Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 427–430 | Cite as

Methodological remarks on rearing basal Attini ants in the laboratory for biological and evolutionary studies: overview of the genus Mycetophylax

  • D. C. CardosoEmail author
  • M. P. Cristiano
  • M. G. Tavares
Research Article


Some studies require fresh biological material for their development. Ant colonies have been reared under laboratory conditions for scientific purposes, and several methodologies for leafcutter ants have been reported in the literature. However, these methods are not well adapted for rearing basal Attini. In this study, we proposed a methodology for rearing basal Attini species in the laboratory based on the evaluation of colonies of the genus Mycetophylax. The complete system consists of two round translucent polypropylene containers inserted one inside the other, where one serves as a chamber proper and the other as a foraging area. Both containers are sealed with their lids, protecting the environment against desiccation. From a total of 29 colonies collected in the field, 22 colonies survived for at least 30 weeks, and Mycetophylax morschi was the most adapted for rearing under laboratory conditions. The main problem with rearing basal Attini in the laboratory is the loss of moisture. Thus, the method applied here may be adopted for rearing other basal Attini, as well as other ant species very sensitive to moisture variation.


Rearing Laboratory protocols Mycetophylax Attini Formicidae 



Comments by Vivian Sandoval-Gómez and Tathiana Guerra Sobrinho improved this manuscript, and we are grateful also to José Henrique Schoereder for suggestions. We thank Fátima Maria dos Passos Cristiano for help with the field work. Our work was supported by Fundação do Àmparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais—FAPEMIG and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—CNPq. Thanks also to Dr. Gareth Cuttle for the English revision of this article.


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Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Cardoso
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. P. Cristiano
    • 1
  • M. G. Tavares
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Biologia Molecular, Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de Viçosa, UFVViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-graduação em Genética e Melhoramento, Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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