Mexico to Panama, Colombia?, Ecuador. Costa Rica: lowland wet and moist forest sites throughout the country.
This species is commonly encountered as workers in recent treefalls or canopy fogging samples from mature rainforest. It can nest in either live or dead branches. I have the following nest collections:
Whole branch sample from canopy of Vochysia ferruginea. A nest occurred in a 1-5cm diameter dead stick, in a 50cm long chamber.
Pasture edge/primary forest. Nest in two internodes of Cecropia insignis sapling.
A 2m section of bare, dead branch had recently fallen from the canopy. I found various ant nests in different parts of the branch, including a C. basalis nest.
Recent treefall; C. basalis workers abundant; an extensive colony occupied the live stems of a bignoniaceous vine tangle; there were many large round entrance holes.
Carapa guianensis felled one day previously; tree was somewhat isolated in low second growth vegetation; C. basalis was nesting in a cavity in a 5cm diameter live branch of the Carapa tree.
Andrade, M. L. de, and C. Baroni Urbani. 1999. Diversity and adaptation in the ant genus Cephalotes, past and present (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Palaontologie) 271:1-889.
Emery, C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 22:38-80.
Kempf, W. W. 1951. A taxonomic study on the ant tribe Cephalotini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Entomol. (Rio J.) 22:1-244.
Smith, F. 1876. Descriptions of new species of Cryptoceridae, belonging to the genera Cryptocerus, Meranoplus, and Cataulacus. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1876:603-612.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 16 times found in montane wet forest, 2 times found in SURA 850M, 3 times found in CCL 840M, 3 times found in SSO 350m, 1 times found in STR, 2 times found in beach, 2 times found in tropical wet forest, 1 times found in Entre el SHO y SSE, 2 times found in 2º wet forest, 1 times found in lowland wet forest, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 38 times fogging, 15 times Search, 14 times Malaise, 3 times Sweeping, 3 times Beating, 2 times Foggin, 1 times MiniWinkler
Elevations: collected from 40 - 1120 meters, 186 meters average