Sericomyrmex bondari

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Sericomyrmex bondari
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Sericomyrmex
Species: S. bondari
Binomial name
Sericomyrmex bondari
Borgmeier, 1937

Sericomyrmex bondari F22c.jpg

Sericomyrmex bondari F22b.jpg

Workers mostly forage alone but will sometimes form short, dense foraging columns in the immediate area of the nest entrance.


Jesovnik and Schultz (2017) - Large species; hairs thick and dark; posterior cephalic emargination deep, gradually impressed; posterior cephalic corner acute to rounded; mandible dorsally smooth, glossy; frontal lobe triangular, narrow; mesosomal tubercles distinct, sometimes relatively sharp; first gastral tergite with lateral carinae weakly to moderately developed, dorsal carinae absent.

It is difficult to mistake S. bondari for any other Sericomyrmex species because of its thick, dark hairs. When individuals with reduced hairs are encountered, the sympatric sister species, Sericomyrmex mayri, can be separated from bondari by its striate mandibles, wider head (CI mayri=108, CI bondari=104), narrower frontal lobes, and shallow posterior cephalic emargination. The morphologically similar Sericomyrmex radioheadi is smaller (medium-sized, while bondari is large); completely lacks dark hairs; and has a longer antennal scape (SI=77), reduced lateral pronotal tubercles, and unusually sharp, long lateral mesonotal tubercles. The thick, dark hairs and large size are also useful for separating S. bondari queens from those of mayri, as are the lateral pronotal tubercles, which are more pronounced in bondari than in queens of other Sericomyrmex species.

The specimens of S. bondari with slightly to very reduced hairs include five workers from Brazil (Melgaço, Pará), one from Ecuador (Cuyabeno), and three from Venezuela (Bolívar) out of a total of ~200 dry-mounted specimens we examined. Aside from reduced hairs they have the typical bondari morphology and measurements. Individuals with an intermediate state (hairs slightly reduced) exist in Brazil, some from Melgaço (Pará) and some from Espírito Santo. The existence of intermediate forms, the molecular phylogeny, and PCA analysis of the morphological measurement data all indicate that populations with reduced hairs are rare variants of bondari rather than separate species. Another variation within bondari, occurring in the Brazil (Carajás, Pará) specimens, is a slightly bicolored (rather than uniformly colored) integument, but this state occurs only in a minority of workers from the same nest, the rest of which are homogeneously colored.

Keys including this Species


Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 6.4638° to -19.83333333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia (type locality), Brazil (type locality), Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname.

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 Fungus Growing 
For additional details see Fungus growing ants.

A handful of ant species (approx. 275 out of the known 15,000 species) have developed the ability to cultivate fungus within their nests. In most species the fungus is used as the sole food source for the larvae and is an important resource for the adults as well. Additionally, in a limited number of cases, the fungus is used to construct part of the nest structure but is not as a food source.

These fungus-feeding species are limited to North and South America, extending from the pine barrens of New Jersey, United States, in the north (Trachymyrmex septentrionalis) to the cold deserts in Argentina in the south (several species of Acromyrmex). Species that use fungi in nest construction are known from Europe and Africa (a few species in the genera Crematogaster, Lasius).

The details of fungal cultivation are rich and complex. First, a wide variety of materials are used as substrate for fungus cultivating. The so-called lower genera include species that prefer dead vegetation, seeds, flowers, fruits, insect corpses, and feces, which are collected in the vicinity of their nests. The higher genera include non leaf-cutting species that collect mostly fallen leaflets, fruit, and flowers, as well as the leafcutters that collect fresh leaves from shrubs and trees. Second, while the majority of fungi that are farmed by fungus-feeding ants belong to the family Lepiotaceae, mostly the genera Leucoagaricus and Leucocoprinus, other fungi are also involved. Some species utilise fungi in the family Tricholomataceae while a few others cultivate yeast. The fungi used by the higher genera no longer produce spores. Their fungi produce nutritious and swollen hyphal tips (gongylidia) that grow in bundles called staphylae, to specifically feed the ants. Finally, colony size varies tremendously among these ants. Lower taxa mostly live in inconspicuous nests with 100–1000 individuals and relatively small fungus gardens. Higher taxa, in contrast, live in colonies made of 5–10 million ants that live and work within hundreds of interconnected fungus-bearing chambers in huge subterranean nests. Some colonies are so large, they can be seen from satellite photos, measuring up to 600 m3.

Based on these habits, and taking phylogenetic information into consideration, these ants can be divided into six biologically distinct agricultural systems (with a list of genera involved in each category):

Nest Construction

A limited number of species that use fungi in the construction of their nests.

Lower Agriculture

Practiced by species in the majority of fungus-feeding genera, including those thought to retain more primitive features, which cultivate a wide range of fungal species in the tribe Leucocoprineae.

Coral Fungus Agriculture

Practiced by species in the Apterostigma pilosum species-group, which cultivate fungi within the Pterulaceae.

Yeast Agriculture

Practiced by species within the Cyphomyrmex rimosus species-group, which cultivate a distinct clade of leucocoprineaceous fungi derived from the lower attine fungi.

