Cephalotes klugi

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cephalotes klugi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Cephalotes
Species: C. klugi
Binomial name
Cephalotes klugi
(Emery, 1894)

Cephalotes klugi P casent0904918.jpg

Cephalotes klugi D casent0904918.jpg

Specimen Label

Nothing is known about the biology of Cephalotes klugi.


A member of the grandinosus clade characterised in the gyne by the yellow-orange gaster with a dark-brown median, transversal stripe. It differs from its sister species grandinosus by the smaller and more superficial body foveolation. Easily differentiated from Cephalotes grandinosus in the gyne by the much smaller, shallower and sparser foveae on the head and mesosoma. (de Andrade and Baroni Urbani 1999)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The biology of many Cephalotes species is not known. Ants in this genus are common in the New World tropics and subtropics and are especially abundant and diverse in the canopies of Neotropical forests. The majority of species are arboreal. Species that live in other strata inhabit smaller trees, bushes or grass stems. These noon-arboreal species, due to their accessibility, are among the better studied members of the genus. There are also species that can be found in downed wood but it is likely the wood housed the colony before it fell to the ground. Soil nests are not known for any species nor do most species appear to extensively excavate plant tissue. They nest instead in preformed cavities. Overall, ants in the genus utilize a wide range of plants. Some species are predictable in their plant use but none appear to have evolved specialized mutualisms with particular plant species.

Worker castes typically include two forms, a worker and soldier, but there are a few species that are monomorphic. The larger soldier caste typically has an enlarged head disk. In some species the head of the soldier is very different from the worker while in others these differences are less pronounced. Queens and soldiers tend to share similar head morphology. Soldiers use their heads to plug the nest entrance. This can be very effective in excluding potential intruders. Other morphological differences between the worker castes are present but these differences have not been studied as well as head moprhology.

The behavioral repertoire of Cephalotes varians has been examined in great detail (ethograms from Wilson 1976, Cole 1980 and Cole 1983). Soldiers do little else besides defend the nest. This specialized soldier behavior is presumed to be the norm for most species. An especially interesting behavior occurs when workers are dislodged from trees: they "fly" towards the tree, often grabbing the trunk well above the ground (video).

Mature nest size varies, by species, from less than a hundred to many thousands of workers. Available evidence suggests most species are monogynous. Queens may mate with multiple males.

The proventriculus of the Cephalotes is peculiar relative to other ants. The morphology of the structure suggests it serves as a powerful pump and filter. This does not appear to lead these ants to have a highly specialized diet as most species appear to be general scavengers. Foragers have been observed feeding on carrion, bird feces, extrafloral nectaries and even tending membracids. Pollen feeding has been observed in some species, and this is somewhat specialized for ants, but it is not evident that any species restricts its diet to this resource in any significant way. Evidence for pollen feeding in Cephalotes has accumulated, in part, via finding digested pollen grains seen in infrabucal pellets. It has been suggested that the morphology of the proventriculus is a specialization for processing pollen.

More research examining all aspects of the biology of Cephalotes is needed. Our present understanding of these ants is largely based on species that live in locations other than the forest canopy, which is where Cephalotes are most common and diverse.



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

  • klugi. Cryptocerus klugi Emery, 1894c: 210, pl. 4, figs. 27, 28 (q.) BRAZIL. Combination in Paracryptocerus (Harnedia): Kempf, 1958a: 139; in Zacryptocerus: Brandão, 1991: 386; in Cephalotes: De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999: 440.

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



de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Head disc present. Head dorsum with concave sides and with gently convex frons. Frontal carinae with parallel sides. Posterior border of the disc slightly convex and medially incised by the depression of the vertex. Border of the frontal carinae raised and sparsely crenulate. Vertexal angles obtuse and marginate. Eyes visible in full dorsal view. Ocelli remote from the posterior border of the head disc. Anterior clypeal border concave. Mandibles with a lateral carina and partially hidden by the frontal carinae.

Mesosoma. Anterior pronotal border straight. Humeral angles with a pair of obtuse, membranaceous borders diverging backwards and connected to a weak pronotal crest shortly interrupted in the middle. Pronotal sides posterior to the angles straight. Promesonotal suture impressed. Lower mesopleurae with a stout denticle. Mesonotum and scutellum flat. Propodeum with differentiate basal and declivous faces; sides of the basal face convex, ending in a round tooth posteriorly; sides of the declivous face converging posteriorly.

Anterior face of the petiole concave; petiolar dorsum gently sloping anteriorly; petiolar sides with a narrow, convex, lamellaceous expansion. Postpetiole convex; anterior half of its sides with a pair of obtuse teeth directed laterally and with narrow, membranaceous expansions.

Gaster with a pair of obtuse lobes protruding anteriorly and with the margin not reaching the stigma posteriorly.

Legs. Fore coxae angulate anteriorly. Hind femora gently compressed and carinate dorsally; posterior margin of the ventral face of the mid and hind femora with a narrow, membranaceous crest. Hind basitarsi long and flattened at the base.

Sculpture. Frons covered by small, dense, superficial foveae diminishing in size anteriorly. Sides of the head dorsum superficially punctate and with rare foveae. Frontal carinae transparent. Ventral face of the head reticulate and with minute, sparse, shallow foveae. Pronotum medically with the same type of sculpture as on the sides of the head. Mesonotum and scutellum reticulate and with foveae as broad as on the posterior part of the frons, the foveae diminishing in size on the posterior part of the scutellum. Propleurae, lower mesopleurae, metapleurae and declivous face of the propodeum reticulate; few thin, faint rugulae transversally oriented on the declivous face of the propodeum and longitudinal on the metapleurae and on the lower mesopleurae. Posterior part of the pronotum, upper mesopleurae, basal face of the propodeum and pedicel reticulate and with dense, small foveae as on the frons. Gaster and legs reticulate, with thin, faint, longitudinal rugosities on the anterior third of the first gastral tergite.

Pilosity. Each fovea with an appressed hair. Border of the frontal carinae and of the vertexal angles, mesosoma, pedicel and tergites with sparse, suberect, clubbed hairs; similar hairs but shorter on the sternites and on the legs. Gaster and legs with an additional type of hairs, thin, sparse and appressed. Sternites, distally, with rare, long, thin, slightly pointed hairs.

Colour. Head dorsum, anterior half of the ventral part of the head, pronotum, sides of the pedicel, of the basal face of the propodeum, posterior half of the first tergite, two posterior thirds of the sternites and legs light brown; femora darker; clypeus, posterior half of the ventral part of the head, mesonotum, scutellum, propodeum, pedicel, pleurae, second fourth of the first gastral tergite and anterior third of the first gastral sternite black. Anterior fourth of the first gastral tergite yellow.

Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 7.06; HL 1.28; HW 1.46; EL 0.34; PW 1.48; PeW 0.60; PpW 0.84; HBaL 0.44; HBaW 0.16; CI 114.1; PI 98.6; PPeI 246.7; PPpI 176.2; HBaI 36.4.

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Gyne. Type locality: Mato Grosso (Brazil). Type material: holotype dealate gyne (unique) labelled: "Bresil, Provo Matto Grosso, 1886, P. Germain, Cryptocerus klugi Emery, Type", examined Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa.


  • Brandão, C. R. F. 1991. Adendos ao catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412 (page 386, Combination in Zacryptocerus)
  • de Andrade, M. L.; Baroni Urbani, C. 1999. Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present. Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Series B (Geolgie and Palaontologie). 271:1-889. (page 440, Combination in Cephalotes)
  • Emery, C. 1894d. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. VI-XVI. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 26: 137-241 (page 210, pl. 4, figs. 27, 28 queen described)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1958a. New studies of the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. (n.s.) 1: 1-168 (page 139, Combination in Paracryptocerus (Harnedia))