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Subfamily: Ecitoninae


Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2014)

Extant: 2 tribes, 5 genera, 151 species, 22 subspecies

Fossil: 1 species

Ecitonii Forel, 1893b PDF: 163. Type-genus: Eciton. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Ecitoninae as subfamily of Dorylidae: Ashmead, 1905c PDF: 381; Ashmead, 1906 PDF: 23.
Ecitoninae as subfamily of Formicidae: Brown, 1973b PDF}: 166; Snelling, 1981: 392; Bolton, 1990c PDF: 1357; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990: 11; all subsequent authors.
Ecitoninae as dorylomorph subfamily of Formicidae: Bolton, 2003 PDF: 34, 142; Brady & Ward, 2005 PDF: 593.
Ecitoninae as formicoid subfamily of Formicidae: Moreau, Bell, et al. 2006: 102.
Ecitoninae as formicoid dorylomorph subfamily of Formicidae: Brady, Schultz, et al. 2006: 18173; Ward, 2007C PDF: 555.
Tribes of Ecitoninae: Cheliomyrmecini, Ecitonini.
Subfamily and tribe Ecitonini references
Emery, 1895l PDF: 765 (diagnosis); Ashmead, 1906 PDF: 23, 24 (tribes & genera keys); Emery, 1910b PDF: 15 (diagnosis, genera key, catalogue); Wheeler, 1910a: 138, 558 (diagnosis, North America genera); Forel, 1917 PDF: 240 (synoptic classification); Gallardo, 1920 PDF: 312 (Argentina genera, key); Wheeler, 1922: 634 (genera key); Borgmeier, 1923: 37 (Brazil catalogue); Smith, 1943e PDF: 290 (U.S.A. males); Creighton, 1950a PDF: 61 (North America); Borgmeier, 1955 PDF: 51, 57 (revision of subfamily, tribes key); Borgmeier, 1955 PDF: 79 (revision of tribe, genera key); Brown, 1973b PDF}: 166 (genera, distribution); Watkins, 1976 PDF}: 6 (genera keys); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1976b PDF: 46 (larvae, review & synthesis); Snelling, 1981: 392 (synoptic classification); Gotwald & Burdette, 1981 PDF}: 78 (phylogeny); Watkins, 1982 PDF}: 210 (Mexico genera, key); Gotwald, 1982}: 167 (genera key); Baroni Urbani, 1984 PDF: 74 (genera key); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986g PDF: 17 (U.S.A., Nevada); Bolton, 1990c PDF: 1357 (diagnosis, morphology, phylogeny); Brandão, 1991 PDF: 392 (Neotropical fauna, synoptic classification); Baroni Urbani, Bolton & Ward, 1992 PDF: 317 (phylogeny); Jaffe, 1993: 13 (Neotropical genera, synoptic classification); Lattke, in Jaffe, 1993: 149 (genera key); Bolton, 1994: 38 (diagnosis, synoptic classification, genera key); Bolton, 1995a PDF: 1039 (census); Bolton, 1995b: 11 (catalogue); Hölldobler, Obermayer & Peeters, 1996}: 158 (metatibial gland); Palacio, 1999: 143 (Colombia genera, key); Perfil'eva, 2002: 1239 (venation); Palacio & Fernández, in {ref 133005}: 240 (Neotropical genera key); Brady, 2003 PDF: 6575 (phylogeny); Bolton, 2003 PDF: 34, 142 (diagnosis, synopsis); Brady & Ward, 2005 PDF: 593 (phylogeny); Moreau, Bell, et al. 2006: 102 (phylogeny); Brady, Schultz, et al. 2006: 18173 (phylogeny); Ward, 2007C PDF: 555 (classification); Keller, 2011 PDF: 1 (morphology, phylogeny).


These are the New World "army ants", whose workers can be recognized by the following features: (1) eye reduced to a single ommatidium or absent; (2) clypeus narrow (back to front), so that the antennal insertions are close to the anterior margin of the head; (3) antennal sockets not concealed by frontal carinae; and (4) pygidium simple, unarmed. In addition, the pronotum and mesonotum are fused into a single structure, and the sting is present and functional. The postpetiole may be present or absent. Most of these features, except the simple pygidium, are seen in some species of the subfamily Cerapachyinae (q.v.).


Represented in California by a single genus (and about 10 species), the Ecitoninae are most prevalent in the Neotropical region. All are nomadic, predatory army ants.


Bolton (1990e, 1994); Borgmeier (1955); Gotwald (1971, 1982, 1995); Watkins (1972, 1976, 1985).

(-1 examples)

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