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Species: Pheidole absurda   Forel, 1886 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2015)

Pheidole absurda Forel, 1886b PDF: xlvii (s.) GUATEMALA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Emery, 1890c: 48 (w.).
Senior synonym of Pheidole ridicula: Wilson, 2003A: 646.
See also: Emery, 1894l PDF: 54.


South Texas to Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Central Valley and Monteverde area.


Pheidole absurda excavates deep nests in soil. Colonies are granivorous and store seeds in special chambers. Creighton (1966) studied the habits of this species (as P. ridicula) in south Texas. It seems to prefer open areas and seasonal habitats; it is not a lowland rainforest ant. It may follow a pattern of being a widespread lowland ant in the northern part of the range, becoming a mid-elevation species at the southern limit of the range.


Creighton, W. S. 1966. The habits of Pheidole ridicula Wheeler with remarks on habit patterns in the genus Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Cambridge) 73:1-7.

Taxon Page Author History

On 2013-11-06 09:13:16 jack longino modified Biology
On 2013-11-06 09:08:49 jack longino modified Distribution

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Wilson, E. O.:
Pheidole absurda Forel 1886b: xlvii. Syn.: Pheidole ridicula Wheeler 1916i: 29, n. syn.
Etymology L absurda , foolish, silly, referring to the very large, elongate head of the major.
Diagnosis A large member of the tristis group distinguished by the disproportionately large, elongate head of the major. The major is also characterized by a nearly complete lack of sculpturing on the head and body other than carinulae found on the dorsal surface of the head from the level of the eyes forward; very low mesosomal convexity; propodeal spines small and erect. Minor: occiput broad, lacking nuchal collar; body almost completely smooth, lacking any sculpturing except for carinulae on the dorsal head surface at the level of the eye and anterior to it.
Measurements (mm) Lectotype major: HW 1.80, HL 2.38, SL 0.82, EL 0.24, PW 0.84. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.64, HL 0.68, SL 0.64, EL 0.14, PW 0.42.
Color Major: head reddish yellow, mandibles medium reddish brown, rest of body and appendages yellowish brown. Minor: body light brown, appendages brownish yellow.
Range The Brownsville area of extreme southern Texas south to Costa Rica. I have seen material from the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala. Kempf (1972b) reports absurda from the "Guianas," but this needs verification.
Biology Near Campeche I found a nest in moist clay of a thorn forest. Soil nests are also reported by Longino (1997) in Costa Rica and by Creighton (1966b) in Texas. According to Creighton, the nest entrance is an inconspicuous hole 2-5 mm in diameter, leading to a diffuse system of galleries and chambers that descend as much as a meter into the ground. A mature colony contains at least 75 majors and 300 minors. The colonies harvest seeds (Amaranthus palmeri at Creightoni study site) and store them in granary chambers. The minors strip the ovary shards away from the seeds, and the majors crack them open. The majors also serve as very effective guards, using their mandibles like wire clippers to chop off appendages of arthropod intruders. In observation nests they proved more than a match for other Pheidole and the native fire ant Solenopsis geminata .
Figure Upper: major. The body is drawn from a specimen from 10 km east of Campeche, Mexico (E. O. Wilson), compared with the lectotype major in Mus. Nat. Hist. Geneve; the head is drawn from the lectotype major. Lower: paralectotype, minor. GUATEMALA: Retalhuleu. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Forel, A., 1908:
[[ soldier ]] [[ worker ]]. San Jose de Costa Rica, 1160 metres, dans la terre (Biolley).

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 10 times found in tropical moist forest, 1 times found in moist forest, 1 times found in pasture, 1 times found in primary rainforest, 1 times found in secondary vegetation, 1 times found in urban courtyard, 1 times found in coffee farm

Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 10 times Baiting, 5 times Search, 1 times pitfall

Elevations: collected from 130 - 1380 meters, 540 meters average

Type specimens: Lectotype of Pheidole absurda: casent0908156; paralectotype of Pheidole absurda: casent0908157

(-1 examples)

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