Crematogaster crinosa Mayr

Longino, J. T., 2003, The Crematogaster (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) of Costa Rica., Zootaxa 151, pp. 1-150: 49-53

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Crematogaster crinosa Mayr


Crematogaster crinosa Mayr   HNS   1862

Plate 3, 5

Crematogaster crinosa Mayr   HNS   , 1862:767. Syntype workers: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (Novara) [ NMW]   (examined). Mayr, 1887:627: description of queen, male. Emery, 1922:134: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   .

Crematogaster brevispinosa Mayr   HNS   , 1870a:403. Holotype worker: Colombia, S. Fe de Bogota (Lindig) [ NMW]   (examined). Wheeler, G. C. and Wheeler, J. 1952:260: description of larva. Santschi, 1918:182: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster brevispinosa var. minutior Forel   HNS   , 1893:399. Syntype worker, queen: Antilles Islands, Saint Vincent (H. H. Smith) [ MHNG]   (examined). Emery, 1922:134: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . Forel, 1897:300: race of brevispinosa   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster brevispinosa var. schuppi Forel   HNS   , 1901a:299. Syntype worker, queen: Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre (Schupp) [ MHNG]   (examined). Emery, 1922:134: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster brevispinosa var. striatinota Forel   HNS   , 1912:211. Syntype worker: Colombia, Magdalena, Rio Frio near Santa Marta , from the wood of a steamboat from Magdalena (Forel) [ MHNG]   (examined). NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster brevispinosa r. recurvispina Forel   HNS   , 1912:212. Syntype workers: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (Sampaio, Naegeli) [ MHNG]   (examined). Emery, 1922:134; Santschi, 1925:230: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster brevispinosa r. sampaioi Forel   HNS   , 1912:213. Syntype worker, queen, male: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (Sampaio) [ MHNG]   (examined). Emery, 1922:134: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster (Orthocrema) brevispinosa st. sericea var. semisericea Santschi   HNS   , 1923:249. Worker: Argentina, Formosa, Guayculec (Joergensen) [ NHMB]   (examined). Unavailable name.

Crematogaster (Orthocrema) brevispinosa subsp. townsendi Wheeler, W.M.   HNS   1925:25. Syntype worker: Peru, Piura (Townsend) [ MCZC]   (examined). NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster (Orthocrema) brevispinosa subsp. chathamensis Wheeler, W.M.   HNS   1933:58. Lectotype worker: Galapagos Islands, Chatham Island , 17 Apr 1932 (Willows) [California Academy of Sciences No. 3689] (workers from same series at MCZ examined)   . NEW SYNONYMY


Throughout the Neotropics, from southern Texas to Argentina and on numerous Caribbean islands.

Description of worker (Costa Rica)

Color red brown to black; workers usually with pronounced size polymorphism.

In face view head subquadrate, wider than long in larger workers, with emarginate posterior margin; mandibles coarsely striate, striae faint to pronounced; clypeus smooth and shiny or faintly granular or finely longitudinally striate; scapes short, in face view not attaining posterior margin of head when laid back; terminal three segments of antenna gradually lengthening and broadening, becoming increasingly densely pubescent, terminal two segments very much larger, so that antennal club appears two-segmented; scapes with short appressed pubescence, sometimes subdecumbent, never erect, with no differentiated long erect setae (occasionally a long seta on very large workers); face with sparse appressed to subdecument pubescence and sparse short erect setae; face smooth and shining or with variably developed fine longitudinal striation, most common on anterior face and space between eye and antennal insertion, occasionally extending posteriorly and medially, but always with at least median strip sublucid.

Promesonotal profile forming a single, somewhat flat-topped convexity; in large workers promesonotal suture visible, a dorsolateral arch that extends far forward, showing that dorsal pronotum is short and much of promesonotal dorsum composed of mesonotum (approaching queen condition); in small workers promesonotal suture effaced, visible only as oblique anterolateral impressions; propodeum with short but distinctly differentiated dorsal face, such that propodeal suture distinctly visible in lateral view as v-shaped impression; propodeum with long sloping posterior face; propodeal spines short, upturned; promesonotal dorsum and dorsal face of propodeum faintly punctate with varying development of longitudinal or transversely whorled rugulae or striations, lateral carinulae bridge propodeal suture, rarely forming a small triangular denticle; posterior face of propodeum smooth and shining or faintly microareolate; lateral pronotum with faint microsculpture; katepisternum and lateral propodeum faintly punctate to microareolate; promesonotum and bases of propodeal spines with highly variable number but usually abundant short stiff flattened setae; femora and tibiae with appressed to subdecumbent pubescence, no erect setae.

Petiole in lateral view subtriangular, often with slightly concave ventral margin, with strongly developed, anteriorly projecting, acute anteroventral tooth; side faintly granular or microareolate; dorsal face of petiole smooth and shining to faintly microareolate, about as wide as long, subquadrate or more often with convex sides, widest about one third distance from anterior margin, with one or more stiff setae on posterolateral tubercles; postpetiole with no ventral tooth, in dorsal view globular to subquadrate, usually slightly broader than long, rarely with faintly impressed posteromedian sulcus, with four or more stiff setae; fourth abdominal tergite smooth and shining or faintly microareolate, with abundant vestiture of short, stiff, flattened, erect setae, evenly distributed over surface of tergite (not clustered or concentrated anterolaterally).


