Pheidole vafra Santschi

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press, pp. -1--1: 244

publication ID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Pheidole vafra Santschi


Pheidole vafra Santschi  HNS 

Pheidole vafra  HNS  Santschi 1923d: 51. Syn.: Pheidole idiota  HNS  Santschi 1923d: 53, n. syn. Types Naturhist. Mus. Basel.

Etymology L vafra  HNS  , artful, craftful, allusion unknown.

diagnosis A small, brown member of the diligens  HNS  group, whose major has a faintly bicolorous head; smooth anterior third of the head dorsal surface; abundant medium-length pilosity; relatively short antennal scapes, which are curved near their base; and equilaterally triangular postpetiolar spine in side view.

Close to blumenauensis  HNS  , perryorum  HNS  , and rochai  HNS  , but major differing in its shorter scapes, eyes larger than in rochai  HNS  (but not in blumenauensis  HNS  ) and other details of body form and sculpturing in both major and minor, as illustrated. See also less similar laevifrons  HNS  , lemur  HNS  , peregrina  HNS  , pubiventris  HNS  , and seeldrayersi  HNS  . Measurements (mm) Lectotype major: HW 0.96, HL 1.04, SL 0.74, EL 0.20, PW 0.54. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.52, HL 0.64, SL 0.74, EL 0.14, PW 0.36.

Color Major: gaster medium brown, rest of body light brown except for anterior one-fourth of head capsule, which is a slightly contrasting brownish yellow. Minor: concolorous medium brown.

Range This hitherto obscure species turns out to be one of the most widespread of all New World Pheidole  HNS  . Its records, most of which I have been able to verify, include Nicaragua, Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, French Guiana, Amazonian Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

Biology The very wide distribution of the species suggests that vafra  HNS  may be carried by human commerce. In any case, it inhabits marginal habitats. I found nests common in sandy soil at two localities along the southern coast of Tobago, where it coexists with the very widespread marginal-habitat specialist P. jelskii  HNS  . Near the Nariva Swamp of Trinidad, Stefan Cover found a colony at the border between a coconut grove and mangrove swamp, nesting under a fallen coconut leaf in sand; and a second colony at 550 m in Trinidad's Arima Valley, nesting in the hard-packed clay of a road running through a small coffee plantation.

Figure Upper: lectotype, major. BRAZIL: Blumenau, Santa Catarina. (Outer antennal scape is from near Nariva Swamp, Trinidad.) Lower: minor. TRINIDAD: near Nariva Swamp (compared with paralectotype minor). Scale bars = 1 mm.