Crematogaster brasiliensis Mayr

Longino, J. T., 2003, The Crematogaster (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) of Costa Rica., Zootaxa 151, pp. 1-150: 37-40

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Crematogaster brasiliensis Mayr


Crematogaster brasiliensis Mayr   HNS   1878

Figure 4, Plate 1

Crematogaster brasiliensis Mayr   HNS   , 1878:875. Syntype workers: Brazil, Pará, Prainha , 1°48'S 53°29'W, on Tococa guianensis Aubl.   (Trail #5) GoogleMaps   ; Brazil, Amazonas, Barcelos , 0°58'S 62°57'W, on Clidemia tococoidea (DC.) Gleason   (Trail #27) [type data from Benson and Setz 1985] [ NMW] (examined, Trail #5 worker here designated LECTOTYPE) GoogleMaps   . Forel, 1912:217: description of queen. Emery, 1922:136: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   .

Crematogaster limata r. ludio Forel   HNS   , 1912:217. Syntype workers: Brazil, Ceara (Diaz da Rocha) [ MHNG]   (examined). Wheeler, W.M. 1921b:151: description of queen. Emery, 1922:136: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . Forel, 1913:233: variety of brasiliensis   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster armandi Forel   HNS   , 1921: 208. Syntype worker, queen: Brazil, Matto Grosso, from an orchid pseudobulb (Chodat from Moore) [ MHNG]   (examined). Kempf, 1972: 84: combination in C. (Orthocrema)   HNS   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster (Eucrema) inca Wheeler, W.M.   HNS   1925:27. Syntype worker: Peru, Chaquimayo (Holmgren) [ MCZC, possibly also Royal Museum of Stockholm]   . NEW SYNONYMY

Crematogaster (Orthocrema) brasiliensis var. cocciphila Borgmeier   HNS   , 1934:102. Holotype worker, paratype workers, queen: Surinam, Paramaribo, common ants visiting especially the inflorescences of various plants, also tending coccids (Bunzli) [ MZSP]   (examined). NEW SYNONYMY


Nicaragua to Amazonian Brazil, Bolivia.

Description of worker (Costa Rica)

Color red brown; workers monomorphic in size.

Mandibles smooth and shining; clypeus varying from feebly striate, with 5 or more longitudinal carinulae, to nearly smooth and shining; head about as long as wide, subquadrate, with broadly convex sides and flat to weakly emarginate posterior border; antenna with terminal two segments enlarged to form a club, third segment from end somewhat enlarged, blurring distinction between two and three-segmented club; scapes with abundant long erect setae; when scapes laid back from antennal insertions, they surpass margin of vertex; face largely smooth and shining, with variable extent of striated region between antennal insertion and eye, and whorled above antennal insertion; face covered with abundant long flexuous white setae, no appressed pubescence; in face view abundant setae project from lateral and posterior margins.

Promesonotum in profile somewhat flattened dorsally, short anterior face of pronotum rises to dorsal face, dorsal faces of pronotum and mesonotum subequal in length, horizontal, forming single flat surface or meeting at a slightly produced angle, dorsal and posterior faces of mesonotum meeting at distinct angle, posterior face dropping to propodeal suture; propodeal suture deep in dorsal view but obscured in profile due to lateral carinulae that bridge the suture; lateral carinulae often with minute triangular tooth at propodeal suture; propodeal spines medium length, projecting posteriorly; in lateral view propodeum appears to have distinct dorsal and posterior faces because profile is horizontal from propodeal suture onto propodeal spines, but medially there is a single declivity from propodeal suture to petiolar insertion; pronotal dorsum with variably developed longitudinal carinulae, strongest laterally, becoming weaker medially, interspaces smooth and shining, in some cases almost entirely smooth and shining with no carinulae; anterodorsal face of mesonotum with weak, subparallel lateral carinae, these continue onto posterodorsal face as stronger carinae that converge posteriorly, interspace concave, smooth and shining; propodeal declivity smooth and shining; side of pronotum smooth and shining; katepisternum weakly to distinctly punctate or punctatorugose; side of propodeum very faintly sculptured; mesosomal dorsum with abundant long flexuous white setae, setae on pronotal humeri longest; femora and tibiae with abundant long erect setae.

Petiole in side view elongate, trapezoidal, weakly punctate to nearly smooth; anteroventral margin with a short right angle to somewhat rounded tooth; posterior ring-like aperture that receives postpetiole large, dorsal margin at nearly same level as posterolateral lobes of dorsal face when petiole viewed in profile with ventral margin horizontal (in contrast to tenuicula   HNS   , in which posterior aperture is smaller and posterolateral lobes of dorsal face are distinctly higher than dorsal margin of aperture); dorsal face of petiole smooth and shining, elongate, widest posteriorly, regularly tapering anteriorly, with long flexuous setae along posterior border; postpetiole with distinct, subacute, short anteroventral tooth, globular in dorsal view, with abundant erect setae; fourth abdominal tergite smooth and shining, with abundant long flexuous erect white setae, no appressed pubescence.


The most striking variation is in worker size polymorphism. In South America various degrees of size polymorphism occur, and collections from Amazonian Brazil can be strongly polymorphic. The small workers are similar to specimens from Central America, while the large workers have heads wider than long, the scapes do not surpass the vertex margin, and the mesonotum is produced dorsally, projecting above the pronotum.

