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Southern Mexico (Chiapas) to Ecuador, across northern South America to French Guiana. Colombia (type locality), Panama (type locality of subspecies oxymora).
This species occurs in mature wet forest; nests in dead wood in the low arboreal zone; forages in the leaf litter and at extrafloral nectaries.
COI records on BOLD show a clade of four clusters: 1 from Central America, 2 from Ecuador, 1 from French Guiana.
J. Longino, 29 Oct 2021: Pheidole gauthieri Forel 1901 from Colombia, the jr. syn. oxymora Forel 1912 from Panama, horribilis Wilson 2003 from Ecuador, minax Wilson 2003 from Peru, and terribilis Wilson 2003 from Suriname are all very similar. They have minor differences in sculpture. The posterior face of the major varies from nearly smooth to moderately carinulate. In both castes, the dorsum of the first abdominal tergite can be smooth and shining or with varying degrees of shagreening. These could be treated as a single geographically variable species, or split out into these cryptic species. So far I have seen no evidence of sympatry among these forms.
Types Mus. Hist. Nat. Geneve.
Etymology Named after A. and C. Gauthier of Colombia, who assisted Forel in his itinerary.
Major: propodeal spines as long as basal face of propodeum; occiput smooth and shiny; smaller patch of rugoreticulum present laterad to each antennal fossa; loose rugoreticulum present on anterior half of pronotal dorsum but absent on posterior half; postpetiole spinose.
Minor: occiput, sides of head, and entire dorsum of mesosoma rugoreticulate, and almost all of remainder of head and mesosoma variously rugulose or carinulate; propodeal spines as long as basal face of propodeum; occiput narrowed but lacking a nuchal collar. Measurements (mm) Major (Panama): HW 2.04, HL 2.12, SL 0.86, EL 0.20, PW 0.94. Lectotype minor: HW 0.80, HL 0.81, SL 0.86, EL 0.16, PW 0.54. Color Major: concolorous light reddish brown.
Minor: head and mesosoma light reddish yellow; waist, gaster, and appendages clear dark yellow.
Range I have seen material from Guatemala (Tikal), Costa Rica (Osa Peninsula), Panama (localities in the Canal Zone), and Colombia. J. T. Longino (1997) reports it from both the Atlantic and Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica.
Biology In Costa Rica Longino (1997) found gauthieriHNS in mature wet forest, nesting in dead wood in the low arboreal zone and foraging in the leaf litter and at extrafloral nectaries. A winged queen was present in a nest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, 27 June (W. M. Wheeler).
Found most commonly in these habitats: 9 times found in tropical rainforest, 1 times found in premontane rainforest, 4 times found in mature wet forest, 4 times found in 2nd growth forest, 4 times found in rainforest, 4 times found in wet forest, 1 times found in primary forest, 1 times found in mature and second growth wet forest, 1 times found in TerraFirme, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, some big trees, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 14 times at bait, 7 times ex sifted leaf litter, 2 times nest, 1 times log nest, 1 times in dead branch, 1 times nocturnal strays, 1 times LeafLitter, 1 times ex rotten log, 2 times d' épine de Xanthoxylon, 1 times under epiphytes, 1 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 5 times search, 11 times baiting, 6 times miniWinkler, 4 times bait, 3 times Winkler, 1 times Winkler48h, 1 times 6L sifted litter, extracted in Winkler sack over 44 hours, 1 times pan trap.
Elevations: collected from 10 - 600 meters, 192 meters average
Collect Date Range: collected between 1979-12-22 00:00:00.0 and 2019-11-20 00:00:00.0