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Species: Pheidole diabolus   Wilson, 2003 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Pheidole diabolus Wilson, 2003A: 681, figs. (s.w.) COLOMBIA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Colombia, Costa Rica
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Colombia (type locality), Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Braulio Carrillo National Park from 800-1000m, Penas Blancas at 1000m.


Natural History:

In Costa Rica the species is known from a few Winkler samples and three nest collections: (1) wet forest gap; in base of live Cephaelis plant; nest at ground level amongst cold, wet leaf litter; plant base 1.5cm dia; seed caches inside. (2) wet forest gap; in 1cm diameter dead stick in leaf litter; seed caches inside. (3) in dead branch lodged in vegetation. The types were found in a rotten tree branch on the ground, also with a cache of seeds.


The types of diabolus are from Choco, Colombia. Costa Rican specimens are a bit different: the vertex lobes of the major are shinier.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

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

Pheidole diabolusHNS new species

Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard.

Etymology L diabolusHNS, devil, evil spirit.

diagnosis Similar in various respects to the species listed in the heading above, but strongly distinguished as follows.

Major: a sharp, upcurved horn grows from the center of the clypeus; humeri are very prominent, seen from above extending beyond the rest of the pronotum below, and in dorsal-oblique view forming a large equilateral triangle; propodeal spines more than half as long as the propodeal basal face; carinulae and rugulae on the frontal lobes give way posteriorly to a tight rugoreticulum, which then yields to a loose rugoreticulum, and next to foveolae, which finally are replaced by a smooth zone on the occiput.

Minor: all of head and mesosoma and most of waist foveolate; humeri angulate; propodeal spines half as long as the propodeal basal face and curved backwards.

Measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 1.18, HL 1.36, SL 0.54, EL 0.20, PW 0.64.

Paratype minor: HW 0.52, HL 0.54, SL 0.58, EL 0.12, PW 0.52.

Color Major: body and mandibles medium reddish brown; other appendages yellow.

Minor: concolorous brownish yellow.

Range Known only from the type locality.

Biology The type colony, found on a forested mountain ridge, was nesting in a 4-cm-wide, rotten tree branch on the ground. A cache of seeds was present, as well as a male (1-4 June).

figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. COLOMBIA: Finca Los Guaduales, 10 km southwest of San Jose del Palmar, Rio Torito, Choco (Charles Kugler). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 16 times found in cloud forest, primary, near ridgetop, 11 times found in wet forest, 9 times found in mature wet forest, 2 times found in mature cloud forest, 5 times found in montane wet forest, 2 times found in mature wet forest gap, 2 times found in cloud forest, primary, along steep ridge near peak.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 29 times ex sifted leaf litter, 7 times pan trap, 1 times nest in clay bank, 1 times in dead branch lodged in vegetation, 4 times Hojarasca, 1 times night foragers, 1 times at bait, 1 times nest in base of live shrub, 1 times Nest in 1cm dia dead stick in leaf litter, 1 times bajo de M/18.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 25 times miniWinkler, 7 times Pan Trap, 2 times search, 4 times Mini Winkler, 3 times Winkler, 1 times baiting, 1 times flight intercept trap, 1 times maxiWinkler.

Elevations: collected from 500 - 1350 meters, 879 meters average

Type specimens: paratype Pheidole diabolus: jtlc000016364

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