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Daceton armigerum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Daceton
Perty, 1833
Type species
Formica armigera, now Daceton armigerum
2 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Daceton armigerum casent0178489 profile 1.jpg

Daceton armigerum

Daceton armigerum casent0178489 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

Ochetomyrmex (2 species), Tranopelta (2 species)

Allomerus (8 species), Blepharidatta (4 species), Diaphoromyrma (1 species), Lachnomyrmex (16 species), Wasmannia (11 species)

  (7 species)

  (2 species)

  (7 species)

  (4 species)

  (29 species)

  (16 species)

  (19 species)

  (9 species)

Acromyrmex (55 species), Apterostigma (44 species), Atta (20 species), Cyatta (1 species), Cyphomyrmex (23 species), Kalathomyrmex (1 species), Mycetophylax (21 species), Mycetagroicus (4 species), Mycetarotes (4 species), Mycetosoritis (2 species), Mycocepurus (6 species), Myrmicocrypta (31 species), Sericomyrmex (11 species), Trachymyrmex (9 species), Xerolitor (1 species)

Basiceros (8 species), Cephalotes (119 species), Eurhopalothrix (53 species), Octostruma (34 species), Phalacromyrmex (1 species), Pheidole (1,292 species), Pilotrochus (1 species), Procryptocerus (44 species), Protalaridris (7 species), Rhopalothrix (16 species), Strumigenys (852 species), Talaridris (1 species)

Based on Ward et al. (2014), Blaimer et al. (2018) and Li et al. (2018).

A striking and, within its range, commonly encountered member of the arboreal ant fauna.

At a Glance • Trap-Jaw  



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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Neotropical. South American rainforests.

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Daceton armigerum Copyright: Piotr Naskrecki

Azorsa & Sosa-Calvo (2008) - The monotypic ant genus Daceton Perty (Myrmicinae: Dacetini), and its hitherto known sole species Daceton armigerum, is restricted to South American rainforests (Kempf 1972, Fernández & Sendoya 2004, Bolton et. al. 2007). In this region, Daceton and the larger species of the genus Cephalotes are arguably the most morphologically striking arboreal ants. Daceton usually nests in cavities in the branches and trunks of trees previously bored by beetles and other insects. Blum and Portocarrero (1966) and Moffet and Tobin (1991) state that colonies of D. armigerum contain up to 2500 individuals, whereas Wilson (1962) and Hölldobler & Wilson (1990) estimate that colonies contain between 5000 to 10000 workers. Daceton armigerum has a complex continuously polymorphic caste system, in which smaller workers nurse the brood and larger workers hunt, dismember prey items, and defend the nest (Wilson 1962; Oster & Wilson 1978; Hölldobler & Wilson 1990). Wilson (1962) reports that workers of this highly predaceous myrmicine ant hunt individually for a variety of live insects, including flies, grasshoppers, larvae and adults of moths and beetles, and fulgorids. In addition, some workers have been observed tending coccids (Bodkin in Crawley 1916; Brown & Wilson 1960; Wilson 1962). (Refer to Wilson [1962] for further information on the behavior of D. armigerum.) Recently, Yanoviak et al. (2005) found that individuals of D. armigerum show controlled aerial descent behavior. The genus has been considered primitive with respect to other members of the Dacetini (Brown and Wilson 1959; Bolton 1998, 1999, 2000), but a phylogenetic analysis of the tribe is necessary to fully understand the relationships of its constituent species and genera. Current molecular phylogenetic evidence suggests that Dacetini may not be monophyletic (Brady et al. 2006).

Association with Other Organisms

All Associate Records for Genus

Explore Associate Data: All, Drilldown
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Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Daceton armigerum host fungus Ophiocordyceps dacetini pathogen Araujo et al., 2018


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

  • DACETON [Myrmicinae: Dacetini]
    • Daceton Perty, 1833: 136. Type-species: Formica armigera, by monotypy.
    • Daceton senior synonym of Dacetum: Brown, 1973b: 179.
  • DACETUM [junior synonym of Daceton]
    • Dacetum Agassiz, 1846: 332, unjustified emendation of Daceton.
    • Dacetum junior synonym of Daceton: Brown, 1973b: 179.

Baroni Urbani & De Andrade (2007) - Autapomorphies for this monotypic genus included in our data matrix are the following:

Worker (and gyne) foramen occipitale dorsal, CI 1.00, RI 0.00.

Worker (and gyne) scape straight at base. CI 0.50, RI 0.33. The straight condition of Daceton is shared with Acanthognathus.

Worker (and gyne) orifice of the metapleural gland visible. CI 0.33, RI 0.50. The visible condition of Daceton appears to be unique among the Dacetini. The low CI and RI values are due to variation among the outgroups.

Worker (and gyne) propodeal spiracle median (instead of posterior). CI 0.33, RI 0.60. The median location of Daceton appears to be unique among the Dacetini. The low CI and RI values are due to variation among the outgroups.

