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Subfamily: Ecitoninae   Forel, 1893 


Current Valid Name:


Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2016)

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

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.
Subfamily and tribe Ecitonini references
Emery, 1895lEmery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 8:685-778. [1895-10-18] PDF 124599: 765 (diagnosis); Ashmead, 1906Ashmead, W. H. 1906. Classification of the foraging and driver ants, or Family Dorylidae, with a description of the genus Ctenopyga Ashm. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 8:21-31. [1906-07-13] PDF 122380: 23, 24 (tribes & genera keys); Emery, 1910bEmery, C. 1910b. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Dorylinae. Genera Insectorum 102:1-34. [1910-06-25] PDF 124696: 15 (diagnosis, genera key, catalogue); Wheeler, 1910aWheeler, W. M. 1910a. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. [1910-03] 130044: 138, 558 (diagnosis, North America genera); Forel, 1917Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 51:229-253. [1917-03-08] PDF 124997: 240 (synoptic classification); Gallardo, 1920Gallardo, A. 1920. Las hormigas de la República Argentina. Subfamilia Dorilinas. Anales del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Buenos Aires 30:281-410. [1920-02-28] PDF 125413: 312 (Argentina genera, key); Wheeler, 1922Wheeler, W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. New York: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 1139. 133015: 634 (genera key); Borgmeier, 1923Borgmeier, T. 1923. Catalogo systematico e synonymico das formigas do Brasil. 1 parte. Subfam. Dorylinae, Cerapachyinae, Ponerinae, Dolichoderinae. Archivos do Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro) 24:33-103. [1923] 122895: 37 (Brazil catalogue); Smith, 1943eSmith, M. R. 1943e. A generic and subgeneric synopsis of the male ants of the United States. American Midland Naturalist 30:273-321. [1943-10-22] PDF 128795: 290 (U.S.A. males); Creighton, 1950aCreighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 104:1-585. [1950-04] PDF 123910: 61 (North America); Borgmeier, 1955Borgmeier, T. 1955. Die Wanderameisen der neotropischen Region. Studia Entomologica 3:1-720. [1955] PDF 122904: 51, 57 (revision of subfamily, tribes key); Borgmeier, 1955Borgmeier, T. 1955. Die Wanderameisen der neotropischen Region. Studia Entomologica 3:1-720. [1955] PDF 122904: 79 (revision of tribe, genera key); Brown, 1973bBrown, W. L., Jr. 1973b. A comparison of the Hylean and Congo-West African rain forest ant faunas. Pp. 161-185 in: Meggers, B. J.; Ayensu, E. S.; Duckworth, W. D. (eds.) 1973. Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, viii + 350 pp. [1973-01] PDF 123216}: 166 (genera, distribution); Watkins, 1976Watkins, J. F., II 1976. The identification and distribution of New World army ants (Dorylinae: Formicidae). Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 102 pp. [1976] PDF 129682}: 6 (genera keys); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1976bWheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1976b. Ant larvae: review and synthesis. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington 7:1-108. [1976] PDF 129906: 46 (larvae, review & synthesis); Snelling, 1981Snelling, R. R. 1981. Systematics of social Hymenoptera. Pp. 369-453 in: Hermann, H. R. (ed.) 1981. Social insects. Volume 2. New York: Academic Press, xiii + 491 pp. [1981] [1981] 128876: 392 (synoptic classification); Gotwald & Burdette, 1981Gotwald, W. H., Jr.; Burdette, A. W. 1981. Morphology of the male internal reproductive system in army ants: phylogenetic implications (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 83:72-92. [1981-02-17] PDF 125615}: 78 (phylogeny); Watkins, 1982Watkins, J. F., II 1982. The army ants of Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ecitoninae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 55:197-247. [1982-04-20] PDF 129683}: 210 (Mexico genera, key); Gotwald, 1982Gotwald, W. H., Jr. 1982. Army ants. Pp. 157-254 in: Hermann, H. R. (ed.) 