HL 0.801, 0.616, 1.052; HW 0.869, 0.701, 1.156; HC 0.837, 0.664, 1.123; SL 0.537, 0.454, 0.697; EL 0.175, 0.147, 0.252; A11L 0.248; A11W 0.138; A10L 0.097; A10W 0.113; A09L 0.055; A09W 0.078; A08L 0.034; A08W 0.066; WL 0.844, 0.688, 1.146; SPL 0.134, 0.095, 0.168; PTH 0.174, 0.142, 0.203; PTL 0.239, 0.206, 0.343; PTW 0.253, 0.224, 0.323; PPL 0.198, 0.182, 0.254; PPW 0.246, 0.205, 0.328; CI 108, 114, 110; OI 22, 24, 24; SI 67, 74, 66; PTHI 73, 69, 59; PTWI 106, 109, 94; PPI 124, 113, 129; SPI 16, 14, 15; ACI 0.64.


A normal queen (dorsal face of propodeum drops steeply from postscutellum and much of propodeum appears ventral to scutellum and postscutellum, Fig. 1) with general shape, sculpture, and pilosity characters of the worker; size characters as in Figures 4 and 5.


Crematogaster crinosa   HNS   is an extremely widespread and generalized species that prefers highly insolated habitats. It is common in seasonally dry areas, less common in wet forests. In wet forest habitats it is typically found in the high canopy or in disturbed areas. It may form monodominant populations in mangrove forests.

Colonies are large and polydomous and it is usually difficult to locate colony boundaries. Nests are found in almost any kind of cavity, and columns of workers move from nest to nest. Nests can be in live or dead branches, in small rotten knots, under bark flaps, in cavities in fence posts, opportunistically in ant plants, and thinly dispersed in multiple small bark cavities. Workers, brood, and alate sexuals are dispersed across nests. Small amounts of carton construction are used to form baffles inside of nest cavities and to restrict nest entrances, but large external carton nests are never constructed.

Although new alate queens are relatively common in nests, I have rarely encountered physogastric colony queens. In my collecting experience, I have never found a colony that was obviously polygynous, with many dealate queens dispersed in many nests. However, I am treating Forel's minutior   HNS   as a synonym of crinosa   HNS   , and minutior   HNS   from St. Vincent Island in the West Indies forms large polygynous, polydomous colonies in coastal areas (Forel 1893).

In Colombia I observed the beginning of a nuptial flight just after dusk. I found a dense aggregation of males and workers under a bark flap, and the males were just beginning to fly.

Workers are omnivorous. They are attracted to protein and carbohydrate baits, they scavenge dead or injured insects, they visit extrafloral nectaries, and they tend Homoptera. When nests are disturbed they can be aggressive and will bite. Workers are continuously polymorphic, with a broad range of worker sizes.

Ecological equivalents are torosa   HNS   and rochai   HNS   . I can detect very few behavioral or ecological differences among these species. Crematogaster crinosa   HNS   is the only member of the group that regularly dominates mangrove habitats. Mangrove forests in Costa Rica are sometimes dominated by Azteca   HNS   , sometimes by C. crinosa   HNS   . I found a similar situation in the Santa Marta area of Colombia. I have only one record of rochai   HNS   from mangroves (a voucher collection from Adams' studies of mangrove communities, Adams 1994), and I have no record of torosa   HNS   from mangroves. Other than in mangroves, crinosa   HNS   is less abundant relative to torosa   HNS   or rochai   HNS   . For example, a collecting trip to a wildlife refuge in southern Texas yielded 13 separate collections of torosa   HNS   but only one of crinosa   HNS   . In northwestern Costa Rica, torosa   HNS   and rochai   HNS   are far more abundant than crinosa   HNS   . Based on museum collections, crinosa   HNS   seems to be the most common member of the crinosa   HNS   group on various Caribbean and Pacific islands.


Members of the crinosa   HNS   complex are among the most frequently encountered Neotropical ants, particularly in open or seasonally dry habitats. They are geographically variable and taxonomically difficult, and species boundaries are poorly defined (see Taxonomic Notes on C. crinosa   HNS   and Related Forms). Crematogaster crinosa   HNS   , rochai   HNS   , and torosa   HNS   are three very similar species that occur together in Costa Rica. They are difficult to distinguish and workers may not always be clearly identified. All three have the face with sparse erect setae over short appressed pubescence, the mesosomal dorsum and fourth abdominal tergite with short, stiff erect setae (or erect setae absent), the dorsal face of the petiole short with convex sides, and the propodeal spines short and upturned. Crematogaster crinosa   HNS   can be differentiated from rochai   HNS   throughout the range, because crinosa   HNS   has a dense, even covering of erect setae on the fourth abdominal tergite, while rochai   HNS   completely lacks these setae or has only a small cluster on each anterolateral humerus. Distinguishing crinosa   HNS   from torosa   HNS   is more difficult. In Costa Rica, torosa   HNS   also has abundant erect setae on the fourth abdominal tergite, but these are usually clustered laterally and anterolaterally, leaving a median strip free of setae. Also, crinosa   HNS   always has a long, sharp anteroventral petiolar process, while torosa   HNS   more often has a short, blunt or squared-off process. Crematogaster crinosa   HNS   can also be confused with erecta   HNS   and moelleri   HNS   , but these have flexuous erect setae on the pronotal humeri.

The workers of recurvispina   HNS   are small, with few setae on mesosoma and fourth abdominal tergite, and a strong anteroventral petiolar tooth. These may just be small workers of crinosa   HNS   . A brief examination of the schuppi   HNS   types revealed a queen and a minim worker. The queen had a strong anteroventral petiolar tooth, was abundantly setose, and had a quadrate head. It is probably crinosa   HNS   . The other synonymies are all based on examination of medium-size to large workers that match the general features of crinosa   HNS   as defined here.


Austria, Wien, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


Switzerland, Basel, Naturhistorisches Museum


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


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