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Species: Pheidole excubitor   Wilson, 2003 

Classification:
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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2017)

Pheidole excubitor Wilson, 2003A: 687, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Distribution:


Neotropical Region: Atlántida, Chiapas, Costa Rica, Heredia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur

Distribution Notes:

Mexico (Chiapas) to Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Atlantic lowlands.

Biology:

Occurs in lowland rainforest; arboreal; nests beneath epiphytes.

Comments:

There is a complex of Pheidole species showing a geographic mosaic of differentiated forms. Members of this complex include excubitor Wilson 2003, exarata Emery 1896, and stulta Forel 1886. In Costa Rica, Pheidole excubitor is a lowland version of the closely related upland species, P. exarata.

Wilson (2003) synonymized two forms, championi Forel 1899 and championi sima Forel 1912, under stulta. The type locality of stulta is Bahia, Brazil. Pheidole championi was described from Panama, Volcan de Chiriqui. Pheidole championi var. sima was described from Costa Rica, "Canas Gudas" [probably Puntarenas Province, Canas Gordas, a site very near Volcan Chiriqui].

Longino examined syntypes of sima in 2008 and made these notes:

Very different from excubitor and exarata. Pheidole sima (=stulta) major: scapes relatively short (SI 44); hypostomal teeth short, blunt, and inconspicuous; clypeus completely smooth, without carinulae; face almost completely smooth, longitudinal and concentric striae restricted to area of antennal fossa, mostly anterior to eye; hind tibia with sparse, moderately long decumbent pubescence and sparse short erect setae; first gastral tergite smooth and shining. Pheidole excubitor major: scapes relatively long (SI 51); hypostomal teeth short but sharp, distinctly tooth-like and conspicuous; clypeus with even covering of longitudinal carinulae; anterior two thirds of face with dense longitudinal carinulae overlaying foveolate sculpture, posterior one third smooth and shining; hind tibia with sparse, short, and fully appressed pubescence and sparse short erect setae; first gastral tergite smooth and shining. Pheidole exarata major: scapes relatively long (SI 49); hypostomal teeth short but sharp, distinctly tooth-like and conspicuous; clypeus with a pronounced median carina flanked by longitudinal carinulae; anterior two thirds of face with dense longitudinal carinulae overlaying foveolate sculpture, posterior one third smooth and shining; hind tibia with sparse, moderately long decumbent pubescence and abundant short erect setae; first gastral tergite with variable extent shagreened anteriorly. Pheidole sima (=stulta) minor: face largely smooth and shining; lateral pronotum smooth and shining; hind tibia with sparse decumbent pubescence and a few short erect setae. Pheidole excubitor minor: face largely smooth and shining; lateral pronotum foveolate (faint medially); hind tibia with sparse, short, fully appressed pubescence and no erect setae. Pheidole exarata minor: face foveolate; lateral pronotum foveolate (faint medially); hind tibia with sparse decumbent pubescence and many short erect setae.

Notes:

See Comments under exarata.

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 excubitorHNS new species

Types INBio.

Etymology L excubitorHNS, guard, sentinel.

Diagnosis A large, striking, bicolored member of the tristisHNS group, with both major and minor possessing short, sparse, erect pilosity and a prominent humerus that rises far above the relatively flat promesonotum in dorsal-oblique view. Mesonotal convexity greatly reduced in major and absent in minor. In both castes, postpetiolar node seen from above bell-shaped, and prominent rounded postpetiolar process present.

Similar to alpinensisHNS, exarataHNS, germainiHNS, grandinodusHNS, grantaeHNS, obrimaHNS, rogeriHNS, severiniHNS, stultaHNS, tristisHNS, and zosterHNS, differing in many details of body form, sculpturing, and pilosity as illustrated, and in color. Measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 1.56, HL 1.74, SL 0.84, EL 0.20, PW 0.80. Paratype minor: HW 0.70, HL 0.74, SL 0.76, EL 0.16, PW 0.46.

Color Major: waist and gaster blackish brown, contrasting with the yellowish red of the remainder of the body; appendages a darker shade of reddish yellow.

Minor: gaster medium brown, contrasting with the reddish yellow of the rest of the body and appendages.

Range Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica (J. T. Longino 1997).

Biology Colonies nest beneath epiphytes in lowland rainforest (Longino 1997).

figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. COSTA RICA: La Selva Biological Station, near Pueblo Nuevo, Heredia, 150 m (John T. Longino). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 4 times found in Sura 700m, 2 times found in mature rainforest, edge of forest near pasture and agricultural land, steep rocky terrain, 1 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, isolated peak with oak trees, 1 times found in Sura 700 m, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, 1 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 1 times found in 2º wet forest, 1 times found in lowland rainforest.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times collecting from Carapa guianensis, felled yesterday, along new roadcut just beyo, 1 times beating veg., 2 times ex sifted leaf litter, 2 times beating vegetation, 1 times One of the ALAS fogging samples, from Pentaclethra macroloba crown., 1 times One of the ALAS fogging samples, from Carapa guianensis crown., 1 times foragers, 1 times Collecting in recent (< 1week) treefall. A large dead snag fell, bringing a lar, 1 times at bait.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 10 times Fogging, 3 times search, 3 times beating, 2 times miniWinkler, 1 times Baiting.

Elevations: collected from 40 - 1060 meters, 159 meters average

Type specimens: holotype major Pheidole excubitor: inbiocri001238591



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