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Pheidole tepicana PergandeHNS 1896: 878. Syn.: Pheidole rugifrons PergandeHNS 1896: 880, synonymy by Emery 1901 c: 119; Pheidole carbonaria PergandeHNS 1896: 881, synonymy by Emery 1901c: 119; Pheidole kingi AndreHNS 1898: 244, synonymy by Creighton and Gregg 1955: 24; Pheidole townsendi AndreHNS 1898: 246; synonymy by Emery 1922c: 105; Pheidole kingi subsp. instabilis EmeryHNS 1901c: 120, synonymy by Creighton and Gregg 1955: 24; Pheidole kingi subsp. torpescens WheelerHNS 1915b: 404, synonymy by Creighton and Gregg 1955: 24. Raised to species level in this monograph: cavigenisHNS.
Types Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.; Nat. Mus. Nat. Hist. U. S.
Etymology Name based on type locality.
Diagnosis A member of the " piliferaHNS complex" of the larger piliferaHNS group; for a characterization of the complex, see under piliferaHNS. P. tepicanaHNS is distinguished within the complex as follows. Trimorphic, with major, supermajor, and minor castes. Major: posterior half of dorsum of head except for occiput smooth and shiny; pronotum low and smoothly convex; mesonotal convexity very low; postpetiole from above diamond-shaped.
Supermajor: posterior third of head covered by a mixture of rugulae and rugoreticula; rugoreticulum present between eye and antennal fossa.
Minor: propodeal spines reduced to denticles; head almost entirely smooth and shiny.
Measurements (mm) Major (Austin, Texas): HW 1.12, HL 1.34, SL 0.62, EL 0.12, PW 0.54.
Supermajor (Guadalajara, Mexico): HW 1.62, HL 2.00, SL 0.74, EL 0.14, PW 0.74.
Minor (Austin, Texas): HW 0.52, HL 0.56, SL 0.52, EL 0.12, PW 0.32.
Color Major: reddish yellow.
Supermajor: light reddish brown.
Minor: brownish yellow.
Range Texas, Arizona southward to at least Jalisco, Mexico: often locally abundant.
Biology In the Santa Cruz Mountains of Arizona, Stefan Cover (unpublished notes) found a colony of tepicanaHNS in an open area with opuntia and dwarf acacia surrounded by blue oak, nesting under a stone in the sun; the nest contained a cache of seeds. The species is notably flexible in its choices of nest site. Near Tucson, Arizona, I observed a colony in an open grassy area, spread out beneath multiple stones. In western Texas, Moody and Francke (1982) found numerous colonies, nesting mostly under stones and in open soil; one colony each was also beneath a log, a piece of metal, and a grass clump respectively. And finally, at Cuernavaca, Wheeler (1901b) observed that colonies were common beneath pats of half-dried cow dung.
Figure Upper: major (plus partial frontal head view of a supermajor). Lower: minor. TEXAS: major and minor from Austin (syntypes of the synonymy kingi subsp. instabilis EmeryHNS); supermajor from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. (Type locality: Tepic, Nayarit, collected by Eisen and Vaslit). Scale bars = 1 mm.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 4 times found in Deciduous tropical forest, 4 times found in Grassy brushland, 1 times found in beside hotel parkiing lot in full sun, 1 times found in park entrance area, 3 times found in Roadside meadow, 1 times found in Oak-juniper woodland, 1 times found in Oak-juniper-mesquite woodland, 1 times found in Tropical brushland.
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times nest under small rock in disturbed site, 1 times nest in bare clay soil with 3" circle of debris.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 19 times under rock, 2 times Cobble pavement, 1 times Crater and chaff on flagstones, 1 times Flagstone trail, 1 times Roadside, 1 times rock crevice, 1 times Under boulder, 1 times Wall crevice.
Elevations: collected from 38 - 1981 meters, 1277 meters average