Eciton hamatum

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Eciton hamatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Eciton
Species: E. hamatum
Binomial name
Eciton hamatum
(Fabricius, 1782)



Evolutionary Relationships

Eciton dulcium

Eciton vagans

Eciton quadriglume

Eciton rapax

Eciton mexicanum

Eciton lucanoides

Eciton burchellii

Eciton drepanophorum

Eciton hamatum

Based on Winston et al., 2016. The species Eciton jansoni, Eciton quadriglume, Eciton setigaster and Eciton uncinatum were not included in this study.

von Beeren et al. (2018) found the Wasmannian mimic rove-beetle Ecitophya gracillima in colonies of this species in La Selva biological station in Costa Rica. An analysis of cuticular hydrocarbons showed both the ants and beetle had similar CHC profiles. Laboratory behavioral assays showed the beetles sought contact with host ants and often engaged in reciprocal grooming behavior with workers.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana (type locality), Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 300,000 (Schneirla, 1957; Rettenmeyer, 1963; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: group hunter (Schneirla, 1957; Rettenmeyer, 1963; Beckers et al., 1989)




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

  • hamatum. Formica hamata Fabricius, 1782: 494 (s.) FRENCH GUIANA. Mayr, 1886b: 121 (w.); Emery, 1896g: 39 (m.); Wheeler, W.M. 1925c: 145 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. 1943: 327 (l.). Combination in Eciton: Latreille, 1804: 179; in Camptognatha: Gray, G.R. 1832: 16; in Eciton: Smith, F. 1855c: 161. Senior synonym of curvidentata: Smith, F. 1858b: 148; of amazona, funesta, mattogrossensis, pittieri: Borgmeier, 1953: 14, 13, 10, 9 repectively; of testacea: Kempf, 1972a: 102. See also: Borgmeier, 1955: 214; Tafuri, 1957: 21; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1964c: 134; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1984: 269.
  • curvidentata. Formica curvidentata Latreille, 1802c: 269, pl. 8, fig. 55 (w.) FRENCH GUIANA. Combination in Eciton: Lepeletier, 1835: 179. Junior synonym of hamatum: Smith, F. 1858b: 148.
  • testacea. Camptognatha testacea Gray, G.R. 1832: 516, pl 76, fig. 4 (w.) no locality given. Junior synonym of hamatum: Kempf, 1972a: 102.
  • pittieri. Eciton pittieri Forel, 1899c: 24, pl. 1, fig. 15 (w.) COSTA RICA. Combination in E. (Labidus): Emery, 1910b: 23; in E. (Holopone): Santschi, 1925b: 11. Junior synonym of hamatum: Borgmeier, 1953: 9.
  • mattogrossensis. Eciton hamatum var. mattogrossensis Luederwaldt, 1920: 4 (w.) BRAZIL. Santschi, 1925d: 221 (s.m.); Reichensperger, 1926: 401 (q.). Raised to species: Santschi, 1925d: 221. Junior synonym of hamatum: Borgmeier, 1953: 10.
  • funesta. Eciton hamatum var. funesta Santschi, 1921g: 89 (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Junior synonym of hamatum: Borgmeier, 1953: 13.
  • amazona. Eciton amazona Santschi, 1923d: 68 (s.w.) BRAZIL. Subspecies of mattogrosense: Santschi, 1925d: 221. Junior synonym of hamatum: Borgmeier, 1953: 14.



  • Beckers R., Goss, S., Deneubourg, J.L., Pasteels, J.M. 1989. Colony size, communication and ant foraging Strategy. Psyche 96: 239-256 (doi:10.1155/1989/94279).
  • Borgmeier, T. 1953. Vorarbeiten zu einer Revision der neotropischen Wanderameisen. Stud. Entomol. 2: 1-51 (page 14, 13, 10, 9, Senior synonym of amazona, funesta, mattogrossensis and pittieri)
  • Borgmeier, T. 1955. Die Wanderameisen der neotropischen Region. Stud. Entomol. 3: 1-720 (page 214, see also)
  • Dejean, A., Corbara, B., Roux, O. & Orivel, J. 2013. The antipredatory behaviours of Neotropical ants towards army ant raids (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 19, 17-24.
  • Emery, C. 1896g. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. XVII-XXV. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 28: 33-107 (page 39, male described)
  • Fabricius, J. C. 1782 [1781]. Species insectorum exhibentes eorum differentias specificas, synonyma, auctorum loca natalia, metamorphosin adiectis observationibus, descriptionibus. Tome I. Hamburgi et Kilonii [= Hamburg and Kiel]: C. E. Bohn, 552 pp. (page 494, soldier described)
  • Gray, G. R. 1832. [Untitled. Camptognatha testacea, attributed to Gray.]. P. 516 in: Griffith, E. and others. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organization, by the Baron Cuvier, with supplementary additions to each order by Edward Grif (page 16, Combination in Camptognatha)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 102, Senior synonym of testacea)
  • Latreille, P. A. 1804. Tableau méthodique des insectes. Pp. 129-200 in: Société de Naturalistes et d'Agriculteurs. Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle. Tome 24. Paris: Déterville, 84 + 85 + 238 + 18 + 34 pp. (page 179, Combination in Eciton)
  • Mayr, G. 1886b. Ueber Eciton-Labidus. (Schluss). Wien. Entomol. Ztg. 5: 115-122 (page 121, worker described)
  • Smith, F. 1855c. Descriptions of some species of Brazilian ants belonging to the genera Pseudomyrma, Eciton and Myrmica (with observations on their economy by Mr. H. W. Bates). Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (2) 3: 156-169 (page 161, Combination in Eciton)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 148, Senior synonym of curvidentata)
  • Tafuri, J. F. 1957 [1955]. Growth and polymorphism in the larva of the army ant (Eciton (E.) hamatum Fabricius). J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 63: 21-41 (page 21, see also)
  • von Beeren, C., A. Bruckner, M. Maruyama, G. Burke, J. Wieschollek, and D. J. C. Kronauer. 2018. Chemical and behavioral integration of army ant-associated rove beetles - a comparison between specialists and generalists. Frontiers in Zoology. 15:15. doi:10.1186/s12983-018-0249-x
  • Wheeler, G. C. 1943. The larvae of the army ants. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 36: 319-332 (page 327, larva described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1964c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Dorylinae: supplement. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 66: 129-137 (page 134, see also)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1984a. The larvae of the army ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): a revision. J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 57: 263-275 (page 269, see also)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1925d. The finding of the queen of the army ant Eciton hamatum Fabricius. Biol. Bull. (Woods Hole) 49: 139-149 (page 145, queen described)
  • Winston, M.E., Kronauer, D.J.C. & Moreau, C.S. 2016. Early and dynamic colonization of Central America drives speciation in Neotropical army ants. Molecular Ecology (doi: 10.1111/mec.13846).