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Species: Pheidole fossimandibula   Longino, 2009 

Classification:
Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Pheidole fossimandibula Longino, 2009 PDF: 33, fig. 7 (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Distribution:

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

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica.

Biology:

This species inhabits mature wet forest from sea level to 800m elevation. Minor workers are relatively common and are frequently collected in Winkler samples, at baits, and in Malaise traps.

Two nests were excavated in close proximity. The nests were located by following minor workers from baits to nest entrances. The nest entrance was a simple hole in the ground, with no superstructure. One excavation reached 10-15cm depth, uncovering two or three chambers with brood, minor workers, and major workers. The second excavation was 12cm deep, uncovering two chambers, one shallower and one at 12cm, also with brood, minors, and majors. No reproductives were found, and it is possible that the nests continued deeper than the zone of excavation. No seeds were found in the uncovered chambers.

The major workers have never been observed leaving the nest and their function in the colony is unknown. Prior to excavating one of the above nests a live Aphaenogaster worker was pinned to the ground at the nest entrance. Some minor workers immediately attacked and there was increased activity around the entrance, but after 5 minutes no majors had recruited, and upon excavation I found majors only in the deepest chambers.

Comments:

Pheidole bigote, P. fossimandibula , and P. vestita form a trio of species that are closely similar in most characters but show remarkable divergence and diversification in the anterior head of the major worker. The minor workers of the three species are very similar and hard to differentiate. For many years the minor workers of P. fossimandibula were misidentified as P. vestita, until nests with major workers of P. fossimandibula were discovered. The major workers of the three species are very similar in shape, pilosity, and sculpture of the metasoma, mesosoma, and posterior head, in the form of the antennal scrobes and hypostomal teeth. Pheidole vestita is the least derived of the group, with smooth convex mandibles and typical clypeus and face. The other two each have their own unique derived features. Pheidole fossimandibula has a deep concavity on the dorsal surface of the mandible, a character so far unprecedented in the genus. Pheidole bigote has the dorsal surface of the mandible somewhat flattened, not as convex as P. vestita, but not at all concave, and thus intermediate between P. vestita and P. fossimandibula. Pheidole bigote has the clypeal pompons and the dish-like face excavation, characters also unprecedented in the genus. Pheidole fossimandibula has clypeal gibbosities and a brush of yellow setae on the anterior face and clypeus, perhaps an intermediate condition from which the pompons of P. bigote evolved. The face excavation of P. bigote shows no trace of similar development in P. vestita or P. fossimandibula.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Longino, J. T., 2009, Additions to the taxonomy of New World Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 2181, pp. 1-90

Pheidole fossimandibulaHNS new species

Figure 7

Holotype major worker. Costa Rica, Alajuela: Casa Eladio, Rio Penas Blancas, 10.31667°N 84.71667°W, ±2000m, 800m, 3 Mar 2008 (J. Longino#6156) [INBC, unique specimen identifier CASENT0608928].

Paratypes: major and minor workers. Same data as holotype [BMNH, CAS, EAPZ, ECOSCE, FMNH, INBC, JTLC, LACM, MCZ, MHNG, MIZA, MZSP, MEL, UCD, ICN, USNM].

Geographic Range

Costa Rica.

Diagnosis

With the morphometric profile and general habitus of P. bigoteHNS and P. vestitaHNS. Minor worker: transverse carina on anterior pronotum small and inconspicuous versus developed as a prominent flange visible in side view ( bigoteHNS); mandible with basal portion roughened versus completely smooth and shining ( vestitaHNS); katepisternum and side of propodeum faintly foveolate and lacking rugulae versus with irregular rugulae overlaying foveolate sculpture ( bigoteHNS) or with irregular rugulae ( vestitaHNS). Major worker: mandible with a broad concavity covering basal half of dorsal surface versus dorsal surface flat to weakly convex ( bigoteHNS, vestitaHNS).

Description of minor worker

Measurements (paratype): HL 0.78, HW 0.70, HLA 0.30, SL 0.69, EL 0.15, ML 0.93, PSL 0.03, PMG 0.00, SPL 0.03, PTW 0.12, PPW 0.16, CI 90, SI 99, PSLI 4, PMGI 0, SPLI 4, PPI 135.

Measurements (n=10): HL 0.63-0.78, HW 0.60-0.70, SL 0.62-0.69, CI 90-94, SI 99-105.

Mandible with faint rugulose-foveolate sculpture on base of dorsal surface, grading to smooth and shiny at masticatory margin; clypeus smooth and shining; face with about four widely-spaced concentric rugae around antennal insertion, rest of face smooth and shining; posterior margin of vertex somewhat flattened; occipital carina narrow, visible in full face view; scape faintly foveolate, with abundant erect setae longer than maximum width of scape; promesonotum smoothly arched with no trace of promesonotal groove; propodeal spines very short, upturned; promesonotum and anepisternum smooth and shining; katepisternum and lateral and dorsal faces of propodeum generally shining with faint foveolation; abundant setae on promesonotal dorsum; dorsal (outer) margin of hind tibia with abundant suberect setae longer than maximum width of tibia; first gastral tergum smooth and shining; gastral dorsum with moderately abundant, long erect setae; color dark red brown.

