Ectatomma is a genus of Neotropical ants that are abundant, conspicuous, and often the subjects of ecological and evolutionary studies. The wide variation in their diet, foraging and reproductive strategies, along with their highly flexible behavior and remarkable cognitive abilities can account for their ecological success and abundance.
Systematics and Geographic Distribution
Ectatomma belongs to the subfamily Ectatomminae, the sister group of the Heteroponerinae. This ectaheteromorph clade has an interesting phylogenetic position, because it is sister to the largest subfamily of ants, the Myrmicinae. Ectatomma is monophyletic with 15 extant and one fossil species currently recognized. They are medium to large ants (workers, 6.0–14.0 mm in length; queens, 10.0–15.6 mm), endemic to the Neotropical region [2, 6]. The genus originated in the early or middle Miocene, 15.8–22.8 MYA. Within Ectatommathere are four clades, three of which originated in South America...
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