Current View: Bolton World Catalog
Change View
Cite this page

Citing AntWeb


To cite this page, please use the following:

· For print:      Citation: AntWeb. Version 8.77.1. California Academy of Science, online at Accessed .

· For web:

Species: Pheidole nitella   Wilson, 2003 

Download Data

Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2022)

Pheidole nitella Wilson, 2003a: 473, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL
// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica (Atlantic slope to 1000m).


Natural History:

Inhabits wet forest leaf litter; nests in small cavities in dead or live wood, forest floor litter layer to low arboreal zone.


I collected a nest series that is essentially a dark brown version of nitella. It was under a stone in a pasture, at the 1500m site (Finca Murillo) near the Barva transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park. Minor workers of this form are nearly indistinguishable from sagittaria. The propodeal spines of sagittaria are ever so slightly more developed.

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 nitellaHNS new species

Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard.

Etymology L nitellaHNS, bright, splendid.

Diagnosis Similar in various traits to the species listed in the heading above, and distinguished as follows. Major: yellow; head elongate; eyes set well forward, so that their distance from anterior of head is only a little less than Eye Length; propodeal spines reduced to obtuse angles; carinulae extend on head only slightly beyond eyes and are rudimentary on frontal lobes, and rest of body is entirely smooth and shiny.

Minor: eye very large, oval (not tapered), and set far forward on head; propodeum reduced to denticles; occiput broad and weakly concave.

Differs from the closely similar exquisitaHNS of Ecuador in size, head shape, and details of cephalic sculpture, eye shape, and minor scape length.

measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.58, HL 0.66, SL 0.32, EL 0.10, PW 0.30. Paratype minor: HW 0.34, HL 0.34, SL 0.26, EL 0.06, PW 0.22. Color Major and minor: concolorous medium yellow.

Range Occurs on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica at 300-1000 m (Longino 1997); Choco, Colombia, 760 m; and is widespread in montane and Amazonian Ecuador; a single collection originates from near Belem, Para, Brazil.

Biology A rainforest dweller, P. nitellaHNS nests in small cavities variously in dead and live wood, on the forest floor and in the low arboreal zone (Longino 1997; Stefan Cover and E. O. Wilson, unpublished notes). A seed cache was found in one nest at La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. COSTA RICA: La Selva Biological Station, near Puerto Viejo, Heredia (Stefan Cover). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 158 times found in montane wet forest, 152 times found in mature wet forest, 49 times found in cloud forest, old second growth forest, 37 times found in ridgetop cloud forest, 26 times found in wet forest, 25 times found in cloud forest, 23 times found in tropical moist forest, 9 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 7 times found in tropical wet forest, 5 times found in rainforest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 297 times ex sifted leaf litter, 146 times at bait, 40 times hojarasca, 5 times Cerca del Refugio Cascante, 2 times Primary forest, 2 times under epiphytes, 2 times pecan sandie bait, 2 times nest in dead wood, 3 times LeafLitter, 1 times in dead wood on ground, 1 times ex dead wood, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 244 times miniWinkler, 130 times baiting, 39 times Mini Winkler, 30 times MaxiWinkler, 25 times Winkler, 21 times bait, 15 times search, 17 times Berlese, 2 times Lure/Bait, 5 times flight intercept trap, 3 times Pitfall72h, ...

Elevations: collected from 50 - 1620 meters, 767 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1979-01-16 00:00:00.0 and 2020-02-16 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: Not Provided: casent0283261; paratype Pheidole nitella: jtlc000016471

See something amiss? Send us an email.