Generalized Higher Agriculture

Practiced by species in several genera of non-leaf-cutting "higher attine" ants, which cultivate a distinct clade of leucocoprineaceous fungi separately derived from the lower attine fungi.

Leaf-Cutter Agriculture

A subdivision of higher attine agriculture practiced by species within several ecologically dominant genera, which cultivate a single highly derived species of higher attine fungus.

Note that the farming habits of Mycetagroicus (4 species) are unknown. Also, while species of Pseudoatta (2 species) are closely related to the fungus-feeding genus Acromyrmex, they are social parasites, living in the nests of their hosts and are not actively involved in fungus growing. ‎

Castano-Meneses et al (2017) - The springtail species Cyphoderus agnotus Börner (Cyphoderidae: Cyphoderus) is known from nests of this ant.


Figure 23.
Figure 24.

Jesovnik and Schultz 2017. Figure 23. S. bondari worker variation. Worker with bicolored integument (USNMENT01125207) (a, b, c). Worker with reduced hairs (USNMENT01125823) (d, e, f). Figure 24. S. bondari worker (USNMENT01125813), SEM images. a Head, full-face view b mandibles c eye d mesosoma, lateral view e mesosoma, dorsal view f metasoma, dorsolateral view.

Figure 25.
Figure 26.

Jesovnik and Schultz 2017. Figure 25. S. bondari queen (USNMENT01125803). a Head b lateral profile c mesosoma, dorsal view d metasoma, dorsal view. Figure 26. S. bondari larva (USNMENT01125807), SEM images. a Lateral view b ventral view c head, frontodorsal view d head, lateral view e mouthparts f anal setae.


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

  • bondari. Sericomyrmex bondari Borgmeier, 1937b: 248, figs. 37, 38 (w.) BRAZIL (Bahia).
    • Type-material: lecotype worker (by designation of Ješovnik & Schultz, 2017a: 44), 2 paralectotype workers.
    • [Note: original description records 9 syntype workers.]
    • Type-locality: Brazil: S Bahia, Agua Preta, 1.v.1936, no. 1864 (G. Bondar); paralectotypes with same data.
    • Type-depository: MZSP.
    • Ješovnik & Schultz, 2017a: 45 (q.l.).
    • Status as species: Kempf, 1972a: 229; Bolton, 1995b: 382; Ješovnik & Schultz, 2017a: 44 (redescription); Fernández & Serna, 2019: 874.
    • Senior synonym of beniensis: Ješovnik & Schultz, 2017a: 44.
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela.
  • beniensis. Sericomyrmex beniensis Weber, 1938b: 182 (w.) BOLIVIA.
    • Type-material: 20 syntype workers (“a score”).
    • Type-locality: Bolivia: Huachi Beni, viii.1921 (W.M. Mann).
    • [Note: Ješovnik & Schultz, 2017a: 44, date the syntypes 31.xii.1921.]
    • Type-depositories: MCZC, USNM.
    • Status as species: Kempf, 1972a: 229; Bolton, 1995b: 382.
    • Junior synonym of bondari: Ješovnik & Schultz, 2017a: 44.

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

Jesovnik and Schultz 2017:



(lectotype): HWe 0.96–1.40 (1.16) HW 0.98–1.40 (1.18) HW1 0.93–1.40 (1.2) HW2 1–1.56 (1.24) HW3 0.65–0.9 IFW1 0.65–1.00 (0.76) IFW2 0.22–0.38 (0.3) HL1 0.99–1.30 (1.01) HL2 0.87–1.12 (0.93) SL 0.68–0.96 (0.78) EL 0.14–0.20 (0.16) Om 8–12 (11) WL 1.25–1.76 (1.52) PL 0.24–0.4 (0.38) PPL 0.18–0.3 (0.19) GL 0.81–1.24 (0.96) HFL 1.12–1.52 (1.3) PW 0.66–1.02 (0.78) (0.8) CI 93–110 (107) FLI 61–72 (66) SI 63–78 (67) OI 12–17 (14) CEI 6–17 (13) [N=59]

Pilosity. Hairs thick, black, often curved, appressed to erect, mostly suberect, longer and denser on dorsal than on lateral surfaces, e.g., mesosoma laterally with barely any hairs, just pubescence.

Head. In full-face view slightly broader than long (CI=104 ± 3), posterior corner rounded to acute, posterior cephalic emargination distinct and deep (CEI=13 ± 2), gradually impressed. Vertexal impression often distinct and deep, sometimes extending anterad to include frons, frontal tumuli usually faint. Mandible with 7–9 teeth, dorsally smooth, glossy, finely transversely striate along masticatory margin, striation sometimes faint. Eyes medium-sized (OI =15 ± 1), mildly convex, lacking white layer, 8–12 ommatidia across largest diameter. Frontal lobe triangular, narrow (FLI=67 ± 2), posterior margin shorter than medial, and with long lateral margin, giving lobe appearance of being directed anterad. Frontal carina complete, reaching posterior cephalic corner, antennal scape relatively short (SI=71 ± 3), not reaching posterior cephalic corner. Antennal scape with thick black hairs, antennal flagellum lacking thick black hairs, but with pubescence and thin, long, light yellow hairs.

