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Species: Pheidole pugnax   Dalla Torre, 1892 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Pheidole radoszkowskii subsp. pugnax Dalla Torre, 1892 PDF: 91. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Replacement name for Pheidole militaris Emery, 1890c PDF: 49.
[Junior primary homonym of Pheidole militaris Smith, 1860a PDF: 74.].
Raised to species: Wilson, 2003A: 219.


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama. Costa Rica: Pacific lowlands and slopes to 1500m.


Natural History:

This is one of the most common ants in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica. It is abundant in open areas, disturbed habitats, and second growth vegetation. Nests are in the soil, and workers forage over the surface and into low vegetation.


The type locality of Pheidole pugnax is Alajuela, Costa Rica. Pheidole pugnax is geographically variable within Costa Rica. A syntype of pugnax at the MCZ most closely matches material we have examined from the Monteverde area.

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, pp. -1--1

Pheidole pugnax Dalla TorreHNS, new status

Pheidole radoszkowskii subsp. pugnax Dalla TorreHNS 1892: 91. Replacement name forP. militaris EmeryHNS 1890c: 49, ajunior primary homonym ofP. militaris F. SmithHNS 1860a: 74.

Types Mus. Civ. Hist. Nat. Genova; Nat. Mus. Nat. Hist. U. S.

Etymology L pugnaxHNS, combative.

Diagnosis A member of the diligensHNS group very similar to the more widespread radoszkowskiiHNS, as well as diligensHNS, and distinguished as follows.

Major: promesonotal dorsum hairy; space between eye and antennal fossa rugoreticulate; carinulae of frontal lobes extend posteriorly beyond eye level only about a single Eye Length; all of dorsal surface of head except frontal triangle and all of mesosoma and waist foveolate and opaque; three-fourths to all of central strip of first gastral tergite and the posterior central strip of second shagreened; pronotum in dorsal-oblique view subangulate, not bilobous.

Minor: all of head and body foveolate and opaque; all of central strip of first gastral tergite and posterior central strip of second gastral tergite shagreened.

Measurements (mm) Syntype major: HW 1.42 HL 1.42, SL 0.84, EL 0.20, PW 0.66. Minor (Quetzaltepeque, El Salvador): HW 0.54, HL 0.60, SL 0.76, EL 0.12, PW 0.34. Color Major and minor: varies among series from dark yellow to medium reddish brown.

Range I have confirmed series from El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama. J. T. Longino (1997) reports it from Honduras and the Pacific lowlands and slopes of Costa Rica to 1500 m.

Biology According to Longino (1997), pugnaxHNS is one of the most common ants of the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica, where it thrives in disturbed habitats, second-growth forest vegetation, and open terrain generally. Nests are usually excavated in the soil, and, in one instance observed, beneath the loose bark of an understory tree. Workers forage over the ground and onto low vegetation.

Figure Upper: major. Lower: minor. EL SALVADOR: 2-A km south of Quetzaltepeque (William L. Brown), compared with syntypes. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 49 times found in tropical rainforest, 43 times found in 2º tropical rainforest, 11 times found in 2nd growth dry forest, 17 times found in old cacao plantation, 4 times found in wet forest, 7 times found in 2nd growth forest, 9 times found in mature wet forest, 5 times found in dry forest, 5 times found in tropical dry forest, 7 times found in garden, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 95 times ex sifted leaf litter, 74 times at bait, 7 times at bait on ground, 2 times nest in soil, 1 times moist forest edge; at bait on ground, 2 times At tuna bait., 2 times nest under stone, 1 times nest, 3 times foragers, 2 times Wet forest. Ex sifted leaf litter., 1 times Pasture at edge of second growth forest. Nest entrance in bare soil; workers rec, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 54 times baiting, 63 times miniWinkler, 27 times search, 23 times bait, 20 times Winkler, 14 times MaxiWinkler, 3 times hand collected, 1 times Baiting on ground, 2 times Malaise, 1 times beating, 1 times at bait|honeydew, ...

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1520 meters, 288 meters average

Type specimens: syntype of Pheidole pugnax: casent0908115, casent0908116

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