Cephalotes goeldii

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Revision as of 00:36, 9 June 2020 by SShattuck (talk | contribs) (Add GABI references)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cephalotes goeldii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Cephalotes
Species: C. goeldii
Binomial name
Cephalotes goeldii
(Forel, 1912)

Cephalotes goeldii casent0909284 p 1 high.jpg

Cephalotes goeldii casent0909284 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

DaRocha et al. (2015) studied the diversity of ants found in bromeliads of a single large tree of Erythrina, a common cocoa shade tree, at an agricultural research center in Ilhéus, Brazil. Forty-seven species of ants were found in 36 of 52 the bromeliads examined. Bromeliads with suspended soil and those that were larger had higher ant diversity. Cephalotes goeldii was found in 2 different bromeliads but was associated with twigs and bark cavities, rather than suspended soil or litter, of the plants.


A member of the angustus clade differing from its sister species, Cephalotes notatus, in the worker, by the ventral face of the head without longitudinal striae, and in the soldier and gyne, by the much more regular and less impressed foveolation. C. goeldii shares synapomorphically with notatus the following worker characters: the propodeal sides with 4-5 denticles and the secondary loss of dorsal petiolar denticles. The soldiers of the two species share also the high lamella on the border of the disc, on the vertexal angles and on the pronotal sides. The gynes of the two species are also very similar and can be distinguished essentially by the foveae, more regular in goeldii than in notatus. Both species are sympatric in the SE coast of Brazil. (de Andrade and Baroni Urbani 1999)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The biology of many Cephalotes species is not known. Ants in this genus are common in the New World tropics and subtropics and are especially abundant and diverse in the canopies of Neotropical forests. The majority of species are arboreal. Species that live in other strata inhabit smaller trees, bushes or grass stems. These noon-arboreal species, due to their accessibility, are among the better studied members of the genus. There are also species that can be found in downed wood but it is likely the wood housed the colony before it fell to the ground. Soil nests are not known for any species nor do most species appear to extensively excavate plant tissue. They nest instead in preformed cavities. Overall, ants in the genus utilize a wide range of plants. Some species are predictable in their plant use but none appear to have evolved specialized mutualisms with particular plant species.

Worker castes typically include two forms, a worker and soldier, but there are a few species that are monomorphic. The larger soldier caste typically has an enlarged head disk. In some species the head of the soldier is very different from the worker while in others these differences are less pronounced. Queens and soldiers tend to share similar head morphology. Soldiers use their heads to plug the nest entrance. This can be very effective in excluding potential intruders. Other morphological differences between the worker castes are present but these differences have not been studied as well as head moprhology.

The behavioral repertoire of Cephalotes varians has been examined in great detail (ethograms from Wilson 1976, Cole 1980 and Cole 1983). Soldiers do little else besides defend the nest. This specialized soldier behavior is presumed to be the norm for most species. An especially interesting behavior occurs when workers are dislodged from trees: they "fly" towards the tree, often grabbing the trunk well above the ground (video).

Mature nest size varies, by species, from less than a hundred to many thousands of workers. Available evidence suggests most species are monogynous. Queens may mate with multiple males.

The proventriculus of the Cephalotes is peculiar relative to other ants. The morphology of the structure suggests it serves as a powerful pump and filter. This does not appear to lead these ants to have a highly specialized diet as most species appear to be general scavengers. Foragers have been observed feeding on carrion, bird feces, extrafloral nectaries and even tending membracids. Pollen feeding has been observed in some species, and this is somewhat specialized for ants, but it is not evident that any species restricts its diet to this resource in any significant way. Evidence for pollen feeding in Cephalotes has accumulated, in part, via finding digested pollen grains seen in infrabucal pellets. It has been suggested that the morphology of the proventriculus is a specialization for processing pollen.

More research examining all aspects of the biology of Cephalotes is needed. Our present understanding of these ants is largely based on species that live in locations other than the forest canopy, which is where Cephalotes are most common and diverse.



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

  • goeldii. Cryptocerus goeldii Forel, 1912e: 205 (w.) BRAZIL. De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999: 724 (s.q.m.). Combination in Paracryptocerus (Harnedia): Kempf, 1958a: 93; in Zacryptocerus: Brandão, 1991: 386; in Cephalotes: De Andrade & Baroni Urbani, 1999: 722.

