Azteca ovaticeps 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: 42-43

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Azteca ovaticeps Forel


Azteca ovaticeps Forel  HNS  1904

Figures 4A,6C,7.

Azteca alfaroi var. ovaticeps Forel  HNS  1904a:44. Syntype queens, workers: Brazil, Pará ( Göldi) [ MHNG MCZC]  (examined). Raised to species: Longino 1989a:8.

Azteca alfari var. aequilata Forel  HNS  1904b:691. Lectotype worker: Brazil, Amazonas, Cachveira Jurua (ex Cecropia No. 5587) [ MHNG]  (examined). Synonymy by Longino 1989a:8.

Azteca alfari var. aequalis Forel  HNS  1906:239. Lectotype worker: Brazil, Mexiana Island, Amazon delta (Hagmann) [ MHNG]  (examined). Description of queen, male: Forel 1908b:387. Synonymy by Longino 1989a:8.

Azteca alfari subsp. tuberosa Forel  HNS  1906:240. Syntype workers, queen: Brazil, Ceará (Diaz da Rocha) [ MHNG MCZC]  (examined). Synonymy by Longino 1989a:8.

Queen characters. Measurements (n=11): HLA 1.60 (1.52-1.65), HW 1.34 (1.27-1.37), SL 0.81 (0.79- 0.84), CI 83 (82-85), SI 51 (49-53).

Similar to A. alfari  HNS  in almost all respects; differing as follows: fourth abdominal tergum with> 10 erect setae (rarely fewer), exclusive of posterior row (<6 in A. alfari  HNS  ); dorsal surface of head, when viewed in profile, often with setae bridging the gap between the ocellar region and the upper vertex, and often with setae extending up from the clypeus almost to the ocellar region (these areas devoid of setae in A. alfari  HNS  ); scape relatively long (SI 49-54 versus 45-49 in A. alfari  HNS  , Fig. 6C); color usually light red brown, A. alfari  HNS  usually black.

Worker characters. Measurements (n=5): HLA 1.16 (0.93-1.31), HW 1.02 (0.87-1.19), SL 0.71 (0.59- 0.78), CI 92 (88-94), SI 61 (60-67).

Similar to A. alfari  HNS  in almost all respects and not always distinguishable. In general A. ovaticeps  HNS  is more setose, with a "scruffy" appearance on the mesosomal dorsum. There are always> 10 setae on the mesonotum, with median number about 20, and they are of irregular length. In contrast, A. alfari  HNS  has a cleaner look, with fewer dorsal setae. There are 2-17 setae on the mesonotum, with median number 8, and they are of relatively more even length.

Similar species. Azteca ovaticeps  HNS  is distinguished from A. alfari  HNS  as described above. Workers of A. ovaticeps  HNS  may also be confused with workers of A. forelii  HNS  . Mandibles of A. ovaticeps  HNS  workers are smooth and shiny; mandibles of A. forelii  HNS  workers are roughened and dull.

Range. Costa Rica to Amazonian Brazil and Bolivia.

Biology. The taxonomy and biology of A. ovaticeps  HNS  is reviewed in Longino (1989a, 1991b).

Azteca ovaticeps  HNS  is an obligate Cecropia  ant. Its biology is very similar to A. alfari  HNS  , with which it is often locally sympatric. Azteca ovaticeps  HNS  tends to be more abundant in mature forest areas, older second growth forest, and river banks in mature forest, while A. alfari  HNS  becomes dominant in open and highly disturbed habitats, such as roadsides and agricultural areas. Azteca ovaticeps  HNS  is more geographically variable than A. alfari  HNS  and may be paraphyletic with respect to A. alfari  HNS  (Longino 1989a, Ayala et al. 1996).

Material examined. See Longino (1989a).


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


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