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Species: Pheidole vestita   Wilson, 2003 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Pheidole vestita Wilson, 2003A: 633, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL


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

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica: Atlantic lowlands (La Selva).


Natural History:

Inhabits lowland rainforest; recruits to baits on forest floor.


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

Pheidole vestitaHNS new species

Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard.

Etymology L vestitaHNS, clothed, wearing garments, referring to the unusually dense pilosity of the major.

Diagnosis Distinguished from other members of the scrobiferaHNS group by the following suite of character states.

Major: entire body covered by long, very dense, suberect to erect hairs; promesonotum smoothly semicircular in dorsal-oblique view; posterior two-thirds of dorsal head surface rugoreticulate; frontal lobes and all of promesonotum entirely smooth and shiny.

Minor: occiput narrowed, with nuchal collar; all of head smooth and shiny except for circular carinulae around antennal fossae; all of promesonotal border and all of waist smooth and shiny; propodeal spines short and erect.

Measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 1.86, HL 2.22, SL 0.88, EL 0.22, PW 0.96.

Paratype minor: HW 0.60, HL 0.64, SL 0.70, EL 0.14, PW 0.38.

Color Major: posterior three-fourths of head capsule dark reddish brown, anterior one-fourth medium reddish brown; mesosoma and waist dark to medium reddish brown; gaster plain dark reddish brown; appendages light reddish brown.

Minor: posterior four-fifths of head capsule dark brown, anterior one-fifth light brown; mesosoma and waist light brown; gaster dark brown; appendages yellowish brown.

range Known only from the type locality.

Biology Nests in clayey soil of mature forest trail (E. O. Wilson); observed foraging at night on grassy section of trail (Longino 1997). The type colony was from a soil nest in the middle of a forest trail, surrounded by excavated earth.

Figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. COSTA RICA: La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Heredia (E. O. Wilson). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in lowland wet forest, 1 times found in Mature lowland rainforest, 2 times found in mature wet forest, 1 times found in Puesto4,243g,10m., 1 times found in CCL 550, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, some big trees, primary forest, 1 times found in CCL 250, 1 times found in lowland rainforest.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times nest in chambers in clay bank, 2 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times Nest in clay soil along SSO trail, 1 times Primary forest, 1 times at bait, 1 times sifted litter, 1 times Primary, strays on sparse grassy center of times night collecting near blacklight #3. #3407-s.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 3 times search, 8 times baiting, 2 times Lure/Bait, 2 times miniWinkler, 1 times Unknown, 1 times Berlese, 1 times Winkler.

Elevations: collected from 50 - 500 meters, 137 meters average

Type specimens:

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