Mesosoma. Lateral pronotal and lateral mesonotal tubercles from moderately developed to large and sharp, variable within species and within colonies. Propodeal carinae low, serrate, each with posterodorsal denticle.

Metasoma. Petiole with two low denticles dorsally, postpetiole with two dorsal and two lateral carinae, lateral pair sometimes faint. First gastral tergite with lateral carinae distinct, dorsal carinae faint or absent. Decumbent to suberect hairs on gastral dorsum curved at base and sometimes hooked at tip, margins of gastral segments 2–5 (A5-A8) with curved suberect to erect hairs.


HWe 1.33–1.48 HW 1.35–1.48 HW1 1.40–1.46 HW2 1.15–1.58 HW3 0.93–1.09 IFW1 0.99–1.02 IFW2 0.34–0.40 HL1 1.32–1.44 HL2 1.12–1.24 SL 0.92–1.00 EL 0.27–0.29 Om 17–21 EW 0.08–0.08 WL 1.96–2.25 PL 0.40–0.45 PPL 0.24–0.28 GL 1.95–2.05 HFL 1.60–1.64 PW 1.15–1.28 FWg 6.71–6.71 HWg 4.66–4.66 CI 98–103 FLI 69–75 SI 68–71 OI 19–22 [N=3]

Head. Mandible with 7–8 teeth, dorsally smooth, glossy, finely transversely striate only along masticatory margin. Preocular carina fading posterior to eye, several short and thin supraocular carinae present, never reaching posterior cephalic corner. Eye large (OI=20 ± 1) and convex, 17–21 ommatidia across largest diameter. Frontal lobe wider than in worker (FLI=73 ± 3), antennal scape as in worker, not reaching posterior cephalic corner.

Mesosoma. Lateral pronotal tubercles distinct. Scutum in dorsal view with notauli faint, sometimes absent. Median mesoscutal line sometimes anteriorly developed into weak costa, posteriorly with shallow longitudinal impressions on each side. Parapsidal lines thin, slightly curved. Scutellum inflated, short in dorsal view, narrowing posteriorly, posterior margin with V-shaped, relatively deep, medial notch; notch sometimes continuing into median impression that divides scutellum in two lateral parts. Propodeal carinae short, low, each with posterodorsal denticle, sometimes carinae reduced and only denticles visible.

Metasoma. Petiole in frontodorsal view with two narrow, long dorsal denticles and two smaller, lateral denticles. Postpetiole with two short and low dorsal carinae and two low lateral denticles. First gastral tergite with lateral carinae strongly developed, dorsal carinae absent or faint, anteromedian groove distinct.


Two to four setae on dorsal and lateral body surfaces on each side. Supra-antennal setae present. Four genal setae on each side. Mandibular apical tooth undivided. Small number of labial denticles anterior to sericteries. First and second thoracic segments ventrally with multiple multidentate spinules, arranged in transverse rows. Numbers of ventral setae: six on T1 and T3, four on T2, around six on abdomen (not including anal setae). One pair of setae directly anterior to anal opening, another pair on abdominal segment 9 laterad of anal opening.

Type Material

Lectotype worker (here designated): BRAZIL, Bahia, Sul da Bahia, Áqua Preta, [-8.8333, -66.1667], 1 May 1936, G. Bondar (Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo: 3w; USNMENT01126238, topmost specimen on the pin). Paralectotypes: same data as lectotype (MZSP: 2w; USNMENT01126238, lower two specimens on the pin).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Jesovnik A., J. Chaul, and T. Schultz. 2018. Natural history and nest architecture of the fungus-farming ant genus Sericomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 26: 65-80.
  • Jesovnik A., and T. R. Schultz. 2017. Revision of the fungus-farming ant genus Sericomyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae). ZooKeys 670:1-109.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Klingenberg, C. and C.R.F. Brandao. 2005. The type specimens of fungus growing ants, Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia 45(4):41-50
  • Resende J. J., G. M. de M. Santos, I. C. do Nascimento, J. H. C. Delabie, and E. M. da Silva. 2011. Communities of ants (Hymenoptera – Formicidae) in different Atlantic rain forest phytophysionomies. Sociobiology 58(3): 779-799.
  • Silva R.R., and C. R. F. Brandao. 2014. Ecosystem-Wide Morphological Structure of Leaf-Litter Ant Communities along a Tropical Latitudinal Gradient. PLoSONE 9(3): e93049. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093049
  • Solomon S. E., C. Rabeling, J. Sosa-Calvo, C. Lopes, A. Rodrigues, H. L. Vasconcelos, M. Bacci, U. G. Mueller, and T. R. Schultz. 2019. The molecular phylogenetics of Trachymyrmex Forel ants and their fungal cultivars provide insights into the origin and coevolutionary history of ‘higher-attine’ ant agriculture. Systematic Entomology 44: 939–956.
  • Vasconcelos, H.L., J.M.S. Vilhena, W.E. Magnusson and A.L.K.M. Albernaz. 2006. Long-term effects of forest fragmentation on Amazonian ant communities. Journal of Biogeography 33:1348-1356