Difference between revisions of "Atta colombica"

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
m (Text replacement - "MacKay," to "Mackay,")
Line 25: Line 25:
*''[[Atta columbica tonsipes]]'' Santschi, 1929
*''[[Atta columbica tonsipes]]'' Santschi, 1929
*''[[Atta lebasii]]'' Guérin-Méneville, 1844
*''[[Atta lebasii]]'' Guérin-Méneville, 1844
{{Photo Gallery
|name1=Atta colombica with a visitor. Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ajay Narendra.jpg
|comment1=''Atta colombica'' with a visitor. Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Photo by Ajay Narendra.

Revision as of 02:55, 30 June 2020

Atta colombica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Atta
Species: A. colombica
Binomial name
Atta colombica
Guérin-Méneville, 1844

Atta colombica casent0281779 p 1 high.jpg

Atta colombica casent0281779 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Photo Gallery

  • Atta colombica with a visitor. Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Photo by Ajay Narendra.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Dijkstra and Boomsma (2006) investigated the viability of worker produced eggs in Atta cephalotes, Atta sexdens and Atta colombica. Most Atta workers have rudimentary, non-functional ovaries in a queenright colony but a few, typically tending the queen, can produce trophic eggs (Dijkstra et al., 2005). These eggs are feed to the queen. It was not known if any worker eggs can produce males. Most worker eggs of A. colombica did not contain yolk but a few did and yielded morphologically correct but very small males. They hypothesize that worker reproduction in orphaned Atta field colonies is almost never successful because the last workers die before their sons can be raised to adulthood, but the importance of worker-laid trophic eggs for queen feeding has precluded the evolutionary loss of worker ovaries.


Bochynek et al. (2017) studied foraging rhythms in a colony of A. colombica in Panama: Foraging on the control (leaf) trail was diurnal and occurred in discrete periods approximately 10 h long. Activity began at dawn, rose to a peak in early afternoon and declined toward evening, with no foraging at night, a typical pattern for Atta leaf foraging (Lewis et al., 1974a). Leaf foraging on the berry/leaf trail followed a similar pattern. The peak harvesting rates, about 100–150 laden ant returns per min., were similar to the mean rate of 108 laden returns per min. observed by Bruce and Burd (2012) for colonies of A. colombica and Atta cephalotes in Panama and Costa Rica. Thus, leaf foraging was typical of colonies at other times and places.

Fruit foraging was fundamentally different. Harvesting was continuous with no periods of inactivity. There was, nonetheless, a diel rhythm. Throughout most of a 24 h cycle, fruit carriers returned at approximately the same rate as leaf harvesters at peak activity, but activity slowed to about 50 returns per min. in early morning, at 07.00 hours, before returning to a plateau of about 100–150 returns per min. for the remainder of the cycle.



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • colombica. Atta colombica Guérin-Méneville, 1844a: 422 (w.) COLOMBIA. Forel, 1913l: 239 (m.); Borgmeier, 1959b: 348 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. 1949: 681 (l.). Subspecies of lebasii: Emery, 1890b: 55; of cephalotes: Emery, 1913bb: 258. Revived status as species: Forel, 1913l: 239; Emery, 1924d: 353. See also: Gonçalves, 1942: 346; Borgmeier, 1959b: 345. Senior synonym of lebasii: Dalla Torre, 1893: 152; of erecta, tonsipes: Borgmeier, 1959b: 346.
  • lebasii. Atta lebasii Guérin-Méneville, 1844a: 422 (w.) COLOMBIA. Emery, 1890b: 54 (q.m.). Junior synonym of colombica: Dalla Torre, 1893: 152.
  • erecta. Atta cephalotes var. erecta Santschi, 1929f: 92 (diagnosis in key) (w.) COSTA RICA. Subspecies of cephalotes: Gonçalves, 1942: 345. Junior synonym of colombica: Borgmeier, 1959b: 346.
  • tonsipes. Atta columbica var. tonsipes Santschi, 1929f: 92 (diagnosis in key) (w.) PANAMA. Subspecies of colombica: Gonçalves, 1942: 346. Junior synonym of colombica: Borgmeier, 1959b: 346.



