Pheidole radoszkowskii Mayr

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press, pp. -1--1: 221-222

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Pheidole radoszkowskii Mayr


Pheidole radoszkowskii Mayr  HNS 

Pheidole radoszkowskii Mayr  HNS  1884: 35. Syn.: Pheidole radoszkowskii race australis Emery  HNS  1890c: 50, n. syn.; Pheidole radoszkowskii var. luteola  HNS  Forel 1893j: 406, n. syn.; Pheidole radoszkowskii var. acuta Emery  HNS  1894d: 154, n. syn.; Pheidole radoszkowskii var. opacissima  HNS  Forel 190lj: 364, n. syn.; Pheidole radoszkowskii var.parvinoda  HNS  Forel 1912g: 223, n. syn.; Pheidole triconstricta var. paranana  HNS  Santschi 1925b: 13, n. syn.; Pheidole radoszkowskii var. reflexans  HNS  Santschi 1933f: 109, n. syn. Pheidole radoszkowskii var. saviozae  HNS  Forel 191 le: 304 and Pheidole radoszkowskii var. discursans  HNS  Forel 1912g: 223 are junior synonyms of Pheidole triconstricta  HNS  Forel (q.v.). The types of Pheidole radoszkowskii var. semilaevis  HNS  Forel 190 lj: 368 could not be located in the Forel collection, and their status remains unknown. Pheidole radoszkowskii parvinoda var. erubens  HNS  Forel 1912g: 224 is an unavailable name due to the ineligibility of quadrinomials. Raised to species level in this monograph: geraesensis  HNS  , inversa  HNS  .

Types Naturhist. Mus. Wien.

Etymology Named after O. Radoszkowsky, author of a list of the ants of Cayenne, French Guiana.

Diagnosis A widespread abundant species of the diligens  HNS  group characterized by the following combination of traits. Major: reddish brown; pilosity sparse, entirely absent from mesosoma; patches of rugoreticulum present mesad to the eyes and anterior half of the pronotal dorsum; longitudinal carinulae cover the frontal lobes and extend most of the way posteriorly to the occiput; all of head, mesosoma, and waist foveolate and opaque; part of first gastral tergite shagreened and opaque; promesonotal profile 3-lobed in dorsal-oblique view.

Minor: reddish brown; carinulae absent or nearly so from body, including dorsum of head; all of head, mesosoma, and waist foveolate and opaque; part of first gastral tergite shagreened and opaque, remainder of gaster smooth and shiny.

P. radoszkowskii  HNS  as conceived by me is highly variable, and may contain sibling species in addition to named infraspecific forms. (I have split off var. inversa  HNS  and subsp. pugnax  HNS  ) The synonymy I propose must therefore be considered provisional. In particular, there is wide variation among nest series in body color, from light to dark reddish brown. The form of the inner pair of hypostomal teeth ranges from long spikes to small denticles that do not reach beyond the hypostomal border; this variation may be bimodal. The amount of shagreening and hence degree of opacity differs from place to place and colony to colony. The extent of the rugoreticular patches also varies considerably. There is, finally, substantial variation in the thickness of the propodeal spine and petiolar node; for example, in the types of " variety acuta  HNS  " these parts are noticeably thinner, and in " race australis  HNS  " they are thicker. Only studies of geographical and local variation will resolve the question of the nature of this variation and the possible existence of a sibling-species complex. Meanwhile, I have chosen the conservative measure of recognizing a single, widespread species. Otherwise, radoszkowskii  HNS  can be separated from the three species it most resembles, diligens  HNS  , inversa  HNS  , and pugnax  HNS  by the following combination of traits in the major: occiput foveolate and opaque; rugoreticulum present mesad to each eye; dorsum of promesonotum devoid of all pilosity; pronotum carinulate or rugoreticulate; anterior third to two-thirds of median strip of first gastral tergite shagreened; color usually reddish brown; 4 teeth present on hypostoma.

Measurements (mm) Lectotype major: HW 1.08 HL 1.08, SL 0.72, EL 0.20, PW 0.54. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.54, HL 0.60, SL 0.66, EL 0.14, PW 0.34.

Color Major: body and mandibles medium reddish brown, antennae and legs brownish yellow. Minor: body very dark, almost blackish brown, with a slight tinge of red; appendages medium brown. Other series placed in this species range from light to dark reddish brown.

Range As presently conceived as one species, radoszkowskii  HNS  ranges very widely through the New World tropics, from Jamaica, parts of the Lesser Antilles, and Central America south to Bolivia and to Argentina as far as Tucuman. It may prove to be a complex of sibling species, as noted in the Diagnosis (above).

Biology P. radoszkowskii  HNS  prefers relatively open, dry habitats and does especially well in places modified by human activity. I collected it from along a hotel seawall on Tobago. On St. Vincent, H. H. Smith (cited by Forel 1893j, who described the accessions as " variety luteola  HNS  ") found it common in open environments from sea level to the edge of the Soufriere Volcano at about 900 meters. Nests on St. Vincent, Smith noted, are usually in the soil beneath a stone or piece of wood in open ground, less commonly within pieces of rotting wood or in rubbish. When beneath an object, the nest is composed of a vertical chamber 8-12 mm wide that branches downward a half dozen cm or so and ends in small chambers 2-3 cm wide. Colonies grow to contain two or three thousand workers, about one-fifth of which are majors. There is apparently only a single fertile queen. In Costa Rica, Longino (1997) found " variety luteola  HNS  " in similar habitats to those reported by Smith on St. Vincent, nesting beneath dead wood on the ground. Workers forage during the day over the ground and on low vegetation. On Tobago I found they could be recruited in large numbers with baits. Studying the species in Costa Rica, Roberts and Heithaus (1986) observed workers collecting seeds and thus helping to spread the seed shadow of Ficus hondurensis; the ants removed the seeds either directly from fallen fruit or from the feces of frugivorous lizards, birds, and mammals. Winged queens and males of radoszkowskii  HNS  were found in the Cumberland Valley of St. Vincent in mid-October.

Figure Upper: lectotype, major. Lower: paralectotype, minor. FRENCH GUIANA: Cayenne (collected by M. Jelski). Scale bars = 1 mm.