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



Kempf (1967) - Total length 4.6 mm; maximum head length 1.36 mm; maximum width of head above eyes (the latter excluded) 1.39 mm; thorax length 1.39 mm; petiole width 0.58 mm; postpetiole width 0.64 mm; gaster width 1.49 mm.

The worker of this species shares with Cephalotes angustus and Cephalotes pallidicephalus the unique feature (in the angustus group!) of having the gaster laterally sharply marginate well beyond the anterior half, the trans lucid anterolateral lamella extending backwards much beyond the distinctly visible dorsal stigma.

The differences from angustus are as follows: Tip of scape, tibiae and tarsi rather yellowish brown than ferruginous; gastral markings more extensive, a broad and well circumscribed band just lies inside the lateral border. Occipital lobes subhyaline, yellowish, conspicuous. Dentition of thoracic border somewhat different, principally on epinotum, where there are four distinct teeth. Promesonotal suture quite distinct (usually obsolete, sometimes vestigial in angustus). Lateral spines of pedicellar segments not needle-like but broader and flattened; those of postpetiole distinctly recurved. Petiole without antero-dorsal denticles; postpetiole dorsally completely flat. Gaster short, subcircular, with the anterolateral hyaline border broader than in angustus.

The differences from pallidicephalus are as follows: color, occipital lobes and anterolateral border of gaster as stated under angustus. Sternum I of gaster without coarse costae or rugae but smooth.

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 4.00-470; HL 1.00-1.16; HW 1.24-1.42; EL 0.26-0.28; PW 0.92-1.12; PeW 0.49-0.56; PpW 0.52-0.62; HBaL 0.40-0.46; HBaW 0.11-0.13; CI 122.4-124.0; PI 125.0-134.8; PPeI 187.7-200.0; PPpI 174.2-183.6; HBaI 27.5-28.3.


de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Head very large, with a complete, round disc. Border of the disc strongly raised and lamellaceous. Vertexal angles with an obtuse, broad lamella continuing up to the eyes. Vertexal border concave and without margin. Mandibles with a strong carina. Dorsal border of the antennal scrobes with a short, denticulate carinae just in front of the eyes. Eyes convex and partially hidden by the head disc.

Mesosoma. Anterior pronotal border gently convex. Pronotal sides with a pair of very broad expansions, anteriorly obtuse, medially truncate, posteriorly converging. Border of the pronotal expansions lamellaceous. Pronotal carina lamellaceous, strongly developed, narrowing from the sides to the center where it is interrupted by a superficial sulcus. Promesonotal suture impressed. Mesonotum with a broad, round tooth with lamellaceous border. Propodeal suture deeply impressed. Propodeum with well differentiate basal and declivous faces. Sides of the basal face with a small swelling followed by two pairs of teeth; first pair of propodeal teeth short, broad and rounded, the second pair broad, thick, curved upwards and forwards at the apex and obtuse. Declivous face concave in the middle; its sides converging and bearing a pair of short, lamellaceous teeth.

Petiole with differentiate anterior and posterior faces; anterior face truncate, posterior face sloping backwards. Sides of the petiole, medially, with a thick, round tooth directed backwards. Postpetiole convex. Postpetiolar sides with a pair of thick, round expansions arising from the anterior border and directed anterolaterally.

Gaster oval and with a pair of protruding, anterolateral lamellae reaching the stigma.

Mid and hind femora without angles or denticles. Hind basitarsi slightly more compressed apically than distally and with slightly broad base.

Sculpture. Head dorsum superficially punctate and covered by dense, shallow foveae more superficial and smaller on the anterior third. Ventral part of the head strongly punctate, with longitudinal, slightly irregular rugosities, thinner, more superficial and superimposed to irregular, shallow foveae on the anterior half. Sides of the head and mesosoma with the same type of sculpture as the head dorsum but with foveae more irregular and smaller on the basal face of the propodeum. Propleurae with the same type of sculpture as on the posterior half of the ventral part of head. Lower meso- and metapleurae and pedicel reticulate and with small, irregular foveae. Upper meso- and metapleurae, declivous face of the propodeum, gaster and legs reticulate. First gastral tergite with irregular, small, superficial, oval foveae on the anterior third only; two posterior thirds of the tergite and anterior third and sides of the sternite with thin, superficial, irregular rugulosities. Outer face of the femora and of the tibiae with superficial, oval foveae. Center of the posterior half of the first gastral sternite shining.