  • n = 11, 2n = 22, karyotype = 12M+6SM+4A (Panama) (Murakami et al., 1998) ('Atta columbica is a writing mistake).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Anderson, C. and J.L.V. Jadin. 2001. The adaptive benefit of leaf transfer in Atta colombica. Insectes Sociaux 48:404-405
  • Baer, B., S. P. A. den Boer, D. J. C. Kronauer, D. R. Nash and J. J. Boomsma. 2009. Fungus gardens of the leafcutter ant Atta colombica function as egg nurseries for the snake Leptodeira annulata. Insectes Sociaux 56(3):289-291
  • Borgmeier T. 1939. Nova contribuição para o conhecimento das formigas neotropicas (Hym. Formicidae). Revista de Entomologia (Rio de Janeiro) 10: 403-428.
  • Borgmeier T. 1950. Atta-Studien (Hym. Formicidae). Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. Rio de Janeiro 48: 265-292.
  • Borgmeier T. 1950. Estudos sôbre Atta (Hym. Formicidae). Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. Rio de Janeiro 48: 239-263.
  • Bustos H., J. 1994. Contribucion al conocimiento de al fauna de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) del occidente del Departamento de Narino (Colombia). Bol. Mus. Ent. Univ. Valle 2(1,2):19-30
  • Davidson D. W., S. C. Cook, R. R. Snelling and T. H. Chua. 2003. Explaining the Abundance of Ants in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Canopies. Science 300: 969-972.
  • Davidson, D.W. 2005. Ecological stoichiometry of ants in a New World rain forest. Oecologia 142:221-231
  • Emery C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 22: 38-8
  • Emery C. 1894. Estudios sobre las hormigas de Costa Rica. Anales del Museo Nacional de Costa Rica 1888-1889: 45-64.
  • Fernández F., E. E. Palacio, W. P. Mackay, and E. S. MacKay. 1996. Introducción al estudio de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Colombia. Pp. 349-412 in: Andrade M. G., G. Amat García, and F. Fernández. (eds.) 1996. Insectos de Colombia. Estudios escogidos. Bogotá: Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, 541 pp
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Forel A. 1908. Fourmis de Costa-Rica récoltées par M. Paul Biolley. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 44: 35-72.
  • Forel A. 1912. Formicides néotropiques. Part II. 3me sous-famille Myrmicinae Lep. (Attini, Dacetii, Cryptocerini). Mémoires de la Société Entomologique de Belgique. 19: 179-209.
  • Gonçalves C. R. 1942. Contribuiça~o para o conhecimento do gênero Atta Fabr., das formigas saúvas. Bol. Soc. Bras. Agron. 5: 333-358.
  • Helmkampf, M., J. Gadau and H. Feldhaar. 2008. Population- and sociogenetic structure of the leaf-cutter ant Atta colombica (Formicidae, Myrmicinae). Insectes Sociaux 55(4):434-442.
  • INBio Collection (via Gbif)
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at http://www.asu.edu/clas/sirgtools/resources.htm
  • Kaspari, M. and M.D. Weiser. Ant Activity along Moisture Gradients in a Neotropical Forest Ant Activity along Moisture Gradients in a Neotropical Forest. Biotropica, Vol. 32, No. 4a (Dec., 2000), pp. 703-711
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Kooij P. W., B. M. Dentinger, D. A. Donoso, J. Z. Shik, and E. Gaya. 2018. Cryptic diversity in Colombian edible leaf-cutting ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insects 9: 191.
  • Kost, C., E. Gama de Oliveira, T.A. Knoch, R. Wirth. 2005. Spatio-Temporal Permanence and Plasticity of Foraging Trails in Young and Mature LeafCutting Ant Colonies (Atta spp.). Journal of Tropical Ecology 21(6):677-688
  • Kusnezov N. 1953. La fauna mirmecológica de Bolivia. Folia Universitaria. Cochabamba 6: 211-229.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at https://sites.google.com/site/admacsite/
  • Menozzi C. 1927. Formiche raccolte dal Sig. H. Schmidt nei dintorni di San José di Costa Rica. Entomologische Mitteilungen. Berlin-Dahlem. 16: 266-277.
  • Murakami T., A. Fujiwara,and M. C. Yoshida. 1999. Cytogenetics of ten ant species of the tribe Attini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Chromosome Science 2(3): 135-139.
  • Powell, S. and E. Clark. 2004. Combat between large derived societies: A subterranean army ant established as a predator of mature leaf-cutting ant colonies. Insectes Sociaux 51(4):342-351.
  • Sturup, M., S.P.A. den Boer, D.R. Nash, J.J. Boomsma and B. Baer. 2011. Variation in male body size and reproductive allocation in the leafcutter ant Atta colombica: estimating variance components and possible trade-offs. Insectes Sociaux 58:47-55
  • Ulloa Chacon P., M. L. Baena, J. Bustos, R. C. Aldana, J. A. Aldana, and M. A. Gamboa. 1996. Fauna de hormigas del departamento del Valle del Cauca (Colombia). Pp. 413-451. In Andrade-C M. G., G. Amat Garcia, and F. Fernandez. Insectoss de Colombia, estudios escogidos.
  • Weber N. A. 1941. The biology of the fungus-growing ants. Part VII. The Barro Colorado Island, Canal Zone, species. Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 12: 93-130.
  • Weber N. A. 1958. Nomenclatural notes on Proatta and Atta (Hym.: Formicidae). Entomological News 69: 7-13.
  • Weber N. A. 1968. The Panamanian Atta species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 70: 348-350.
  • Weber N. A. 1969. Ecological relations of three Atta species in Panama. Ecology 50: 141-147.