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Costa Rica, Bolivia, Brazil (GO, SP, BA). Costa Rica: known from Alajuela, La Selva.
Workers of this large ponerine are apparently entirely subterranean, and thus rarely encountered. In 1988 S. Cover (pers. comm.) observed closed turrets projecting from clay soil in open sunlit ground surrounding the River Station at La Selva Biological Station. Excavation yielded workers and males, and Cover suggested the turrets were the result of a premating flight excavation. Males are distinctively bicolored (figure: reduced, original), and have been collected at blacklights.
The genus Centromyrmex is pantropical, with three species in the Neotropics (Kempf 1966). Several species, and by extrapolation perhaps the entire genus, are specialized predators of termites, nesting within termite nests (Wheeler 1936, Luederwaldt 1926, Mann 1934, Borgmeier 1937, Kempf 1967, Levieux 1976, Mill 1982, Grasse 1986, Dejean and Feneron 1993, Delabie 1995). The biology of C. alfaroi in Costa Rica is unknown, but one can anticipate an association with termites. Delabie (1995) gives a detailed description of C. alfaroi populations in large soil mounds of Syntermes nests in the state of Bahia, Brazil. He found that C. alfaroi is polygynous, with many dealate queens occurring together with workers in termite mounds.
Borgmeier, T. 1937. Formigas novas ou pouco conhecidas da America do Sul e Central, principalmente do Brasil (Hym. Formicidae). Arch. Inst. Biol. Veget. R.Janeiro 3:217-255.
Dejean, A., R. Feneron. 1993. Polyginie et forme de polymorphisme chez une Ponerinae. Actes Coll. Insectes Sociaux 8:179-182.
Delabie, J. H. C. 1995. Inquilinismo simultaneo de duas especies de Centromyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae) em cupinzeiros de Syntermes sp (Isoptera, Termitidae, Nasutermitinae). Rev. Bras. Ent. 39:605-609.
Emery, C. 1890. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. I-V. Boll. Soc. Entomol. It. 22:38-80.
Grasse, P. P. 1986. Termitologie III. Comportement, Socialite, Ecologie, Evolution, Systematique. Paris, Masson, 715pp.
Kempf, W. W. 1967 (1966). A synopsis of the Neotropical ants of the genus Centromyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomol. 9:401-410.
Levieux, J. 1976. Etude de la structure du nid de quelques especes terricoles de fourmis tropicales [Nest structure of certain terricolous species of tropical ants]. Annales de l'Universite d'Abidjan Serie C Sciences 12:23-34.
Luederwaldt, H. 1926. Observacoes biologicas sobre formigas brasileiras, especialmente do Estado de Sao Paulo. Rev. Mus. Paulista 14:185-304.
Mann, W. M. 1934. Stalking ants, savage and civilized. Natn. Geogr. Mag. 66:171-192.
Mill, A. E. 1982. Faunal studies on termites (Isoptera) and observations on their ant predators (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Amazon basin. Revta bras. Ent. 26:253-260.
Wheeler, W. M. 1936. Ecological relations of ponerine and other ants to termites. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 71:159-243.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 4 times found in montane wet forest, 4 times found in STR, 4 times found in Sura, 1 times found in park/garden, 2 times found in SCH, 1 times found in CCL 300, 1 times found in lowland rainforest, 1 times found in rainforest
Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 13 times flight intercept trap, 2 times Malaise, 1 times Blacklight, 1 times search
Elevations: collected from 40 - 600 meters, 222 meters average
Type specimens: syntype of Centromyrmex alfaroi: casent0903859