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Holotype major worker. Costa Rica, Heredia: 16km SSE La Virgen, 10.26667°N 84.08333°W, ±2000m, 1100m, 20 Feb 2001 (ALAS#11/B/BH/047) [INBC, unique specimen identifier INB0003214434].
Paratypes: major and minor workers. Same data as holotype; same locality as holotype but 14 Mar 2001 (ALAS#11/WF/02/19), 19 Mar 2001 (ALAS#11/WF/03/19); Costa Rica, Heredia: 16km SSW Pto. Viejo, 10.31750°N 84.04889°W, ±500m, 500m, 20 Apr 2007 (Gilberth H and Felix C.#AMI-3-W-135-06) [FMNH, INBC, JTLC, MCZ, USNM].
With the morphometric profile and general habitus of P. debilisHNS. Minor worker: face and mesosoma with extensive smooth areas versus completely foveolate ( debilisHNS). Major worker: posterior fourth of face smooth and shining versus vertex lobes with faint reticulate rugose-foveolate sculpture extending almost to posterior border ( debilisHNS).
Description of minor worker
Measurements (paratype): HL 0.51, HW 0.46, HLA 0.17, SL 0.44, EL 0.08, ML 0.57, PSL 0.07, PMG 0.00, SPL 0.03, PTW 0.08, PPW 0.13, CI 91, SI 95, PSLI 14, PMGI 0, SPLI 6, PPI 159.
Measurements (n=10): HL 0.45-0.54, HW 0.41-0.49, SL 0.39-0.47, CI 90-93, SI 93-98.
Mandible and clypeus smooth and shining; face sculpture highly variable, largely smooth and shining with variable development of weak rugulae and foveolae; posterior margin of vertex flattened; occipital carina narrow, not visible in full face view; scape with abundant subdecumbent setae, none of which are longer than maximum width of scape; promesonotal groove very shallow, indistinct; propodeal spines present; mesosoma sculpture similar to face in variability, generally shiny, pronotum entirely smooth and shiny or with faint rugulae and foveolae, katepisternum and lateral and dorsal faces of propodeum faintly foveolate; abundant setae on promesonotal dorsum; dorsal (outer) margin of hind tibia with abundant subdecumbent pilosity, all shorter than maximum width of tibia, no long erect setae; first gastral tergum smooth and shining; gastral dorsum with abundant erect setae; color orange.
Description of major worker
Measurements (holotype): HL 1.05, HW 0.95, HLA 0.29, SL 0.52, EL 0.12, ML 0.75, PSL 0.09, PMG 0.01, SPL 0.06, PTW 0.15, PPW 0.34, IHT 0.17, OHT 0.41, CI 91, SI 55, PSLI 9, PMGI 1, SPLI 6, PPI 226, HTI 40.
Measurements (n=2): HL 1.03-1.05, HW 0.95-0.97, SL 0.48-0.52, CI 91-94, SI 50-55.
Mandibles smooth and shiny; clypeus smooth and shallowly concave, with shallow anterior notch; face with widlely-spaced longitudinal rugulae on cheeks and between frontal carinae, fading to smooth and shiny on posterior third of face; head with abundant suberect setae projecting from sides of head in face view; scape smooth and shining, terete at base, with subdecumbent pubescence and scattered longer suberect setae; hypostomal margin flat; median tooth small; inner hypostomal teeth pointed, stout, closer to midline than to outer hypostomal teeth; promesonotal groove impressed; propodeal spines present; pronotum largely smooth and shining, with a few transverse carinulae dorsally; katepisternum and propodeum generally shiny, with a few irregular rugulae and patches of faint foveolae; dorsal (outer) margin of hind tibia with short decumbent pilosity, no long erect hairs; pilosity abundant on mesosomal dorsum; postpetiole in dorsal view strongly transverse, with prominent lateral conules; first gastral tergite smooth and shining, with abundant flexuous erect setae; color orange brown.
FIGURE 22. Pheidole sparsisculptaHNS. Major worker: A, face view; B, lateral view; C, dorsal view; D, hypostomal margin. Minor worker: E, face view; F, lateral view; G, dorsal view; H, hind tibia. A-D, Holotype major worker; E-H, Paratype minor worker. Scale bar 0.5mm for E, F, G, 1mm for others.
This species occurs in mature wet forest, from 50-1100m elevation. It is only known from the Barva Transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica. Minor workers are moderately abundant in Winkler and Berlese samples of leaf litter from the forest floor, and there are occasional major workers associated with the minors.
Sequence data from the "dna barcode" region of mitochondrial gene CO1 place this species very close to or even within P. debilisHNS. Thus this is a situation worth further investigation, where there appear to be two morphological clusters in sympatry, yet sequence data suggest conspecificity.
Additional material examined
COSTA RICA: Heredia, 7km SW Pto. Viejo, 10°24'N, 84°02'W, 160m (multiple collectors and collections); Cantarrana, 11km ESE La Virgen, 10°20'43"N, 84°03'28"W, 300m (multiple collectors and collections).
Found most commonly in these habitats: 13 times found in mature wet forest, 1 times found in mature moist forest, 4 times found in montane wet forest, 2 times found in cloud forest, 1 times found in montane moist forest, 1 times found in Wet forest.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 17 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times at bait at night, 3 times Hojarasca, 1 times a lo largo camino M/06 y M/10., 1 times transect.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 13 times miniWinkler, 1 times bait, 3 times maxiWinkler, 3 times Mini Winkler, 1 times Berlese, 1 times Winkler.
Elevations: collected from 160 - 1335 meters, 589 meters average
Type specimens: Holotype Pheidole sparsisculpta: inb0003214434; Paratype: fmnhins0000050044; Paratype Pheidole sparsisculpta: inb0003212542, inb0003214413, inb0003214436, jtlc000014132, jtlc000014133, jtlc000014134, jtlc000015420, jtlc000015421