Acanthognathus teledectus

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Acanthognathus teledectus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Acanthognathus
Species: A. teledectus
Binomial name
Acanthognathus teledectus
Brown & Kempf, 1969



Specimen Label

The specimen (holotype worker) was found, alive and with the incredible mandibles opened to approximately 180, in thin humus immediately below a layer of leaf litter 1 cm. thick. No more specimens could be found in the vicinity.


This is the first member of the genus found in trans-Andean South America. The extremely long, heavily-armed mandibles and smooth integument distinguish it at once from the other known species.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 16.4435376° to -1.683055556°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Colombia (type locality), Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru.

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.


Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



Images from AntWeb

Acanthognathus teledectus casent0039799 head 1.jpgAcanthognathus teledectus casent0039799 profile 1.jpgAcanthognathus teledectus casent0039799 dorsal 1.jpgAcanthognathus teledectus casent0039799 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0039799. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Acanthognathus teledectus casent0039800 head 1.jpgAcanthognathus teledectus casent0039800 profile 1.jpgAcanthognathus teledectus casent0039800 dorsal 1.jpgAcanthognathus teledectus casent0039800 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0039800. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


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

  • teledectus. Acanthognathus teledectus Brown & Kempf, 1969: 105, fig. 11 (w.) COLOMBIA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Colombia: Dept. de Valle, Municipio de Buenaventura, Bajo Calima, on Carton de Colombia property, 10 km. N from company headquarters, 16.iii.1967 (R.B. Root & W.L. Brown).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Status as species: Kempf, 1972a: 9; Kempf, 1975a: 412; Brandão, 1991: 322; Bolton, 1995b: 53; Bolton, 1999: 1652; Bolton, 2000: 17; Galvis & Fernández, 2009: 247; Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 257; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 114; Fernández & Serna, 2019: 831.
    • Distribution: Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru.

Type Material

Holotype (Museum of Comparative Zoology) a unique taken in lowland rain forest on the property of Carton de Colombia (a paper-manufacturing firm) in Bajo Calima, Municipio de Buenaventura, Departamento de Valle, Colombia. The collection was made near the then principal logging road on 16 March 1967, at Kilometer 10 northward from the com­pany's headquarters, R. B. Root and W. L. Brown, Jr., leg. The specimen was found, alive and with the incredible mandibles opened to approximately 180, in thin humus immediately below a layer of leaf litter 1 cm. thick. No more specimens could be found in the vicinity.



Holotype: Measurements and indices in Table. A large species, distinguished by the very narrow head and extremely long mandibles. In addition, the following character states: 1. Each mandible with 2 long and l short spiniform preapical teeth, also a well developed convex lamelliform welt beyond mid­ length, giving rise to a fine erectile trigger hair. 2. Clypeus very narrow. 3. Alitrunk slender, humeral angles low, obtuse, not strongly projecting. Propodeal dorsum flat; spines approximately straight, only slightly diverging, not quite as long as the distance between the centers of their bases, only slightly elevated. Petiole and postpetiole formed much as in Acanthognathus rudis, but relatively more slender (petiolar node 0.6 mm wide); node as seen from above oval, slightly longer than broad, and about half as long as its anterior peduncle. Postpetiole about 0.19 mm long and 0.18 mm wide, nar­rower anteriad. 5. Body prevailing smooth and shining. A few indistinct fossae persist on anterior part of head, especially in the region in front of the eyes. Parts of lower sides of alitrunk, also petiolar peduncles in front and behind minutely and densely punctulate. 6. Clavate pilosity very sparse on clypeus, cheeks, mandibles, upper vertex, humeral angles, spines and posterior faces of both nodes, and more abundant on antennal scapes, legs and underside of head.

Color light ferruginous; antennae, legs and gaster lighter, more yellowish.

Worker Morphology

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Worker Morphology data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.

 • Caste: monomorphic


  • Bolton, B. 1999. Ant genera of the tribe Dacetonini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Nat. Hist. 3 33: 1639-1689 (page 1652, see also)
  • Bolton, B. 2000. The ant tribe Dacetini. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 65: 1-1028 (page 17, see also)
  • Brandão, C. R. F. 1991. Adendos ao catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412 (page 322, catalogue)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr.; Kempf, W. W. 1969. A revision of the neotropical dacetine ant genus Acanthognathus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 76: 87-109. (page 105, fig. 11 worker described)
  • Fernández, F.; Palacio, E. E.; Mackay, W. P.; Mackay, E. S. 1996. Introducción al estudio de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Colombia. Pp. 349-412 in: Andrade, M. G., Amat García, G., Fernández, F. (eds.) Insectos de Colombia. Estudios escogido (page 381, see also)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 9, catalogue)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1975a [1974]. Report on Neotropical Dacetine ant studies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Biol. 34: 411-424 (page 412, variation, distribution)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton, B. 2000. The Ant Tribe Dacetini. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 65
  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • INBio Collection (via Gbif)
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Longino J. T. 2013. Ants of Nicargua. Consulted on 18 Jan 2013.
  • 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.
  • Museo de Entomología de la Universidad del Valle (GBIF)
  • Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (GBIF)
  • Ramón G., A. Barragán, and D. A. Donoso. 2013. Can clay banks increase the local ant species richness of a montane forest? In press: Métodos en Ecología y Sistemática 8: 37 – 53.