Myrmecophily and Myrmecophagy of Attacobius lavape (Araneae: Corinnidae) on Solenopsis saevissima (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae)


  • Cindy Anne Ferreira Mendonça Universidade Estadual de Goiás
  • Marcos Antônio Pesquero Universidade Estadual de Goiás
  • Rosalinda dos Santos Damasceno Carvalho Universidade Estadual de Goiás
  • Filipe Viegas de Arruda Universidade Estadual de Goiás



fire ant, inquiline, social parasite, biological control


Attacobius lavape, a small spider from the Corinnidae family, has been recently described living inside a fire ant colony of Solenopsis saevissima species in the municipality of Morrinhos, south region of the Goiás State, Brazil. Yet several aspects of this spider relationship with the host ant remain unknown. In this way, we performed an extension study to determine its local (Morrinhos) and regional (latitudinal transect) occurrence. We also investigated if the spider uses the host ant as a feeding source. For this, we established arenas with a known number of young and adult ant individuals plus one spider and observed the feeding rate for some determined time. Regarding local distribution, differently from most socially parasitic myrmecophiles, A. lavape showed high local infestation, being found in 47% of the colonies in the sites where the spider occurred, and high transmission, being found in 42% of the 12 collection sites. Regionally, among the 11 study sites, this species only occurred in the municipality of Morrinhos, but its distribution still needs to be verified in the north region. Attacobius lavape consumed eggs, larvae and pupae, confirming that the myrmecophily was explained by myrmecophagy. The spiders consumed eggs (not estimated), 4.45 ± 2.14 larvae and/or 3 ± 0.87 pupae per day. Considering that the mean abundance was approximately seven spiders per colony (extent 1-23), we foresee an impact of 35 larvae and/or 21 pupae consumed per day in each hosting colony. The possibility of consuming sexual eggs, larvae and pupae classifies A. lavape as a potential agent of biological control of S. saevissima.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Cindy Anne Ferreira Mendonça, Universidade Estadual de Goiás

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ambiente e Sociedade (PPGAS)

Marcos Antônio Pesquero, Universidade Estadual de Goiás

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ambiente e Sociedade (PPGAS)

Rosalinda dos Santos Damasceno Carvalho, Universidade Estadual de Goiás

Ciências Biológicas

Filipe Viegas de Arruda, Universidade Estadual de Goiás

Programa de Pós-Graduação Recursos Naturais do Cerrado


Ayres, M., Ayres, M. Jr, Ayres, D.L. & Santos, A.A.S. (2007). BioEstat: aplicações estatísticas nas áreas das ciências biomédicas. 5 ed. Belém: Sociedade Civil Mamirauá.

Bonaldo, A.B. (2000). Taxonomia da subfamília Corinninae (Araneae, Corinnidae) nas regiões Neotropical e Neártica. Iheringia, Série Zoologia, 89: 3-148. doi: 10.1590/S0073-47212000000200001

Bonaldo, A.B. & Brescovit, A.D. (2005). On new species of the Neotropical spider genus Attacobius Mello-Leitão, 1923 (Araneae, Corinnidae, Corinninae), with a cladistic analysis of the tribe Attacobiini. Insect Systematics and Evolution, 36: 35-56, doi: 10.1163/187631205788912804

Bonaldo, A.B., Pesquero, M.A. & Brescovit, A.D. (2018). On a new species of the spider genus Attacobius Mello-Leitão (Araneae: Corinnidae) from Brazilian Cerrado. Zootaxa, 4508: 446. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4508.3.10

Briano, J., Calcaterra, L. & Varone, L. (2012). Fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) and theirnatural enemies in southern South America. Psyche, Article ID 198084, 19 p., doi: 10.11 55/2012/198084

Ceccarelli, F.S. (2013). Ant-Mimicking spiders: strategies for living with social insects. Psyche, Article ID 839181, 6 p., doi: 10.1155/2013/839181

Costa, R.A. & Santos, F.O. (2010). Expansão agrícola e vulnerabilidade natural do meio físico no sul goiano. Revista Geografia em Atos, 10: 23-35.

Cushing, P.E. (1997). Myrmecomorphy and myrmecophily in spiders: a review. Florida Entomologist, 80: 165-193, doi: 10.2307/3495552

Cushing, P.E. (2012). Spider-ant associations: an updated review of myrmecomorphy, myrmecophily, and myrmecophagy in spiders. Psyche, Article ID 151989, 23 p. doi: 10.1155/2012/151989

Del-Claro, K. (2010). Introdução à ecologia comportamental: um manual para o estudo do comportamento animal. Rio de Janeiro: Technical Books.