1982. Social insects. Volume 4. New York: Academic Press, 385 pp. [1982] 125605}: 167 (genera key); Baroni Urbani, 1984Baroni Urbani, C. 1984 ("1983"). Clave para la determinación de los géneros de hormigas neotropicales. Graellsia 39:73-82. [1984-02-10] PDF 122506: 74 (genera key); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986gWheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1986g. The ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp. [1986] PDF 129925: 17 (U.S.A., Nevada); Bolton, 1990cBolton, B. 1990c. Army ants reassessed: the phylogeny and classification of the doryline section (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Journal of Natural History 24:1339-1364. [1990-10-19] PDF 122856: 1357 (diagnosis, morphology, phylogeny); Brandão, 1991Brandão, C. R. F. 1991. Adendos ao catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 35:319-412. [1991-08-31] PDF 122994: 392 (Neotropical fauna, synoptic classification); Baroni Urbani, Bolton & Ward, 1992Baroni Urbani, C.; Bolton, B.; Ward, P. S. 1992. The internal phylogeny of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology 17:301-329. [1992-10] PDF 122513: 317 (phylogeny); Jaffe, 1993Jaffe, K. 1993. El mundo de las hormigas. Baruta, Venezuela: Equinoccio (Ediciones de la Universidad Simón Bolívar), 188 pp. [1993-07] 126108: 13 (Neotropical genera, synoptic classification); Lattke, in Jaffe, 1993Jaffe, K. 1993. El mundo de las hormigas. Baruta, Venezuela: Equinoccio (Ediciones de la Universidad Simón Bolívar), 188 pp. [1993-07] 126108: 149 (genera key); Bolton, 1994Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. [1994-07-25] 122834: 38 (diagnosis, synoptic classification, genera key); Bolton, 1995aBolton, B. 1995a. A taxonomic and zoogeographical census of the extant ant taxa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Natural History 29:1037-1056. [1995-08] PDF 122859: 1039 (census); Bolton, 1995bBolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. [1995-10] 122860: 11 (catalogue); Hölldobler, Obermayer & Peeters, 1996Hölldobler, B.; Obermayer, M.; Peeters, C. 1996. Comparative study of the metatibial gland in ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zoomorphology (Berlin) 116:157-167. [1996-12-17] 131493}: 158 (metatibial gland); Palacio, 1999Palacio, E. 1999. Hormigas legionarias (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ecitoninae) de Colombia. Pp. 117-189 in: Amat-G., G.; Andrade-C., M. G.; Fernández, F. (eds.) 1999. Insectos de Colombia. Volumen II. Bogotá: Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, 433 pp. [1999-11] 131976: 143 (Colombia genera, key); Perfil'eva, 2002: 1239 (venation); Palacio & Fernández, in {ref 133005}: 240 (Neotropical genera key); Brady, 2003Brady, S. G. 2003. Evolution of the army ant syndrome: the origin and long-term evolutionary stasis of a complex of behavioral and reproductive adaptations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100:6575-6579. [2003-05-27] PDF 130821: 6575 (phylogeny); Bolton, 2003Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and classification of Formicidae. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 71:1-370. [2003-11-10] PDF 130789: 34, 142 (diagnosis, synopsis); Brady & Ward, 2005Brady, S. G.; Ward, P. S. 2005. Morphological phylogeny of army ants and other dorylomorphs (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology 30:593-618. [2005-10] PDF 130829: 593 (phylogeny); Moreau, Bell, et al. 2006: 102 (phylogeny); Brady, Schultz, et al. 2006: 18173 (phylogeny); Ward, 2007CWard, P. S. 2007C. Phylogeny, classification, and species-level taxonomy of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1668:549-563. [2007-12-21] PDF 132572: 555 (classification); Keller, 2011Keller, R. A. 2011. A phylogenetic analysis of ant morphology (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with special reference to the poneromorph subfamilies. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 355:1-90. [2011-08-10] PDF 132879: 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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