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Temporal range: 11.608–0 Ma Late/Upper Miocene – Recent
Ectatomma tuberculatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ectatomminae
Tribe: Ectatommini
Genus: Ectatomma
Smith, F., 1858
Type species
Formica tuberculata, now Ectatomma tuberculatum
15 species
1 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Ectatomma tuberculatum casent0173380 profile 1.jpg

Ectatomma tuberculatum

Ectatomma tuberculatum casent0173380 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Placement

  (15 species)

  (104 species)

  (144 species)

  (7 species)

Based on Brady et al., 2006

Nettel-Hernanz et a. (2015) - The genus Ectatomma, with 15 recognized species, includes relatively large ants, endemic to the Neotropics (Kugler and Brown 1982). Most of these species are relatively common in diverse habitats (wet forest, dry forest, and savannah) below an altitude of 1500 min the Neotropics (Brown 1958). Some of them are commonly found in plantations where they are considered ecologically dominant (Majer et al. 1994; Schatz and Lachaud 2008). Most are generalist predators (Brown 1958), and the two most common species Ectatomma tuberculatum and Ectatomma ruidum have been extensively studied as they are regarded as important natural biological control agents against cotton, coffee, cocoa and maize pests in Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico (Perfecto 1990; Ibarra-Núñez et al. 2001). In contrast, some Ectatomma species present a restricted distribution, and their taxonomy is surprisingly poorly known.


AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus



Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Fossils are known from: Sicilian amber, Italy (Late/Upper Miocene).


Nettel-Hernanz et al. (2015) - Although the geographical distribution of most Ectatomma species is in South America, the two most common species, Ectatomma ruidum and Ectatomma tuberculatum, display variation in their colony structures, both regarding the number of queens (strictly monogynous vs polygynous populations in E. tuberculatum) and their phenotypes, presenting miniaturized queens (Hora et al. 2005; Lenoir et al. 2011) in the northern part of their range.

Our phylogenetic analysis unveils cases of unrecognized or cryptic diversity strongly suggesting there are more than 15 species present in the genus. The miniaturization of queens, known from two species, has evolved independently. Ectatomma appears to have originated in the early or middle Miocene,between 15.8 and 22.8MYA.

Association with Other Organisms

Species Uncertain

An unknown species of Ectatomma is a host for the eucharitid wasp Tricoryna ectatommae (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database).

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
Ectatomma host eucharitid wasp Tricoryna ectatommae parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database associate, primary host
Ectatomma brunneum host eucharitid wasp Dicoelothorax platycerus parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Ectatomma parasiticum inquiline ant Ectatomma tuberculatum
Ectatomma ruidum host eucharitid wasp Isomerala azteca parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Ectatomma ruidum host eucharitid wasp Isomerala coronata parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Ectatomma ruidum host eucharitid wasp Kapala sulcifacies parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Ectatomma ruidum host nematode Meximermis ectatommi parasite Poinar et al., 2006
Ectatomma tuberculatum host ant Ectatomma parasiticum inquiline
Ectatomma tuberculatum host eucharitid wasp Dilocantha lachaudii parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database associate
Ectatomma tuberculatum host eucharitid wasp Isomerala azteca parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database associate
Ectatomma tuberculatum host eucharitid wasp Isomerala coronata parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database associate
Ectatomma tuberculatum host nematode unidentified nematode parasite French Guiana



Worker Morphology

  • Antennal segment count: 12
  • Antennal club: absent
  • Palp formula: 2,2
  • Total dental count: 12-30
  • Spur formula: 1 simple-barbulate, 1 simple-barbulate
  • Sting: present

Male Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 5,3 • Total dental count 8-9 • Spur formula 1 barbulate- pectinate, 1 barbulate- pectinate


All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Click here to show/hide karyotype data.
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Ectatomma brunneum 44 22M+22A Brazil Barros et al., 2008
Ectatomma edentatum 46 Brazil Barros et al., 2008
Ectatomma muticum 20 16M+4A Brazil Barros et al., 2008
Ectatomma permagnum 46 20M+26A Brazil Barros et al., 2008
Ectatomma tuberculatum 36 30M+6A Brazil Barros et al., 2008


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

  • ECTATOMMA [Ectatomminae: Ectatommini]
    • Ectatomma Smith, F. 1858b: 102. Type-species: Formica tuberculata, by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903: 82.


  • 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 382, Ectatomma in Pachycondylinae, Ectatommini)
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 82, Type-species: Formica tuberculata; by subsequent designation)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 173, Ectatomma in Ectatomminae, Ectatommini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958g. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 118: 173-362 (page 206, Revisions of genus)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 23, Ectatomma in Ponerinae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 767, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 41, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Forel, A. 1895b. A fauna das formigas do Brazil. Bol. Mus. Para. Hist. Nat. Ethnogr. 1: 89-139 (page 112, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Forel, A. 1899b. Formicidae. [part]. Biol. Cent.-Am. Hym. 3: 1-24 (page 5, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Forel, A. 1900f. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part VII. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 13: 303-332 (page 316, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 236, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Gallardo, A. 1918c. Las hormigas de la República Argentina. Subfamilia Ponerinas. An. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. B. Aires 30: 1-112 (page 27, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Kugler, C.; Brown, W. L., Jr. 1982. Revisionary and other studies on the ant genus Ectatomma, including the description of two new species. Search Agric. (Ithaca N. Y.) 24: 1-8 (page 6, Revision of genus)
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 714, Ectatomma in Ponerinae (in key) [Poneridae])
  • 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 14, Ectatomma in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Mayr, G. 1868c. Die Ameisen des baltischen Bernsteins. Beitr. Naturkd. Preuss. 1: 1-102 (page 75, Ectatomma in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Mendoza-Penagos, C.C., Hessen, K.O.V., Almeida, R.P.S. 2020. Assessing sodium limitation as a resource for ground-dwelling ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in an area of the Amazonian Terra Firme Forest. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi - Ciências Naturais 15, 135–143 (doi:10.46357/bcnaturais.v15i1.269).
  • Nettel-Hernanz, A., J. P. Lachaud, D. Fresneau, R. A. Lopez-Munoz, and C. Poteaux. 2015. Biogeography, cryptic diversity, and queen dimorphism evolution of the Neotropical ant genus Ectatomma Smith, 1958 (Formicidae, Ectatomminae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 15:543-553. doi:10.1007/s13127-015-0215-9
  • Rabeling, C. 2020. Social Parasitism. In: Starr, C. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Springer, Cham. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_175-1).
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 102, Ectatomma in Poneridae)
  • Smith, F. 1871a. A catalogue of the Aculeate Hymenoptera and Ichneumonidae of India and the Eastern Archipelago. With introductory remarks by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 11: 285-348 (page 324, Ectatomma in Poneridae)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 135, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1915i [1914]. The ants of the Baltic Amber. Schr. Phys.-Ökon. Ges. Königsb. 55: 1-142 (page 33, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • 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 643, Ectatomma in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)