Pheidole flavens Roger

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 419-420

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Pheidole flavens Roger


Pheidole flavens Roger   HNS  

Pheidole flavens Roger   HNS   1863a: 166. Syn.: Pheidole exigua var. tuberculata Mayr   HNS   1887: 585, changed to flavens subsp. tuberculata Emery   HNS   1894d: 157, n. syn.; Pheidole flavens var. vincentensis   HNS   Forel 1893J: 411, n. syn.; Pheidole flavens r. gracilior   HNS   Forel 1901m: 78, n. syn.; Pheidole flavens r. navigans   HNS   Forel 1901m: 79, n. syn.; Pheidole flavens var. haytiana   HNS   Forel 1907h: 6, n. syn.; Pheidole flavens st. spei   HNS   Santschi 1930e: 77, n. syn.; Pheidole floridana subsp. aechmeae Wheeler   HNS   1934g: 166, n. syn.; Pheidole greggi   HNS   Naves 1985: 62, n. syn.

Types or other authenticated material not seen: Pheidole flavens var. thomensis Emery   HNS   1894d: 156 (St. Thomas, West Indies); Pheidole flavens var. farquharensis   HNS   Forel 1907g: 91 (Madagascar).

Unavailable names (ineligible quadrinomials) include Pheidole flavens tuberculata var. jheringi Emery   HNS   1894d: 157 (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil); Pheidole flavens asperithorax var. semipolita Emery   HNS   1896g: 78 (Para, Brazil); Pheidole flavens sculptior var. grenadensis   HNS   Forel 1897b: 300 (Grenada, West Indies); Pheidole flavens asperithorax var. nugax   HNS   Forel 1908h: 380 (Brazil); Pheidole flavens tuberculata var. putata   HNS   Forel 1912g: 235 (Sao Paulo, Brazil); Pheidole flavens tuberculata var. platensis   HNS   Forel 1914d: 273 (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Raised to species level in this monograph: infraspecific forms asperithorax   HNS   , breviscapa   HNS   , exigua   HNS   , rudigenis   HNS   , sculptior   HNS   .

Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard. (The neotype was selected for this monograph after searches in collections containing Roger material failed to turn up the original types. The neotype, from the same country as the Roger type, fits the general concept offlavens held by systematists.) Etymology L flavens   HNS   , yellow.

Diagnosis An extremely abundant, widespread species belonging to a complex of small, yellow, closely similar species that also includes asperithorax   HNS   , breviscapa   HNS   , cardiella   HNS   , chloe   HNS   , exigua   HNS   , goeldii   HNS   , kuna   HNS   , mittermeieri   HNS   , moerens   HNS   , nitidicollis   HNS   , nuculiceps   HNS   , pholeops   HNS   , striaticeps   HNS   , and trinitatis   HNS   . P. flavens   HNS   differs from them in the following combination of traits.

Major: a shallow, relatively indistinct antennal scrobe present, its surface foveolate and opaque; weak rugoreticula often present mesad to'fhe eyes and at the posterior end of the carinulae on the lateral dorsal surface of the head, which are variable in extent and sometimes absent; carinulae along the midline of the dorsum of the head reaching the occipital border but occipital lobes seen in full-face view smooth and shiny; humeri usually with a small patch of rugoreticulum; lateral margins of pronotal dorsum also lined with short transverse carinulae; propodeal spine well-developed; postpetiolar node from above roughly trapezoidal; most of dorsal surface of head, all of mesosoma, and sides of waist foveolate and opaque.

Minor: carinulae limited to space mesad to antennal fossa and occasionally also to the frontal lobes and frontal triangle; all of head and mesosoma and sides of waist foveolate and opaque; dorsum of waist and all of gaster smooth and shiny; occiput broad and shallowly concave.

P. flavens   HNS   is easily confused with P. exigua   HNS   and P. moerens   HNS   , also widespread and abundant species; see the differences under Diagnosis of those species in particular.

measurements (mm) Neotype major: HW 0.72, HL 0.74, SL 0.42, EL 0.08, PW 0.32. Paraneotype minor: HW 0.34, HL 0.42, SL 0.34, EL 0.06, PW 0.24. color Major and minor: medium to dark yellow.

range Pheidole flavens   HNS   rivals P. jelskii   HNS   as the most widespread and abundant species of the genus in the New World. Or, put more cautiously, this species or (possibly) this tightly knit group of sibling species I have considered to be the single species flavens   HNS   has this distinction. It ranges from Florida, where it likely was introduced accidentally by commerce, thence throughout the West Indies, Central America, and most of tropical and subtropical South America as far south as Santa Catarina in Brazil. P. flavens   HNS   colonies are easily transported by human agency, especially as hitchhikers in nursery stock, as witness the synonymous " var. gracilior''   HNS   and " var. navigans   HNS   " described by Auguste Forel from intercepted live ants in the German quarantine. I collected specimens from a thriving colony in a potted plant from Florida that had been transported to the office of the president of the World Wildlife Fund-U.S. in Washington, D.c. (at first I considered it a new sibling species but have since decided to place it within the broad variation offlavens). Even Forel's " variety farquharensis   HNS   " from Madagascar, whose types I have not been able to locate, is almost certainly, if it is truly flavens   HNS   , to have the same provenance.

biology The wide range and abundance of Pheidole flavens   HNS   is due at least in part to its ability to use different microhabitats as nesting sites. Judging from the extensive data of H. H. Smith (in Forel 1893j) on St. Vincent and J. T. Longino (1997) in Costa Rica, as well as my own collecting records, flavens   HNS   prefers rotting pieces of wood, but also utilizes spaces beneath the bark of trees, dead knots on tree trunks, sod on rocks, the soil beneath stones, and epiphyte masses. On St. Vincent it occurred (in the early 1890s at least) in forests and thickets from sea level to 900 m, and in Costa Rica it is found today in both wet and dry forests. The nest galleries are diffuse and irregular, the queens hard to find, and mature colonies large, containing up to thousands of workers. Workers collect small arthropods: a captive colony from Trinidad I maintained for over a year eagerly harvested live oribatid mites, and the workers had no difficulty abrading through their hard, smooth exoskeletons. Workers also recruit to sugar baits.

Figure Upper: neotype, major. Lower: paraneotype, minor. CUBA: Barrajagua, Las Villas (E. O. Wilson). Scale bars = 1 mm.