Dettner, K. & Liepert, C. (1994).Chemical mimicry and camouflage. Annual Review of Entomology, 39: 129-154, doi: 10.1146/annurev.en.39.010194.001021

Edmunds, M. (1978). On the association between Myrmurachne spp. (Salticidae) and ants. Bulletin - British Arachnological Society, 4: 149-160.

Erthal Jr, M. & Tonhasca Jr, A. (2001). Attacobius attarum Spiders (Corinnidae): myrmecophilous predators of immature forms of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens (Formicidae). Biotropica, 33: 374-376. doi: 10.1646/0006-3606(2001) 033[0374:AASCMP]2.0.CO;2

Hamilton, W.D. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behaviour, I. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7: 1-16. doi: 10.1016/0022-5193(64)90038-4

Hamilton, W.D. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behaviour, II. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7: 17-52. doi: 10.10 16/0022-5193(64)90039-6

Hölldobler, B. & Wilson, E.O. (1990). The Ants. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 732 p.

Ichinose, K., Rinaldi, I. & Forti, L.C. (2004). Winged leaf-cutting ants on nuptial flights used as transport by Attacobius spiders for dispersal. Ecological Entomology, 29: 628-631, doi: 10.1111/j.0307-6946.2004.00640.x

Kather, R., Drijfhout, F.P., Shemil,T.S. & Martin, S.J. (2015). Evidence for passive chemical camouflage in the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41: 178-186. doi: 10.1007/s10886-015-0548-z

Lebrun, E.G., Plowes, R.M. & Gilbert, L.E. (2012). Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect. Journal of Animal Ecology, 81: 884-895. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2012.01954.x

Markin, G.P. & Dillier, J.H. (1971). The seasonal life cycle of the imported fire ant, Solenopsis saevissima richteri, on the gulf coast of Mississippi. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 64: 562-565. doi: 10.1093/aesa/64.3.562

Markin, G.P., Dillier, J.H. & Collins, H.L. (1973).Growth and development of colonies of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 66: 803-808. doi: 10.1093/aesa/66.4.803

Noonan, G.R. (1982). Notes on interactions between the spider Eilicapuno (Gnaphosidae) and the ant Camponotusinca in the Peruvian Andes. Biotropical, 14: 145-148. doi: 10.2307/2387745

Pereira-Filho, J.M.B., Saturnino, R. & Bonaldo, A. (2018). Five new species and novel descriptions of opposed sexes of four species of the spider genus Attacobius (Araneae: Corinnidae). Zootaxa, 4462: 211. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4462.2.3

Pesquero, M.A. & Dias, A.M.P.M. (2004). New records of Orasemaxanthopus (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae) and Solenopsis daguerrei (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 64: 737. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842004000400023

Pesquero, M.A. & Dias, A.M.P.M. (2011). Geographical transition zone of Solenopsis fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Pseudacteon fly parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Neotropical Entomology, 40: 647-652. doi: 10.1590/S1519-566X2011000600003

Pitts, J.P., Camacho, G.P., Gotzek, D., Mchugh, J.V. & Ross, K.G. (2018). Revision of the fire ants of the Solenopsis saevissima species-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 120: 308-411. doi: 10.4289/0013-8797.120.2.308

Platnick, N.I. & Baptista, R.L.C. (1995). On the spider genus Attacobius (Araneae, Dionycha). American Museum of Natural History, no. 3120, 9 p.

Porter, S.D., Williams, D.F., Patterson, R.S. & Fowler, H.G. (1997). Intercontinental differences in the abundance of Solenopsis fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Escape from natural enemies? Environmental Entomology, 26: 373-384.

Thomas, A.J., Schonrogge, K. & Elmes, G.W. (2005). Specializations and host associations of social parasites of ants. In Fellowes, M.D.E., Holloway, G.J. & Rolff, J. (Eds.) Insect Evolutionary Ecology (pp. 479-518). UK: Royal Entomological Society, CABI Publishing.

Tschinkel, W.R. (2006). The fire ants. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

WSC (2019). World spider catalog. Natural History Museum Bern., version 18.5. (accessed: 25 jan, 2019).




How to Cite

Mendonça, C. A. F., Pesquero, M. A., Carvalho, R. dos S. D., & Arruda, F. V. de. (2019). Myrmecophily and Myrmecophagy of Attacobius lavape (Araneae: Corinnidae) on Solenopsis saevissima (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae). Sociobiology, 66(4), 545–550.



Research Article - Ants