Proceratium goliath

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Proceratium goliath
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Proceratiinae
Tribe: Proceratiini
Genus: Proceratium
Species: P. goliath
Binomial name
Proceratium goliath
Kempf & Brown, 1968

The type series was collected in disturbed wet lowland rain forest under a fragment of rotten log.


A member of stictum clade and to the goliath group, and differing from its sister species Proceratium tio, in the worker, by the following two characters: propodeal teeth smaller, ventral process of the petiole at most shortly triangular instead of distinct and spiniform. P. goliath is the largest species of the stictum group.

Keys including this Species


Known from Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 18.436944° to 3.55°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality), Honduras.

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.



Explore-icon.png Explore Overview of Proceratium biology 
Very little is known about the biology of Proceratium ants. They nest in soil, rotten wood, under deep-set stones and, in a few cases, tree branches. For many species the nest consists of small rounded chambers hollowed out of soft rotten wood or in the soil. Toward the cooler limits of the range, particularly in North America, nests and foraging workers are found under deep set rocks instead of in rotten wood. The nest site is usually in forest shade, in old moist gardens, or similar habitats that are constantly moist. Some species of known to be egg predators of arthropods, especially of spiders.

Most Proceratium are relatively rare but this is not the full explanation for why they are not commonly collected. Colonies of most species are small. Based on anectdotal natural history information from a few species, it was once thought that most Proceratium would likely be found to have mature colonies that contain somewhere between 10 - 50 workers. Yet nests with more than 50, and in some cases up to 200, workers have been been reported. Besides small colonies, these ants also do not appear to forage in places where they are readily encountered.

Males and females are though to be produced in small numbers but we generally do not have enough data for colonies of any species to know what might be typical. Reproductive flights have been observered toward the end of the summer in some northern temperate areas. In these regions the nuptial flight occurs during the last half of August. Both sexes climb some distance from the nest entrance before taking flight. Workers too issue from the nest during the nuptial flight, as is often the case with otherwise cryptobiotic ants. ‎



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

  • goliath. Proceratium goliath Kempf & Brown, 1968: 94, figs. 1, 2 (w.) COSTA RICA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 5 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Costa Rica: Limon Prov., 2 km. NW steel bridge over Rio Toro Amarillo, nr Gualipes, 3 and 4.iii.1966, rotten log (W.L. Brown); paratypes with same data.
    • [Note: collection data as published, but Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 111, record that dates on specimens are 25.ii.-9.iii.1966.]
    • Type-depositories: MCZC (holotype); CUIC, DZSP, MCZC, MZSP (paratypes).
    • Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 115 (putative m.).
    • Status as species: Kempf, 1972a: 211; Brown, 1980b: 343 (in key); Ward, 1988: 116 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 111 (redescription); Escárraga, Longino & Sosa-Calvo, 2019: 688.
    • Distribution: Colombia, Costa Rica.

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



Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - Head slightly longer than broad, with gently convex sides. Vertex convex in full face view. Clypeus broad, convex, protruding anteriorly and surrounding the whole antennal insertions. Anteromedian margin of the clypeus with a notch. Frontal carinae very far each other, strongly diverging posteriorly and not covering the antennal insertions. Lateral expansions of the frontal carinae broad, convex and slightly raised. Frons concave medially. Genal carinae marked. Head, ventrally, with a pair of superficially impressed longitudinal sulci delimited externally by the genal carinae. Gular area impressed. Eyes present, composed by clearly convex facet, and placed slightly below the mid-line of the head. Scapes not reaching the vertexal margin. Funicular joints 2-10 broader than long. Last funicular joint as long as the sum of joints 7-10. Mandibles with 3-4 denticles before the apical tooth. Palp formula 4,3.

Mesosoma convex in side view and slightly longer than the head (mandibles included). Promesonotal and propodeal sutures very weakly impressed. Promesopleural and meso-metapleural sutures impressed on the ventral half only. Basal face of the propodeum declivous posteriorly. Declivous face of the propodeum flat; sides of the declivous face carinale. Each side between basal and declivous faces of the propodeum separate by a broad, subtriangular angle. Propodeal lobes truncate and apically convex. Propodeal spiracle tumuliform and placed over mid height in lateral view.

Petiole slightly longer than broad, with the sides diverging anteriorly and convex posteriorly in dorsal view. Anterior border of the petiole gently concave and strongly carinate. Ventral process of the petiole small, subtriangular. Postpetiole 1/4 shorter than length of the gastral tergite I (LT4), with a broad tumulus close to the middle of the posterior border in side view. Postpetiolar sternite anteromedially with a marked subtriangular projection. Posterior hall of the postpetiolar sternite convex. Constriction between postpetiole and gastral segment I impressed. Gastral tergite I strongly convex. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites slightly curved ventrally.

Legs slender. All tibiae with a pectinate spur. Spurs of the fore legs with a basal spine. Fore basitarsi slightly longer than the mid ones. Hind basitarsi about 1/8 shorter than hind tibiae. Second tarsomere of mid and hind legs longer than the third and fourth tarsomeres, and slightly shorter than pretarsus. Fourth tarsomere of fore legs slightly longer than tarsomeres 1-3. Pretarsal claws simple. Arolia small but present.