Pilosity. Each fovea of the head dorsum with a canaliculate-subclavate, suberect to decumbent hair; other body foveae with appressed, canaliculate hairs. Parts of the legs and of the gaster without foveae with the same appressed hairs as on the mesosoma, but thinner. Sides of the head disc, legs and posterior border of the tergites and sternites with suberect, sparse, clubbed hairs. Sternites with rare, long, pointed hairs.

Colour. Ventral part of the head, center of the mesosoma, pedicel and three ventral fourths of the pleurae brown; sides and dorsum of the head, sides of the mesonotum, last dorsal fourth of the pleurae, sides of the pedicel, yellow-orange. Legs and gaster dark orange-brown with lighter outer face of the tibiae and with a pair of long, yellowish strips on the sides of the first gastral tergite.

Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 5.96; HL 1.64; HW 1.88; EL 0.32; PW 1.92; PeW 0.61; PpW 0.67; HBaL 0.43; HBaW 0.14; CI 114.6; PI 97.9; PPeI 314.7; PPpI 286.6; HBaI 32.5.


de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Head subquadrate, longer than broad. Head disc less broad, less round and with the floor less concave than in the soldier. Sides of the disc with crenulate border. The rest as in the soldier.

Mesosoma. Anterior pronotal border straight and separate from the sides by a depression. Pronotal sides with a pair of narrow, obtuse, lamellaceous expansions narrowing posteriorly. Pronotal carina as in the soldier but lower. Mesonotum and scutellum flat in profile. Basal face of the propodeum with two pairs of teeth; the first pair small and triangular, the second one larger, pointed and directed backwards.

Petiole subquadrate, with the anterior face sloping and with the posterior one short and declivous. Petiolar sides with a pair of minute, triangular denticles. Postpetiole convex; postpetiolar sides with a pair of thick expansions arising from the anterior border, directed anterolaterally and with a pointed tip strongly curved backwards.

Gaster oval. Anterolateral gastral lobes protruding and with a thin, lamellaceous margin not reaching the stigma posteriorly.

Legs as in the soldier.

Sculpture. As in the soldier but differing in the following: body foveae more superficial and more regular on the mesosoma. Mesopleurae with small, irregular foveae. Metapleurae with irregular rugosities. Anterior third of thc first gastral tergite without foveae but with superficial, longitudinal, slightly irregular, rugosities continuing backwards but less impressed; sides of the first gastral sternite with the same rugosities as on the anterior third of the tergite. Pilosity. As in the soldier, but with the following differences: hairs originating from the cephalic foveae erect; clubbed hairs also on the mesosoma, pedicel and gaster. Parts of the gaster and of the legs without foveae with thinner hairs

Colour. Ventral part of the head, center of the floor of the disc and of the pronotum, mesonotum, propodeum, pedicel and gaster dark brown to black; sides of the head, of the floor of the disc and of the pronotum yellow-orange. Legs dark ferruginous to brown with yellow tibiae. Sides of the first gastral tergite with two pairs of broad, yellow spots, the first pair on the anterior third and the second one in the posterior third.

Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 8.68-9.02; HL 1.88-2.00; HW 1.88-1.96; EL 0.34-0.38; PW 1.88-1.92; PeW 0.65; PpW 0.80-0.90; HBaL 0.61-0.63; HBaW 0.19; CI 98.0-100.0; PI 97.9-104.2; PPeI 289.2-295.4; PPpI 213.3-235.0; HBaI 30.1-31.1.


de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Head (eyes included, mandibles excluded) about 2/3 broader than long. Vertexal angles straight and converging posteriorly. Ocelli large, extremely protuberant. Vertex convex. Frontal carinae simply marginate, diverging backwards and not reaching the posterior border of the eyes. Frons flat. Clypeus convex. Mandibles short and laterally carinate. Scapes thick, twice as long as the first funicular joint; remaining funicular joints thickening from the base to the apex.

Mesosoma narrower than the maximum head width (eyes included). Anterior pronotal border convex. Pronotal sides strongly diverging backwards and with a superficially marked margin. Mayrian and parapsidal furrows impressed. Propodeal sides converging posteriorly.

Anterior face of the petiole concave and laterally delimited by a pair of minute denticles. Sides of the petiole and of the postpetiole convex anteriorly and converging posteriorly.

Gaster slightly narrower than the mesosoma; its anterior border angulate.

