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fungus growning ants, Sericomyrmex
Sericomyrmex colony

Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo,
Research Associate, SI AntLab

  • Phone:   202-633-1002
  • Fax:   202-786-2894
  • E-mail Address:
  • USPS Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 188, Rm. CE-518
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Public Carrier Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0188
  • Education:
    University of Maryland at College Park.
    M. Sc. Candidate in Entomology.

    Universidad del Quindio-Armenia-Colombia
    B.S. Biology & Environmental Education
Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo digging for leaf-cutter ant nests
Jeffrey is now (2017) a post-doctoral fellow in residence at Arizona State University.   Link to ResearchGate

Research Interests:

My main interests are the systematics, behavior, and evolutionary biology of insects, especially ants (Formicidae) and parasitic wasps (Scoliidae). In particular, I am very interested in conducting the systematic revision of the primitive non-leaf-cutting fungus-growing ant genus Myrmicocrypta, and the construction of coevolutionary hypotheses including the ants and their symbionts (fungal cultivars, Escovopsis weed molds, and Pseudonocardia, antibiotic producing bacterial mutualism). To do so, I am planning to use both morphological and molecular approaches as well as data obtained from behavior and natural history to conduct this revision. Taxon sampling will include representative species from the genera that currently comprises the Attini (Formicidae: Mymicinae), and representatives from other Myrmicinae tribes, especially the tribe Blepharidattini (genera Blepharidatta and Wasmannia) which have been proposed to be the sister group of the attines. Morphological data will be recorded from all ant castes (gynes, males and workers). Molecular data will include sequences from nuclear (wingless, 28S- non-protein coding) and mitochondrial (COI) genes. Mitochondrial COI gene has proven to be at an appropriate rate of divergence for examination of species level relationships. If necessary, three more nuclear genes (EF1-alpha, EF2-alpha, and LwRh OPSIN) would be considered.

I am also conducting the world revision of the spider-egg predator ant genus Discothyrea (Proceratiinae) with Dr. John LaPolla (Towson University), using both morphological and molecular approaches. I am also conducting biodiversity studies in Central and South America in collaboration with Dr. Ted Schultz (NMNH-SI) and Dr. John LaPolla (Towson University), and comparing the ant fauna in the Guyana Shield vs. the Amazonian forest to extrapolate patterns of endemism and to identify areas of conservation concern.


Branstetter, M.G., Ješovnik, A., Sosa-Calvo, J., Lloyd, M.W., Faircloth, B.C., Brady, S.G., and Schultz, T.R. 2017. Dry habitats were crucibles of domestication in the evolution of agriculture in ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B. 284: 20170095. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0095

Sosa-Calvo J, Ješovnik A, Lopes C, Rodrigues A, Rabeling C, Bacci M Jr, Vasconcelos HL & Schultz TR (2017): Biology of the relict fungus-farming ant Apterostigma megacephala Lattke, including descriptions of the male, gyne, and larva. Insectes Sociaux. Link:

Ješovnik A, Sosa-Calvo J, Lloyd M, Branstetter M, Fernandez F & Schultz TR (2016): Phylogenomic species delimitation and host-symbiont coevolution in the fungus-farming ant genus Sericomyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Ultraconserved elements (UCEs) resolve a recent radiation. Systematic Entomology.
doi: 10.1111/syen.12228    

Schultz, T.R., Sosa-Calvo, J., Brady, S.G., Lopes, C.T., Mueller, U.G., Bacci, M. & Vasconcelos, H.L. 2015. The Most Relictual Fungus-Farming Ant Species Cultivates the Most Recently Evolved and Highly Domesticated Fungal Symbiont Species. The American Naturalist, 185(5): 693-703. doi:10.1086/680501

pdf Sosa-Calvo J, Schultz TR, Brandão CRF, Klingenberg C, Feitosa RM, Rabeling C, Bacci Jr. M, Lopes CT and Vasconcelos HL. (2013) Cyatta abscondita: Taxonomy, Evolution, and Natural History of a New Fungus-Farming Ant Genus from Brazil. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80498. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080498

pdf Jesovnik, A., Sosa-Calvo, J.; Lopes, C., Vasconcelos, H., Schultz, T. R. 2013. Nest architecture, fungus gardens, queen, males and larvae of the fungus-growing ant Mycetagroicus inflatus Brandão & Mayhé-Nunes. Insectes Sociaux 60(4): 531-542.

Solomon, S. E., Lopes, C.T., Mueller, U.G., Rodrigues, A., Sosa-Calvo, J., Schultz, T.R. and Vasconcelos, H.L. 2011. Nesting biology and fungiculture of the fungus-growing ant, Mycetagroicus cerradensis: New light on the origin of higher-attine agriculture. Journal of Insect Science, 11(12): 1-14.

Sosa-Calvo, J., T.R. Schultz, and J.S. LaPolla. 2010. A review of the dacetine ants of Guyana (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 19(1): 12-43. pdf

Sosa-Calvo, J. and T.R. Schultz. 2010. Three remarkable new fungus-growing ant species of the genus Myrmicocrypta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a reassessment of the characters that define the genus and its position within the Attini. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 103(2): 181-195. pdf

Sosa-Calvo, J., S.G. Brady and T.R. Schultz. 2009. The gyne of the enigmatic fungus-farming ant species Mycetosoritis explicata. J. Hymenopt. Res. 18(1): 113-120. pdf

Azorsa, F. and J. Sosa-Calvo. 2008. Description of a remarkable new species of ant in the genus Daceton Perty (Formicidae: Dacetini) from South America. Zootaxa, 1749: 27-38. pdf

Bolton, B., J. Sosa-Calvo, F. Fernandez, and J.E. Lattke. 2008. New synonyms in neotropical Myrmicine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1732: 61-64. pdf

Sosa-Calvo, J. and J. T. Longino. 2008. Chapter Seven. Subfamily Proceratiinae. In: Systematics, Biogeography, and Conservation of the hunting ants of Colombia. Jimenez, E., Fernandez, F., Arias, T.M., and Lozano-Zambrano, F.H. (Eds.). 219-238 p. (In Spanish)

LaPolla, J. S., T. Suman, J. Sosa-Calvo, and T. R. Schultz. 2007. Leaf litter ant diversity in Guyana. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16: 491-510. pdf

Sosa-Calvo, J. 2007. Chapter Five. Ants of the leaf-litter of two plateaus in Eastern Suriname. 92-98. In: A Rapid Biological Assessment of the Lely and Nassau Plateaus, Suriname (with additional information on the Brownsberg Plateau). Alonso, L.E. and Mol, J.H. (Eds.) Rapid Assessment Program Bulletin of Biological Assessment 43. Conservation International

Sosa-Calvo, J. and D. F. Campos. 2005. First record of the family Heloridae
(Hymenoptera: Proctotrupoidea) for Colombia. Revista de la Sociedad Colombiana de Entomologia (SOCOLEN) 31: 233- 234. (In Spanish)

Sosa-Calvo, J., S. Shattuck, and T. R. Schultz. 2006. Dacetine ants of Panama: New records and description of a new species (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Dacetini). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 108(4): 814-821.

LaPolla, J. S., & J. Sosa-Calvo. 2006. Review of the ant genus Rogeria (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Guyana. Zootaxa 1330: 59-68. pdf

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