Sculpture. Head, mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole irregularly foveolate-punctate and sparsely granulate. Gaster smooth and with, minute piligerous punctures. Legs with dense piligerous punctures.

Body covered by hairs of three main types: (1) short, dense, subdecumbent on the whole body, suberect and sparse on the funicular joints; (2) long, suberect or subdecumbent, relatively dense on the whole body, absent on the scapes and funicular joints; (3) shorter than hair type (I), dense and decumbent on the funicular joints only. In addition, the funicular joints bear thick, appressed, short, sparse hairs and the scapes sparse, subdecumbent hairs slightly shorter than hair type (2).

Colour brownish-red, legs lighter.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 6.22-6.72; HL 1.44-1.54; HW 1.36-1.44; EL 0.10; SL 1.04-1.12; WL 1.80-1.92; PeL 0.72-0.80; PeW 0.62-0.68; HFeL 1.44-1.52; HTiL 1.16-1.25; HBaL 1.02-1.10; LS4 0.17-0.24; LT4 1.16-1.32; CI 93.5-94.6; SI 70.3-72.2; IGR 0.15-0.18.


Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - (tentative attribution, previously undescribed). Head about as long as broad. Vertex convex. Clypeus anteromedially gently convex and with a superficial notch on the anterior border. Frontal carinae little developed, parallel, not hiding the antennal socket and far each other. Space between the frontal carinae with a deep concavity on the center. Ocelli large. Compound eyes very large and on the anterior half of the head sides. Scapes at most reaching the anterior border of the anterior ocellus. First funicular joint about 1/2 of the length of the second joint; second joint slightly longer than joints 3-9, about as long as joints 10-11, and about half of the length of the last joint. Mandibles slender, edentate except for a swelling before the apical pointed tooth. Palp formula probably 4,3.

Mesosoma robust. In profile pronotum perpendicular, mesonotum gently convex, scutellum convex and higher than mesonotum. Mesonoturn separated from the scutellum by a deep sulcus. Scutellum medially with a deep, longitudinal sulcus. Metanotum with a thick, median spine. Propodeurn with differentiate basal and declivous faces. Basal and declivous faces separated laterally by an angle. Basal face medially with a deep sulcus prolonging up to the anterior third of the declivous face. Declivous face anteriorly higher than posteriorly. Posterior part of the declivous face with carinate sides.

Petiole elongate, about 1/5 longer than broad, little convex dorsally. Anterior border of the petiole carinate and gently concave medially. Subpetiolar process absent but with a longitudinal carina. Postpetiole with the sides broadening posteriorly in dorsal view. Postpetiolar sternite anteromedially with a marked triangular carina.

Gastral tergite I strongly convex. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites curved ventrally.

Legs long and slender. Hind tibiae slightly longer than the hind basitarsi. Fore basitarsi shorter than mid basitarsi.

Fore wings of our type 5, hind wings of our type 2 as defined in the description of the genus.

Sculpture. Head, mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole irregularly foveolate-punctate, the foveae sparser on the mesopleurae, larger on the metapleurae. Propodeal dorsum with additional irregular rugosities. Gastral tergite I with similar sculpture as on the postpetiole but the foveae more superficial and absent on the sides. Legs smooth, tibiae and tarsi strongly punctate, the punctures denser on the tarsi.

Body covered by hairs of three main types: (1) short, dense, subdecumbent on the whole body, suberect and very sparse on the funicular joints; (2) long, suberect or subdecumbent, relatively dense on the whole body, absent on the scapes and funicular joints; (3) shorter than hair type (1), dense and decumbent on the funicular joints only. In addition, the funicular joints bear thick, appressed, short, sparse hairs and the scapes sparse, subdecumbent hairs shorter than hair type (2).

Colour. Dark brown-red with lighter legs.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 5.73-5.95; HL 0.98; HW 1.00-1.04; EL 0.40-0.42; SL 0.49-0.50; WL 1.96-2.10; PeL 0.62-0.67; PeW 0.49-0.50; HFeL 1.16-1.24; HTiL 1.12-1.24; HBaL 1.08-1.16; LS4 0.33-0.37; LT4 1.14-1.18; CI 102.0-106.1; SI 50.0-57.1; IGR 0.29-0.31.

Type Material

Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - Type locality Costa Rica. Type material five workers (holotype and paratypes) labeled "R. Toro Amarillo, vic. Guapiles, Costa Rica, 25 Feb - 9 March 1966, W L Brown", Holotype in Museum of Comparative Zoology, paratypes in MCZC and Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, all examined.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1974. A remarkable new island isolate in the genus Proceratium (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 81: 70-83.
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Longino J. T. L., and M. G. Branstetter. 2018. The truncated bell: an enigmatic but pervasive elevational diversity pattern in Middle American ants. Ecography 41: 1-12.
  • Longino J. T., and R. K. Colwell. 2011. Density compensation, species composition, and richness of ants on a neotropical elevational gradient. Ecosphere 2(3): 16pp.