Sculpture. Head, mesosoma and pedicel minutely reticulate-punctate and superficially foveolate, the foveae superimposed by very thin, slightly longitudinal rugosities on the vertex and on the frons and by irregular rugosities on the ventral part of the head; the foveae are larger and denser on the mesonotum and on the scutellum, rare or absent on the propodeum and on the pro- and metapleurae. Basal face of the propodeum with thick, irregular rugosities, longitudinal anteriorly and laterally, transversal in the middle. Pleurae with longitudinal rugosities thinner than those on the basal face of the propodeum, irregular on the meso- and on the metapleurae. Pedicel superficially reticulate and with sparse, very thin, longitudinal rugosities; sides of the petiole and postpetiole with rare, small, irregular foveae. Gaster, coxae and femora with superficial reticulation. Tibiae and tarsi punctate.

Pilosity. Body with long, erect hairs, denser on the head and on the mesosoma, subdecumbent on the posterior border of the gastral tergites, absent on the tibiae and tarsi. Gaster, tibiae and tarsi with short, appressed hairs, denser on the tibiae and tarsi.

Colour. Head, mesosoma, pedicel, first gastral tergite and sternite dark brown to black. Remaining gastral segments, coxae and proximal third of the femora brown. Remaining parts of the legs yellow.

Measurements (in mm) and indices: TL 4.68-5.50; HL 0.72-0.83; HW 0.86-1.00; EL 0.50-0.55; PW 0.86-1.00; PeW 0.34-0.38; PpW 0.35-0.43; HBaL 0.57-0.65; HBaW 0.07-0.08; CI 119.4-120.5; PI 113.6-114.7; PPeI 220.6-231.6; PPpI 204.6-214.3; HBaI 12.3.

Type Material

de Andrade and Baroni Urbani (1999) - Worker. Type locality: Serra Vermelha (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Type material: Holotype worker (unique) in Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève labelled: first label (red) “Typus”; second label (pink) “Paracryptocerus goeldii Forel, Holotypus, WWK”; third label “Cr. Goeldii Forel, Serra Vermelha, Provo Rio, Goldi” (handwriting of Forel); fourth label “Sp. Cr. Goeldii” (handwriting of Forel), fifth label “Coll. Forel” (printed); examined.


  • Brandão, C. R. F. 1991. Adendos ao catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412 (page 386, Combination in Zacryptocerus)
  • DaRocha, W. D., S. P. Ribeiro, F. S. Neves, G. W. Fernandes, M. Leponce, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2015. How does bromeliad distribution structure the arboreal ant assemblage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a single tree in a Brazilian Atlantic forest agroecosystem? Myrmecological News. 21:83-92.
  • de Andrade, M. L.; Baroni Urbani, C. 1999. Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present. Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Series B (Geolgie and Palaontologie). 271:1-889. (page 724, soldier, queen, male described, page 722, Combination in Cephalotes)
  • Forel, A. 1912f. Formicides néotropiques. Part II. 3me sous-famille Myrmicinae Lep. (Attini, Dacetii, Cryptocerini). Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 19: 179-209 (page 205, worker described)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1958a. New studies of the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hym. Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. (n.s.) 1: 1-168 (page 93, Combination in Paracryptocerus (Harnedia))

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Reis P. C. J., W. D. Darocha, L. Falcao, T. J. Guerra, and F. S. Neves. 2013. Ant Fauna on Cecropia pachystachya Trécul (Urticaceae) Trees in an Atlantic Forest Area, Southeastern Brazil. Sociobiology 60(3): 222-228.
  • Ribas C. R., J. H. Schoereder, M. Pic, and S. M. Soares. 2003. Tree heterogeneity, resource availability, and larger scale processes regulating arboreal ant species richness. Austral Ecology 28(3): 305-314.
  • Ribas C. R., and J. H. Shoereder. 2007. Ant communities, environmental characteristics and their implications for conservation in the Brazilian Pantanal. Biodivers. Conserv. 16: 1511-1520.
  • Schoereder J. H., T. G. Sobrinho, M. S. Madureira, C. R. Ribas, and P. S. Oliveira. 2010. The arboreal ant community visiting extrafloral nectaries in the Neotropical cerrado savanna. Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews 3: 3-27.
  • Sobrinho T. G., and J. H. Schoereder. 2007. Edge and shape effects on ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) species richness and composition in forest fragments. Biodivers Conserv 16: 1459–1470.
  • de Andrade, M.L. & C. Baroni Urbani. 1999. Diversity and Adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present. Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Serie B 271. 893 pages, Stuttgart