Worker (and gyne) antennae 11-jointed. CI 0.20, RI 0.50 for the 11-12 jointed state.

The above apomorphy list is largely sufficient to regard Daceton as a separate genus.


Bolton (2000) - Mandibles linear and elongate, with kinetic mode of action, each with an apical fork of 2 teeth that overlap at full closure; lower tooth of apical pair the largest; preapical dentition absent. Base of mandible highly polished dorsally and with a longitudinal deep cleft that extends distally from the vicinity of the mandalus. Mandibles at full gape open to 170 degrees or more. Basal process of mandible a broadly rounded shallow lobe; at full mandibular closure process is dorsal to labrum and fits into a mediodorsal impression on labrum. Palp formula 5, 3. Labrum roughly T-shaped, short and not capable of reflexing to conceal the labio-maxillary complex , which is permanently exposed . Each lateral labral arm locks into a deep emargination near the inner mandibular base at closure. A single long trigger hair arises from each transverse arm of the T-shaped labrum. Side of head with a broad gap between base of mandible and margin of head capsule when mandibles fully closed. Frontal lobes absent; antennal socket surrounded only by an enlarged torulus, the dorsal part of the torulus hypertrophied above the condylar bulb. Eye large, set upon on a broad low cuticular prominence, not sessile, not located ventrolaterally on side of head. Occipital foramen located very high on occiput. Antenna with 11 segments, without a distinctly differentiated club. Scape, when laid back in its normal resting position, passes below the eye; apical portion of extended scape curved anteriorly when seen in full-face view; scape not abruptly downcurved near base. Scrobe absent. Pronotal humeri spinose; mesonotum with a pair of sharp tubercles. Propodeal spiracle high on side and far forward , at about the midlength of the sclerite. Orifice of propodeal spiracle vertically oval, not round. Metapleural gland bulla with its apex widely separated from propodeal spiracle; orifice of metapleural gland posterior, visible. Waist segments without spongiform tissue and without lateral laminar cuticular processes; petiole node bidentate; postpetiole not dorsoventrally flattened ; postpetiolar spiracle lateral. Limbus absent from first gastral tergite; suture between first gastral tergite and sternite evenly rounded laterobasally; basigastral costulae absent.


  • Baroni Urbani, C. & De Andrade, M.L. 2007. The ant tribe Dacetini: limits and constituent genera, with descriptions of new species. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale “G. Doria”. 99:1-191.
  • Agassiz, J. L. R. 1846. Nomenclatoris zoologici index universalis, continens nomina systematica classium, ordinum, familiarum, et generum animalium omnium, tam viventium quam fossilium. Soloduri [= Solothurn, Switzerland]: Jent & Gassmann, viii + 393 pp. (page 322, Dacetum 1848: unjustified emendation of Daceton)
  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 384, Daceton in Cryptoceridae, Dacetonini)
  • Azorsa, F. & Sosa-Calvo, J. 2008. Description of a remarkable new species of ant in the genus Daceton Perty from South America. Zootaxa 1749: 27-38.
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 187, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1948e. A preliminary generic revision of the higher Dacetini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 74: 101-129 (page 102, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1973b. A comparison of the Hylean and Congo-West African rain forest ant faunas. Pp. 161-185 in: Meggers, B. J., Ayensu, E. S., Duckworth, W. D. (eds.) Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Wash (page 179, Daceton senior synonym of Dacetum)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 149, Daceton in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1943g. A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(10): 617-688 (page 637, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Emery, C. 1877b. Saggio di un ordinamento naturale dei Mirmicidei, e considerazioni sulla filogenesi delle formiche. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 9: 67-83 (page 81, Daceton in Myrmicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 770, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 42, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Emery, C. 1924f [1922]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 316, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Forel, A. 1892d. Attini und Cryptocerini. Zwei neue Apterostigma-Arten. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 8: 344-349 (page 344, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Forel, A. 1893b. Sur la classification de la famille des Formicides, avec remarques synonymiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 161-167 (page 164, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Forel, A. 1895b. A fauna das formigas do Brazil. Bol. Mus. Para. Hist. Nat. Ethnogr. 1: 89-139 (page 136, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 246, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 26, Daceton in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Paul, J. 2001. Mandible movements in ants. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular, Integrative Physiology 131, 7–20 (doi:10.1016/s1095-6433(01)00458-5).
  • Perty, M. 1833. Delectus animalium articulatorum, quae in itinere per Brasiliam annis MDCCCXVII-MDCCCXX jussu et auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I. Bavariae regis augustissimi peracto, collegerunt Dr. J. B. Spix et Dr. C. F. Ph. de Martius. Fasc. 3. Monach (page 136, Daceton as genus)
  • Smith, F. 1853 [1854]. Monograph of the genus Cryptocerus, belonging to the group Cryptoceridae - family Myrmicidae - division Hymenoptera Heterogyna. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (2) 2: 213-228 (page 226, Daceton in Myrmicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 160, Daceton in Poneridae, Myrmicidae)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 141, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 666, Daceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)