Trachymyrmex carinatus

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Trachymyrmex carinatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Trachymyrmex
Species: T. carinatus
Binomial name
Trachymyrmex carinatus
Mackay, W.P. & Mackay, E.E., 1997

Trachymyrmex carinatus casent0103158 profile 1.jpg

Trachymyrmex carinatus casent0103158 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

A ground nesting species that can be found in open exposed areas with sparse ground cover or in oak-juniper-pinyon woodlands.


In southern Arizona, T. carinatus co-occurs with Trachymyrmex arizonensis in mid elevation habitats. Workers and queens of these two species are easily distinguished by the distinctive frontal lobes of T. arizonensis and the preocular carinae nearly touching the frontal carinae in T. carinatus (not closely approaching the frontal carinae in T. arizonensis). T. carinatus also sometimes co-occurs with Trachymyrmex pomonae from which it may be separated by its larger size and symmetrical frontal lobes (lobes notably asymmetric in T. pomonae). In addition, workers of T. carinatus are superficially very similar to those of the allopatric Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, from which they may be separated by the characters given in the key. (Rabeling et al. 2007).

Keys including this Species


Trachymyrmex carinatus was described by Mackay & Mackay (1997), based on specimens collected in Chihuahua, Mexico, and the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. T. carinatus occurs in central and southern Arizona, western New Mexico and the Mexican States of Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila, often in sympatry with Trachymyrmex arizonensis. A single collection from the Kofa Mountains in southwest Arizona marks its westernmost limit. (Rabeling et al. 2007).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Mexico (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


T. carinatus has been encountered most commonly in the mountains of southern and central Arizona in mid elevation habitats (800–1800m). Colonies may be found in open exposed areas with sparse ground cover, such as washes or roadsides, but are especially abundant in oak-juniper-pinyon woodlands. (Rabeling et al. 2007).


From Rabeling et al. (2007): Specimens from the Kofa Mountains were collected from a nest next to a water seep shaded by palm trees on the wall of a canyon at ~800 m elevation (R. Snelling, personal communication). Nests are sometimes found under stones, but are more often encountered in open ground, where they can be recognized by the circular shape of the nest crater, which contrasts with the more amorphous nest excavations of T. arizonensis. Excavations by C. Rabeling reveal that nests in the Chiricahua Mountains of southern Arizona have one to three fungus garden chambers, with the shallowest chamber only 5 cm beneath the soil surface. Colonies have fewer than 100 workers. Mating flights occur near dawn on mornings following summer rains. (Mackay & Mackay 1997).



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

  • carinatus. Trachymyrmex carinatus Mackay & Mackay, 1997a: 44, figs. 1, 2 (w.q.m.) MEXICO. See also: Rabeling, Cover, et al. 2007: 8.

Type Material

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



Diagnosis from Rabeling et al. (2007): HL 0.8–1.0, HW 0.8–1.04, CI 96–108, SL 0.84–1.04, SI 100–105, ML 1.2–1.44. A relatively small species (HL 0.8–1, HW 0.8–1.04) with normally proportioned legs and antennal scapes (SI 100–105). Head more or less square (CI 96–108), sides subparallel posterior to the eyes, slightly tapering anteriorly between the eyes and mandibular insertions. Posterior margin weakly to moderately concave. Preocular carinae long, strongly curving mesially, and traversing nearly the entire distance between the eye and the frontal carinae, sometimes nearly touching the frontal carinae or appearing to do so. In full-face view, frontal lobes more or less symmetrical. Anterolateral promesonotal teeth moderate in size, pointed in dorsal view, projecting horizontally, not vertically. Anterior median pronotal tubercles small or reduced to denticles, or if tooth-like short and broadly pyramidal. Propodeal teeth usually acute, about as long as the distance between their bases. Dorsal surface of body moderately tuberculate, tuberculi generally moderate in size, bearing recurved setae. First gastric tergite coarsely and conspicuously tuberculate. Color brownish to yellow to medium reddish-brown.


Diagnosis from Rabeling et al. (2007): HL 1.1–1.25, HW 1.15–1.4, CI 105–112, SL 1.1–1.15, SI 82–96, ML 1.9–2.1. As in worker diagnosis, except for typical caste-specific morphology of the mesosoma related to wing-bearing and head with minute ocelli. Dorsolateral pronotal teeth well-developed, tuberculate, sharply triangulate in dorsal view, often blunt-tipped in anterior view. Mesoscutum coarsely and irregularly rugulose, sometimes with faint longitudinal pattern, minutely tuberculate, and with abundant short, suberect, slightly recurved setae.


Diagnosis from Rabeling et al. (2007): HL 0.72–0.81, HW 0.75–0.84, CI 104, SL 0.81–0.9, SI 104–111, ML 1.6–1.8. Somewhat variable in size, but presenting the following characters: Dorsolateral pronotal tooth absent in dorsal view, ventrolateral pronotal tooth small, broadly to narrowly triangular. Mesoscutum irregularly rugulose, interrugal spaces coarsely granulose. Preocular carina a prominent vertical ridge, remaining strongly developed at least until it reaches the midpoint of the posterior border of the antennal scrobe. In full-face view, posterior corners of head more or less rounded, their outlines obscured by the presence of several conspicuous toothlike tuberculi on each corner.


The species name “carinatus” refers to the well-developed carinae on the vertex of the workers’ and queens’ heads. (Rabeling et al. 2007).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Franklin K. 2012. The remarkable resilience of ant assemblages following major vegetation change in an arid ecosystem. Biological Conservation 148(1): 96-105.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Rabeling C., S. P. Cover, R. A. Johnson, and U. G. Mueller. 2007. A review of the North American species of the fungus-gardening ant genus Trachymyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1664: 1-53
  • 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.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133