Description of major worker

Measurements (holotype): HL 2.24, HW 1.73, HLA 0.58, SL 0.74, EL 0.22, ML 1.68, PSL 0.11, PMG 0.00, SPL 0.07, PTW 0.33, PPW 0.52, IHT 0.36, OHT 0.62, CI 77, SI 43, PSLI 5, PMGI 0, SPLI 3, PPI 155, HTI 58.

Mandible smooth and shining, with broad concavity covering basal half of dorsal surface, basal margin forming a narrow ridge covered with dense long decumbent yellow setae; clypeus with two median gibbosities, gibbosities and lateral clypeus covered with dense piligerous puncta and long orange-yellow setae that sweep forward and medially, midline of clypeus concave, smooth and shining; frontal carinae forming elevated triangular lamina anteriorly, slanting obliquely outward posteriorly, forming dorsal margins of prominent antennal scrobes, ventral margin of scrobe formed by strong carina, scrobe surface smooth and shining, space between scrobe, compound eye, and clypeus with coarse, widely-spaced carinae; area between frontal carinae smooth and shining, grading to widely-spaced arcuate to reticulate rugae on vertex lobes; face covered with dense erect yellow setae, becoming denser and longer on anterior face and clypeus, in lateral view forming a conspicuous yellow brush anteriorly; head with abundant erect setae projecting from sides of head in face view; scape microsculptured and dull, not shining, somewhat flattened at base but not broadened, narrower than width at apex, with abundant erect setae longer than maximum width of scape; hypostomal margin straight; median tooth small; inner hypostomal teeth pointed, stout, about one half distance from midline to outer hypostomal teeth; promesonotal groove absent; propodeal spines present; mesosoma largely smooth and shining, with sparse small carinulae; dorsal (outer) margin of hind tibia with abundant suberect setae longer than maximum width of tibia; pilosity abundant on mesosomal dorsum; postpetiole in dorsal view strongly lenticular, much broader than long; first gastral tergite with small patch of longitudinal etched microsculpture near postpetiolar insertion, smooth and shining elsewhere, with abundant long erect yellowish setae; color dark red brown.

Biology

This species inhabits mature wet forest from sea level to 800m elevation. Minor workers are relatively common and are frequently collected in Winkler samples, at baits, and in Malaise traps.

Two nests were excavated in close proximity. The nests were located by following minor workers from baits to nest entrances. The nest entrance was a simple hole in the ground, with no superstructure. One excavation reached 10-15cm depth, uncovering two or three chambers with brood, minor workers, and major workers. The second excavation was 12cm deep, uncovering two chambers, one shallower and one at 12cm, also with brood, minors, and majors. No reproductives were found, and it is possible that the nests continued deeper than the zone of excavation. No seeds were found in the uncovered chambers.

The major workers have never been observed leaving the nest and their function in the colony is unknown. Prior to excavating one of the above nests a live AphaenogasterHNS worker was pinned to the ground at the nest entrance. Some minor workers immediately attacked and there was increased activity around the entrance, but after 5 minutes no majors had recruited, and upon excavation I found majors only in the deepest chambers.

Etymology

The name is in reference to the depression on the dorsal surface of the mandible of the major worker.

Comments

See under P. bigoteHNS.

Additional material examined

COSTA RICA: Heredia, La Selva Biological Station, 10°25'N, 84° 01W, 50m (multiple collectors and collections); 16km SSW Pto. Viejo, 10°19'03"N, 84°02'56"W, 500m (multiple collectors and collections); Cantarrana, 11km ESE La Virgen, 10°20'43"N, 84°03'28"W, 300m (multiple collectors and collections).

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 62 times found in mature wet forest, 5 times found in wet forest, 21 times found in montane wet forest, 1 times found in LEP 3200, 1 times found in CC 1400, 1 times found in wet forest stream edge, 1 times found in CC 3100, 1 times found in CCL, 1 times found in Parc. sucesionales, 1 times found in CCL 100, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 60 times ex sifted leaf litter, 4 times nest in soil, 14 times Hojarasca, 8 times Primary forest, 4 times Primary, 1 times pan trap, 2 times bajo de M/06, 1 times Muestras tomada en el transecto de Mini Winkler #2, 1 times Del cruce de Cascante hacia el Ceibo, 1 times Cerca del Refugio Cascante, 1 times Cascante refuge, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 59 times miniWinkler, 3 times search, 12 times Lure/Bait, 10 times Mini Winkler, 7 times Berlese, 5 times Winkler, 5 times Malaise, 1 times Pan Trap, 3 times Pitfall, 3 times flight intercept trap, 1 times pan traps, ...

Elevations: collected from 50 - 1000 meters, 378 meters average

Type specimens: Holotype Pheidole fossimandibula: casent0608928; Paratype: fmnhins0000050023, fmnhins0000050024; Paratype Pheidole fossimandibula: casent0608926, casent0608927, casent0608929, casent0608930, casent0608931, casent0608932, casent0608933, casent0608934, casent0608935, casent0608936, casent0608937, casent0608938, casent0608939, casent0608940, casent0608941, casent0608942, casent0608943, casent0608944, casent0608945, casent0608946, casent0608947, casent0608948, casent0608949, casent0608950, casent0608951, casent0608952, jtlc000007165, jtlc000007166



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