Azteca tonduzi Forel

Longino, J. T., 2007, A taxonomic review of the genus Azteca (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Costa Rica and a global revision of the aurita group., Zootaxa 1491, pp. 1-63 : 49

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Azteca tonduzi Forel


Azteca tonduzi Forel   HNS 1899

Figures 3,4A,5,6D.

Azteca tonduzi Forel   HNS 1899:114. Syntype workers, males: Costa Rica (Tonduz) [ MHNG, MCZC] (examined).

Queen characters. Measurements (n=5): HLA 1.16 (1.10-1.16), HW 1.19 (1.13-1.22), SL 0.76 (0.74-0.77), CI 103 (103-105), SI 66 (64-67).

Palpal formula 5,3; ocelli small; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible with abundant piligerous puncta, setae in puncta fine, subdecumbent, interspaces between puncta smooth and shiny; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level; head subquadrate, posterior margin nearly flat; petiolar node strongly compressed into thin scale at apex; posteroventral petiolar lobe shallow, evenly convex from front to back; scape with sparse erect setae, inconspicuous and only visible at certain angles, about as long as one quarter maximum width of scape; middle and hind tibia with moderately abundant erect setae, fine, inconspicuous, longest about as long as one fifth maximum width of tibia (MTSC 5-10); side of head with 0-5 short erect setae; posterior margin of head with moderately abundant short erect setae; pronotum with erect setae on posterior margin; mesoscutum and scutellum with sparse, short, erect setae, propodeum with similar covering of erect setae or with only a few erect setae concentrated at anterior margin; petiolar node rimmed with erect pubescence and 2-4 longer erect setae, posterior border of sternal lobe of petiole with tuft of short whitish setae; gastral terga with sparse erect setae; entire body light yellow brown to brown.

Worker characters. Measurements (n=7): HLA 0.76 (0.64-0.86), HW 0.77 (0.64-0.90), SL 0.58(0.49- 0.62), CI 102 (100-105), SI 76 (72-79).

Palpal formula 5,3; middle and hind tibia with prominent pectinate apical spur; dorsal surface of mandible smooth and shining, with moderately abundant small piligerous puncta; medial and lateral clypeal lobes at about same level; head with moderately convex sides, strongly cordate posterior margin; in lateral profile promesonotum forming single low convexity; scape with sparse, inconspicuous erect setae, length of setae about one quarter maximum width of scape; mid and hind tibia with moderately abundant erect setae, setae inconspicuous, longest about one quarter to one third maximum width of tibia; side of head with 5 or more fine, short erect setae distributed more or less evenly along side; posterior margin of head with abundant short erect setae; pronotum and mesonotum with abundant erect setae, those on dorsal face of propodeum fewer, shorter, and less erect; color light yellow brown to brown.

Similar species. The queen is distinguishable from other species by its small size. Workers are superficially similar to small workers of A. velox   HNS , A. nigra   HNS , A. flavigaster   HNS , A. gnava   HNS , and A. sericeasur   HNS , but differ in the palpal formula being 5,3 instead of 6,4.

Range. Costa Rica.

Biology. Azteca tonduzi   HNS is an inconspicuous species which nests in hollow dead stems and sometimes forms carton nests among epiphytes. The types were collected in orchid pseudobulbs (Forel 1899). In Costa Rica I have collected this species multiple times. A dealate queen was in a dead branch of Ficus werckleana , a colony inhabited dead branches of Terminalia catappa   HNS along a beach edge, a colony inhabited dead culms of Uniola (sea oats) at the edge of a mangrove swamp, and workers were in small carton nests over coccoid Hemiptera on a branch of Licania . The largest colony I have observed was in a mangrove swamp near the mouth of the Rio Llorona in Corcovado National Park. Workers were very abundant, nesting in bases of several species of bromeliads. On the mangrove branches and trunks there were carton shelters containing brood and coccoid Hemiptera. The colony spread across multiple trees of Avicennia and Laguncularia   HNS . Alate queens have been encountered flying during the day and occasionally at blacklights.

Comments. Azteca tonduzi   HNS is very similar to the South American A. jelskii   HNS (see Addendum).

Additional material examined. COSTA RICA: Heredia: Est. Magsasay , 10°24'N, 83°57'W, 200m , 1- 30 Apr 1991 (M. A. Zumbado) - queen [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; La Selva Biological Station , 10°26'N, 84°01'W, 50m , multiple dates and collections (ALAS, J. Longino, R. Vargas C.) - workers, queens [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; 11km ESE La Virgen , 10°21'N, 84°03'W, 300m , multiple dates in 2004 (ALAS) - workers [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; Limón: Hitoy Cerere Biol. Reserve , 9°40'N, 83°02'W, 200m , Dec 1990 (G. Carballo) - alate queen [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; Puntarenas: Llorona, Corcovado National Park , 8°35'N, 83°42'W, 5m , 16 Jun 1980 and 10 Aug 1982 (J. Longino) - workers GoogleMaps ; Manuel Antonio Nat. Park , 9°23'N, 84°09'W, 20m , 27 Jul 1985 (J. Longino, P. S. Ward) - queens, males, workers [ UCDC] GoogleMaps ; same locality, 1- 30 Jan 1992 and 1- 30 Mar 1993 (G. Varela) - queens [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; Carara Biological Reserve, Estacion Quebrada Bonita , 9°47'N, 84°36'W, 30m , 24 Jul 1985 (J. Longino) - dealate queen GoogleMaps ; same locality, 1- 30 May 1990 (R. Zuñiga) - queen [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; same locality, 1- 30 Jun 1990 (E. Bello) - queen [ INBC] GoogleMaps ; same locality, 25 Jul 1985 (P. S. Ward) - worker [ UCDC] GoogleMaps ; Esterillos Este , 9°31'N, 84°27'W, 0m , 29 Jul 1985 (J. Longino) - worker GoogleMaps ; Punta Quepos , 9°24'N, 84°10'W, 5m , 4 Jun 1989 (J. Longino) - alate queen GoogleMaps ; 1.8mi W Rincon , 8°42'N, 83°29'W, 4 Feb 1971 (Donahue & Hogue) - alate queen [ LACM] GoogleMaps ; Curu Wildlife Refuge , 9°47'N, 84°55'W, 5m , 29 Mar 1993 (J. Longino) - workers GoogleMaps ; Tivives , 9°52'N, 84°41'W, 10m , 10 Mar 1991 (D. M. Olson) - worker GoogleMaps .


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology


Costa Rica, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)


USA, California, Davis, University of California, R.M. Bohart Museum of Entomology


USA, California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History