Other morphological characters vary discordantly across the range. The petiole in side view is relatively long and low in Central America, becoming shorter in South America. Specimens from South America often have longer propodeal spines, the spines may be somewhat elevated, and the dorsal face of the propodeum may be longer and more differentiated from the posterior face.


HL 0.646, 0.601, 0.897; HW 0.713, 0.642, 1.026; HC 0.665, 0.594, 0.995; SL 0.657, 0.622, 0.798; EL 0.165, 0.163, 0.207; A11L 0.284; A11W 0.118; A10L 0.149; A10W 0.086; A09L 0.074; A09W 0.057; A08L 0.067; A08W 0.044; WL 0.740, 0.723, 1.092; SPL 0.151, 0.135, 0.198; PTH 0.140, 0.125, 0.227; PTL 0.248, 0.264, 0.354; PTW 0.170, 0.154, 0.259; PPL 0.186, 0.133, 0.215; PPW 0.168, 0.145, 0.248; CI 110, 107, 114; OI 26, 27, 23; SI 102, 103, 89; PTHI 56, 47, 64; PTWI 69, 58, 73; PPI 90, 109, 115; SPI 20, 19, 18; ACI 1.61.

Queen (Costa Rica)

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.


This species prefers lowland wet to moist forest habitats, and may occur in mature forest or second growth vegetation. In Costa Rica and other northern Neotropical sites that I have visited, two other limata   HNS   group species, limata   HNS   and carinata   HNS   , are usually much more abundant. For example, at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, carinata   HNS   , limata   HNS   , and brasiliensis   HNS   occurred in 24, 11, and 4 fogging events, respectively, out of a total of 52 (Longino et al. 2002).

Foragers may be encountered during the day or at night. They are generalized omnivores, recruiting to protein or carbohydrate baits and visiting extrafloral nectaries.

The species is a generalized cavity nester, most often nesting in dead branches or dead vine stems that are lodged in low vegetation. It may also nest occasionally in live stems and in myrmecophytes such as Cordia nodosa   and Triplaris   , but its nesting in these cavities appears to be opportunistic rather than any specialized preference. Workers may build small amounts of thin, brittle carton that cover or restrict nest entrances. Colonies may be polydomous, and aggregations of workers and brood may be found in ephemeral cavities such as beneath aroid leaves appressed to trunks and beneath bark flaps. Most often nests contain only workers and brood, but I have twice found nests with workers, brood, and a single physogastric queen, suggesting monogyny.

One of these nests was in an elongate scar on the trunk of a small understory tree ( Erythrochiton lindenii   , Rutaceae). The scar was covered with thin, brittle, mud-like carton. I found one physogastric queen among the workers and brood, and a thorough search did not reveal any other reproductives.

Another nest was in a live stem of a large-stemmed shrub in the Asteraceae. The trailside herb had stems that had been extensively hollowed out by a stem-boring lepidopteran larva, and one of the stems had been cut by machete, leaving a 13mm diameter, exposed, necrotic end. A brasiliensis   HNS   nest occupied the cavity in this cut stem, and the workers had constructed a carton baffle over the cut end. The large lumen was almost completely closed by carton, except for a small entrance hole just large enough for workers.

Colonies may be subject to parasitism by Microdon   (Syrphidae). One nest I collected at La Selva Biological Station contained three large Microdon   larvae in addition to workers and brood.


Species in the limata   HNS   complex ( brasiliensis   HNS   , carinata   HNS   , limata   HNS   , and tenuicula   HNS   in Costa Rica) all have abundant erect flexuous setae on the face, moderate length to short propodeal spines that are directed posteriorly, and elongate tapering petioles. The four species can be difficult to separate. They differ primarily in the nature of the ventral processes of the petiole and postpetiole. Crematogaster brasiliensis   HNS   has distinct anteroventral processes on both the petiole and postpetiole. Crematogaster limata   HNS   and carinata   HNS   lack postpetiolar processes. In Costa Rica, brasiliensis   HNS   and tenuicula   HNS   are relatively distinct because tenuicula   HNS   lacks an anteroventral petiolar process and the petiole is higher and more triangular in side view. These two species converge and become more difficult to distinguish in South America. Crematogaster brasiliensis   HNS   may also be confused with foliocrypta   HNS   , but foliocrypta   HNS   has appressed rather than erect tibial pilosity.

I was able to compare the syntypes of brasiliensis   HNS   directly with a collection from a Cordia nodosa   plant near Manaus (P. S. Ward #9140).   This nest series exhibited size polymorphism and the syntypes matched the smaller workers. The measurements for the lectotype were HL 0.68, HW 0.81, SL 0.69.

I have not been able to examine the types of Crematogaster brasiliensis arawak Weber   HNS   , 1938:208. The original description is insufficient to place arawak   HNS   among the various species related to C. limata   HNS   . I examined a " cotype " of Wheeler's inca   HNS   from the MCZC. The specimen is labeled " Callanga ," while the published type locality is Peru, Chaquimayo .   The Callanga specimen is a large worker of brasiliensis   HNS   and I am assuming the inca   HNS   type is the same.


Austria, Wien, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


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


Brazil, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo