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Mexico to northern South America, Greater Antilles. Costa Rica: widespread.
In Costa Rica, this species is common in open, disturbed habitats. In Corcovado National Park, it is restricted to the narrow strip of vegetation along the beach (collections from beach edge at San Pedrillo, Llorona, and Sirena, but none from further inland, despite extensive collecting at Sirena, Los Patos, and Los Planes). One nest was observed in a rotten coconut on the ground. In Santa Rosa National Park, a nest was observed under a stone. Near Guacimal, on the road to Monteverde, a nest was observed in a rotten fencepost in full sun. In Monteverde, the species can be an abundant house pest. Workers were collected from a sifted leaf litter sample from the canopy of an emergent Ficus in cloud forest, but these were conceivably contaminants from the house where the Winkler bags were hung. However, workers were collected recruiting to a dead cricket on a road not far from this Ficus. At Fila Cruces, near San Vito, a nest was observed under a stone along a road edge.
Two examples illustrate the synanthropic habitat preference of this species. Workers were collected as pests in the Eladio Cruz house in Penas Blancas, a remote valley east of Monteverde. This species has never been collected in the surrounding clearings or forest, despite extensive collecting. Thus it was probably brought to the house from Monteverde. A similar situation pertains at La Selva Biological Station: the species has been collected as a pest ant entering the ALAS building in the laboratory clearing, but has not been collected in the surrounding forest, in spite of intensive sampling effort.
Longino observed this species in Jamaica. One colony was observed under a bromeliad base on a horizontal dead log. Another was observed in second growth montane forest, under a stone in the trail.
Wilson (2005) observed that P. bilimeki and two other species of small Pheidole (flavens and nebulosa) frequently prey on oribatid mites in the leaf litter.
Wilson (2003) has a broader concept of bilimeki that includes the species anastasii. See discussion under anastasii. We used to call this species annectens Wheeler 1905, now a synonym of bilimeki.
Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass
Wilson, E. O. 2005. Oribatid mite predation by small ants of the genus Pheidole. Insectes Sociaux 52:263-265.
|Pheidole bilimeki||Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 378-379, (download)||378-379||20017|
|Pheidole bilimeki||Longino, J. T. & Cox, D. J., 2009, Pheidole bilimeki reconsidered (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1985, pp. 34-42: 34-41, (download)||34-41||22416|
|Pheidole bilimeki||Longino, J. T., 2009, Additions to the taxonomy of New World Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 2181, pp. 1-90: 16, (download)||16||22820|
Found most commonly in these habitats: 43 times found in cloud forest, 23 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 22 times found in cloud forest clearing, 11 times found in tropical moist forest, 10 times found in tropical dry forest, 6 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 12 times found in montane wet forest, 7 times found in grassy succession in old mudslide, 9 times found in tropical rainforest, 3 times found in rainforest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 99 times at bait, 62 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times under branch in pasture, 10 times at bait on ground, 6 times under stone, 7 times at cookie bait, 12 times beating vegetation, 8 times leaf litter, 1 times file on ground, 6 times ex sifted litter, 3 times nest under stone, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 62 times search, 103 times baiting, 49 times MiniWinkler, 16 times bait, 18 times Winkler, 14 times Beating, 10 times Malaise, 9 times MaxiWinkler, 2 times Berlese, 1 times Davis sifter, 2 times direct collection, ...
Elevations: collected from 5 - 2190 meters, 911 meters average
Type specimens: lectotype Pheidole annectens: jtlc000015801; Lectotype Pheidole bilimeki: casent0601281; paralectotype Pheidole annectens: jtlc000015788, jtlc000015789; Paralectotype Pheidole bilimeki: casent0601282; paratype Pheidole rectiluma: jtlc000016507; syntype of Pheidole floridana antoliensis: casent0917770, casent0917771; syntype of Pheidole floridana deplanata: castype00636, castype00637; syntype of Pheidole anastasii venezuelana: casent0908251; syntype of Pheidole floridana antoniensis: casent0908278, casent0908279; syntype Pheidle barbouri: jtlc000015798, jtlc000015799; syntype Pheidole antoniensis: jtlc000015958; Syntype Pheidole ares: jtlc000014090, jtlc000014091, jtlc000014092; syntype Pheidole ares: jtlc000015857; Syntype Pheidole cellarum: jtlc000014087, jtlc000014088, jtlc000014089; syntype Pheidole insulana: jtlc000015800, jtlc000015802; syntype Pheidole johnsoni: jtlc000015854, jtlc000015855, jtlc000015856