ID guide | introduced ants

Revisionary notes on the fungus-growing ants of the genus Cyphomyrmexrimosus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Attini)

Publication Type:Book Chapter
Year of Publication:1992
Authors:R. R. Snelling, Longino J. T.
Editor:D. Quintero, Aiello A.
Pagination:479-494, English summary p. 653, Spanish summary p. 662-663
Publisher:Oxford University Press
City:Oxford. xxii + 692 p.

*[Cyphomyrmex Mayr, 1862, is a genus of fungus-growing ants belonging to the exclusively New World tribe Attini. Among the dozen genera presently recognized within the Attini, Cyphomyrmex is one of the most distinctive. The body is dull and, for the most part, without obvious sculpture, although a few obscure regules may be present on the mesosoma. The first gastral tergum is without tubercles. Pilosity, except for a few erect simple hairs on the mandibular region of the head, is usually closely appressed to the body surface & is scale-like in appearance; in a few species the pilosity is suberect, but then it is also broad & squamiform. The frontal lobes of the head are exceptionally broad, completely concealing the antennal sockets, & the head is usually widest across the frontal lobes. Mesosomal spines are replaced in most species by low, blunt tubercles; in a few species even these are absent or nearly so. The biology of Cyphomyrmex is not very well known, even though some species are among the mostly commonly encountered terrestrial species. The ants themselves are small, of drab coloration, slow-moving, & often become immobile when disturbed, sometimes for several minutes. When an ant feigns death the appendages are drawn close to the body & the ant then seems to be nothing more than a small particle of soil or other debris. Colonies are small, probably not exceeding 500 workers & usually far fewer; numerous dealate females are often present within a colony, but they are apparently are non-reproductive. The colonies are commonly situated in soil or rotting wood on the ground, or distributed within leaf-litter. They may also be located in dead, decaying tree limbs, in matts of moss on tree trunks, or within epiphytic pseudobulbs. The fungus gardens of Cyphomyrmex are grown on insect faeces & other bits or debris collected by the foraging workers. They do not all resemble the large spongiform fungus gardens of Atta, Acromyrmex, & some other genera. Instead, the fungus consists of cheese-like bodies up to 0.5 mm in diameter. These bodies, or bromatia, are placed directly on the excrement from which they derive nutriment.]

Abbreviation:Insects of Panama and Mesoamerica: selected studies
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith