Leafcutter Ant Distribution Maps and Lists

Home ---> Leafcutter Ant Distribution

(en español)

This is an exhaustive research into the biogeography of leafcutter ants that I have been doing since 2004. There are 3 sections:

I. Comprehensive Dynamic Distribution Map of Leafcutter Ants

This is the latest and most comprehensive mapping of leafcutters that I have. It is being made in conjunction with Discoverlife.org, which also has a web interface to the map here.

This database is being built with the help of many people, without whom it would have been impossible to create such a map. Click here to see the contributors to this effort.

You have two choices when building the map. You can have full control over which species to display and superimpose on the map, or you can choose one of the pre-selected maps, such as the Leafcutters of Central America.

Pre-selected Maps

Build your own map

To build a map, just follow the directions below

  1. Select the species that you would like to view in the map by checking the corresponding checkboxes. You can select up to 10 species at a time. Different species will be represented by different colored icons.


  3. To ZOOM to a higher resolution on the map, just click on the spot you would like to zoom, without clicking directly on one of the colored sample icons.

  4. To view information on a sample, just click directly on one of the sample icons.

Atta bisphaerica
Atta capiguara
Atta cephalotes
Atta colombica
Atta goiana
Atta insularis
Atta laevigata
Atta mexicana
Atta opaciceps
Atta robusta
Atta saltensis
Atta sexdens
Atta silvai
Atta texana
Atta vollenweideri
Acromyrmex ambiguus
Acromyrmex aspersus
Acromyrmex balzani
Acromyrmex coronatus
Acromyrmex crassispinus
Acromyrmex diasi
Acromyrmex disciger
Acromyrmex fracticornis
Acromyrmex gallardo
Acromyrmex heyeri
Acromyrmex hispidus
Acromyrmex hystrix
Acromyrmex landolti
Acromyrmex laticeps
Acromyrmex lobicornis
Acromyrmex lundi
Acromyrmex mesopotamicus
Acromyrmex niger
Acromyrmex nigrosetosus
Acromyrmex nobilis
Acromyrmex octospinosus
Acromyrmex pulvereus
Acromyrmex rugosus
Acromyrmex silvestrii
Acromyrmex striatus
Acromyrmex subterraneus
Acromyrmex versicolor
Acromyrmex volcanus

II. Old Distribution List of Leafcutter Ants

This old distribution list of all the leafcutters, Atta and Acromyrmex, was assembled from the literature, as well as personal experiences. Click here to view the old comprehensive list. This has been superceded by the dynamic map above.

III. Static Distribution Maps of Leafcutter Ants

Title Source Comments
Distribution of Atta species in Mexico A. Sunjian (2004), based on data from Distribucion geographica de las especies de hormigas arrieras existentes en la Republica Mexicana. Folia Entomologica Mexicana. 1972. No. 23/24, 95-96. Circa 1972. Includes Atta mexicana, A. cephalotes, and A. texana.
Distribution of Atta colombica and Atta cephalotes in Barro Colorado island, Panama Wirth R, Beyschlag W, Ryel R, Herz H, Hölldobler B. The herbivory of leaf-cutting ants. A case study on Atta colombica in the tropical rainforest of Panama. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer Verlag , 2003. (Ecological Studies; 164)

Quote from book:

The detailed investigation of the entire island between 1996 and 1998 revealed a total of 110 Atta nests in 1996.Of these,92 were A.colombica and 18 were A.cephalotes nests. Strikingly,90 of the A.colombica nests were concen- trated within an area of approx.100 ha adjacent to the laboratory clearing (the so-called study area,see Figs.7 and 23).Eight A cephalotes nests were detected within the study area. The remaining ten A.cephalotes colonies were spread over the entire island. Because of changes due to colony movements (see below),death and the foundation of new colonies,not all of these sites were simultaneously occupied. On average,there were 52 living A.colombica colonies in the study area (i.e.,0.52 colonies/ha)at any one time during the investigation period plus the 8 A.cephalotes colonies (0.08 colonies/ha),resulting in an overall density of 0.6 Atta colonies/ha.Related to the entire island the density of A.colombica nests was 0.033 colonies/ha.

Distribution of Atta and Acromyrmex species in Argentina Modified from Brener AGF and A Ruggiero (1994). leaf-Cutting Ants (Atta and Acromyrmex) Inhabiting Argentina: Patterns in Species Richness and Geographical Range Sizes. J Biog 21(4):391-399 Circa 1994.
Distribution of Grass-cutting leafcutter ants Fowler GH, LC Forri, V Pereira-da-Silva, and NB Saes (1986a) Economics of Grass-cutting Ants. In: Fire Ants and Leaf Cutting Ants: Biology and Management (eds Lofgren CS, Vander Meer RK), pp. 123–145. Westview Press, Boulder Circa 1986.
Distribution of the endemic (and endangered) Brazilian Atta robusta in the coastal plain of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. H. G. Fowler 1995. THE POPULATION STATUS OF THE ENDANGERED BRAZILIAN ENDEMIC LEAF-CUTTING ANT Atta robusta. Biological Conservation 74 (1995) 147-150 Circa 1995. Includes Atta robusta.
Distribution of 6 Atta spp Weber, N. A. 1969. Ecological relations of three Atta species in Panama. Ecology 50: 141-147 Circa 1968. Includes Atta cephalotes, A. sexdens, A. mexicana, A. texana, A. insularis, A. vollenweideri
Distribution of Atta colombica in the Panama Canal Zone Area Weber, N. A. 1969. Ecological relations of three Atta species in Panama. Ecology 50: 141-147 Circa 1968. Includes Atta colombica.
Distribution of Atta texana in Texas and Louisiana Donald M. Grosman, Ph.D., Coordinator, WGFPMC & Entomologist III Texas Forest Service Forest Pest Management This is the latest distribution map for Atta texana in Texas and Louisiana. It was based on surveys conducted by several people in 1979, 1981, 1983 and 2000.
Distribution of Atta texana in Louisiana A. Sunjian (2004), from distribution map of Donald M. Grosman, Ph.D. This is the latest distribution map for Atta texana in Louisiana. It was based on surveys conducted by several people in 1979, 1981, 1983 and 2000.
Distribution of Atta texana in Louisiana A. Sunjian (2004), from paper Smith, M.R. 1963. Notes on the leaf-cutting ants, Atta spp., of the United States and Mexico. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 65(4): 299-302. Circa 1963. Distribution map for Atta texana in Louisiana. Might be based on surveys done in late 1930s.
Distribution of Atta texana in Texas and Louisiana Dr. John Moser, USDA Forest Service Circa 2001?
Distribution of Atta texana in Texas A. Sunjian (2004), based on FASIM data. Circa earlier than 2001?

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Web Site Author: A. Sunjian
Site Created 2003.10.11
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