longest setae about one half maximum width of tibia; sides of head with erect setae short, sparse to absent; posterior margin of head with abundant short erect setae; pronotum with abundant long erect setae; mesonotum with setae absent on anterior half, grading to longer setae on posterior half; dorsal face of propodeum with very short setae, grading into pubescence; color brown to mottled orange brown.


Longino (2007) - (n=10): HLA 2.42 (2.37–2.65), HW 1.97 (1.90–2.17), SL 1.32 (1.25–1.37), CI 82 (79–83), SI 54 (51–56).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining or very faintly sculptured, with sparse small piligerous puncta, setae in puncta very short, appressed and little larger than width of puncta, larger puncta with long setae near masticatory margin; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level (medial lobe not projecting anteriorly); head quadrate, sides subparallel to slightly diverging, strongly cordate posteriorly, with angulate posterolateral margins; petiolar node tall, triangular, acute; posteroventral petiolar lobe evenly convex, shallow, not strongly developed; scape with abundant erect setae, about as long as one half maximum width of scape; middle and hind tibia with abundant erect setae, longest of these one half to two thirds maximum width of tibia (MTSC 25–35); sides of head with 1–2 erect setae near mandibular insertions, absent elsewhere; posterior margin of head with abundant short erect setae; pronotum with abundant long setae on posterior third; mesoscutum with anterior one half to one third usually devoid of erect setae, posterior two thirds to one half with abundant setae, occasionally erect setae sparse to nearly absent throughout; scutellum with abundant long setae; propodeum with sparse erect setae, occasionally bare; petiolar node with 0–6 erect setae, 0–4 long setae and more abundant short, fine setae on posteroventral lobe; all gastral terga with abundant erect setae; color orange.

Type Material

Longino (2007) - Holotype queen: Mexico.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Del Toro, I., M. Vázquez, W.P. Mackay, P. Rojas and R. Zapata-Mata. Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Tabasco: explorando la diversidad de la mirmecofauna en las selvas tropicales de baja altitud. Dugesiana 16(1):1-14.
  • Emery C. 1896. Alcune forme nuove del genere Azteca For. e note biologiche. Bollettino dei Musei di Zoologia ed Anatomia Comparata della Reale Università di Torino 11(230): 1-7.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • 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. 1991. Taxonomy of the Cecropia-inhabiting Azteca ants. Journal of Natural History 25: 1571-1602
  • Longino J. T. 2013. Ants of Nicargua. Consulted on 18 Jan 2013.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at
  • Longino, J.T. 2010. Personal Communication. Longino Collection Database
  • Maes, J.-M. and W.P. MacKay. 1993. Catalogo de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Nicaragua. Revista Nicaraguense de Entomologia 23.
  • Maravalhas, J. and H.C. Morais. 2007. Espécies de Formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) associadas a grupos de Rotundicerus sp. (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) em Roupala montana Aybl. (Proteaceae), em Área de cerrado do Distrito Federal. Anais do VIII Congresso de Ecologia do Brasil, 23 a 28 de Setembro de 2007, Caxambu - MG.
  • Sandoval V. E., and G. Zambrano. 2007. Catálogo de las hormigas presentes en el Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad del Cauca. Taller Editorial de la Universidad del Cauca, Popayán. 60 pp.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. The ants of Trinidad. American Museum Novitates 45: 1-16.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1942. Studies of Neotropical ant-plants and their ants. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 90: 1-262.