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Species: Pheidole mooreorum   Wilson, 2003 

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

Pheidole mooreorum Wilson, 2003A: 209, figs. (s.w.) MEXICO. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Senior synonym of Pheidole fariasana: Longino, 2009 PDF: 56.

Distribution:


Neotropical Region: Alajuela, Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Belize, Cayo, Chiapas, Comayagua, Costa Rica, Francisco Morazán, Guanacaste, Guatemala, Honduras, Islas de la Bahía, Jinotega, Lempira, Limón, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Nueva Segovia, Olancho, Petén, Puntarenas, Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte, Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur, Suchitepéquez, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Zacapa

Distribution Notes:

Southern Mexico to Costa Rica.

Biology:

This species occurs in a wide variety of habitats: dry forest, rainforest, and cloud forest, from sea level to 1800m elevation, in disturbed synanthropic habitats or less disturbed forest with intact canopy. It can be locally common. Collections are most often from baits on forest floor, or scattered workers in Winkler samples. Major workers are often recruited to baits along with minor workers. The types of P. fariasana were from a nest found beneath a stone.

Comments:

Over the range of the species there is strong intra- and inter-populational variation. Minor workers: the pronotum may be entirely and strongly foveolate, it may show a patchwork of foveolate sculpture and smooth shiny areas, or it may be completely smooth and shining. Correlated with this is face sculpture, which is usually completely smooth and shining, but grades into forms with completely foveolate face. Major worker: in general the anterior face has longitudinal rugulae with smooth shiny interspaces, and the posterior face is completely smooth and shining. The transition may occur abruptly or gradually, and from just anterior to the level of the compound eyes to somewhat posterior to them. The medial area between the frontal carinae may be completely smooth and shining, or with variable numbers of longitudinal rugulae parallel to and beginning at the frontal carinae and fading medially. The strength and extent of face rugulae correlates with strength of pronotal sculpture on minor workers. The setae projecting from the side of the head in face view vary from long and suberect to short and appressed.

The minor workers of the type series of P. fariasana from Tamaulipas have an intermediate sculptural condition, in which the pronotum is mostly smooth and shining, with a narrow band of foveolate sculpture at the anterior margin and wrapping around onto the ventrolateral margin. The major workers have the face rugulae extending posterior to the compound eyes, and there are abundant suberect setae projecting from the side of the head. In the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, most collections have this intermediate sculptural condition, but the full range of variation occurs. Multiple collections with major workers from lowland dry forest habitat in northwestern Costa Rica are, on average, like the type series of P. fariasana.

The type series of mooreorum is from Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico, a lowland rainforest site. The minor worker has a completely smooth and shiny face and pronotum. The pilosity is relatively short. Specimens from Laguna Metzabok, a lowland rainforest site (500m) in NE Chiapas, are similar. Specimens from Nahá, a wet forest site near Metzabok but higher elevation (1000m), are mostly like Metzabok specimens, but one minor worker has increased foveolation on the pronotal humeri and faint foveolation on parts of the face.

On Volcan Atitlan, Guatemala, specimens from around 1000m are the shiny form. At higher elevations they grade into a form with more sculpture.

At Biotopo El Quetzal, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, the species is not common, but the few workers encountered the minors have the face fully foveolate and the major has short setae on the sides of the head.

At La Union, Zacapa, Guatemala, the species is very abundant and occurs as two discrete forms. In one form the minor has shiny face and pronotum and the major has relatively long setae on the sides of the head. The other form has the minor with foveolate face and pronotum and the major with shorter setae on the sides of the head.

At Cusuco, Honduras, the species is highly variable. A typical shiny form grades into a completely foveolate form, and the color starts to grade into an orange foveolate form.

At La Muralla, Honduras, most collections are from baits on ground and are a form with shiny face and weak sculpture on pronotum of minor, short setae on sides of head of major. One collection from bait on vegetation is different. The minor has shiny face and smooth shiny pronotum; major has relatively longer head, longer more erect setae on sides of head, and shorter propodeal spines.

At Sierra de Agalta, Honduras, the specimens are all like the common ground form at La Muralla.

At Cerro Saslaya, Nicaragua, all are from an upper site around 1000m and none are from a lower site around 300m. The minor is large, with light-colored mesosoma, smooth shiny face and pronotum. The major has short subdecumbent setae on sides of head.

In the Cordillera de Tilarán in Costa Rica, in moist forest around 1400m elevation, a relatively uniform population occurs in which the minor workers have a smooth face and strongly sculptured pronotum, and the minor workers are somewhat bicolored, with mesosoma light brown and head and gaster darker brown.

DNA barcoding yields some equivocal results that do not correlate well with morphology. Three clusters emerge.

Cluster 1: seven specimens; sequence divergences within cluster 0-1%. Five specimens are a distinctive yellow morphospecies from Comayagua, Honduras, and multiple sites in Nicaragua. Two workers are from Cusuco and have identical haplotypes. One is a dark-colored, fully-foveolate minor. The other is a dark-colored major, with short setae on the sides of the head and fairly extensive faint sculpture on face. The nest-mate minor associated with this major has a foveolate face, but the foveolation is weak and there is a shiny patch on the side of pronotum.

Cluster 2: six specimens; sequence divergences within cluster all 0%. All are from Cusuco. Five are a foveolate form, one is a shiny form. The foveolate form has the minor fully foveolate on face and pronotum. The major is like the Cusuco major from cluster 1, with faint sculpture on the face. The color a bit lighter, toward red brown. The shiny form has minor with smooth shiny face and pronotum; major with most of face smooth and shiny; dark colored.

Cluster 3: 13 specimens; sequence divergences within cluster less than 1%. Six are from Cusuco, the rest from scattered sites elsewhere in Honduras and Nicaragua. Among the Cusuco specimens, minors vary from fully foveolate to completely smooth and shiny; majors vary in extent of faint sculpture on face.

Note that all representatives of all three clusters occur at Cusuco, where there is also high morphological variability.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Pheidole mooreorum   Longino, J. T., 2009, Additions to the taxonomy of New World Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 2181, pp. 1-90: 56-57, (download) 56-57 22820
Pheidole mooreorum new species  Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 209, (download) 209 20017

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 344 times found in cloud forest, 250 times found in mesophyll forest, 103 times found in montane wet forest, 94 times found in oak cloud forest, 86 times found in mixed hardwood forest, 61 times found in mesophil forest, 49 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 61 times found in 2º mixed hardwood forest, 29 times found in lowland wet forest, 32 times found in 2º mesophil forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 970 times at bait, 271 times ex sifted leaf litter, 70 times beating vegetation, 9 times Malaise trap, 4 times at bait on ground, 2 times foragers at cookie bait, 3 times forest litter, 1 times nest under rock, 1 times ground foragers, 3 times flight intercept trap, 3 times at bait at night, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 961 times Baiting, 207 times MiniWinkler, 70 times Beating, 46 times MaxiWinkler, 16 times search, 11 times bait, 17 times Winkler, 9 times Malaise, 5 times Berlese, 2 times hand collecting, 4 times Flight Intercept Trap, ...

Elevations: collected from 5 - 2100 meters, 1293 meters average

Type specimens: paratype Pheidole fariasana: jtlc000016373; paratype Pheidole mooreorum: jtlc000016463



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