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Genus: Pogonomyrmex   Mayr, 1868 


Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Extant: 93 valid species, 2 valid subspecies

Fossil: 1 valid species

Pogonomyrmex Mayr, 1868b PDF: 169. Type-species: Formica badia, by subsequent designation of Wheeler, 1911g PDF: 170. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Pogonomyrmex in Myrmicidae, Myrmicidae: Emery, 1877b PDF: 81.
Pogonomyrmex in Myrmicidae: Cresson, 1887 PDF: 260.
Pogonomyrmex as genus: all authors.
Genus Pogonomyrmex catalogues
Genus Pogonomyrmex references
Mayr, 1870b PDF: 970 (all species key); Mayr, 1887 PDF: 608 (all species key); Wheeler, 1902a PDF: 97 (North America species key); Emery, 1921c PDF: 44, 48, 48 (Pogonomyrmex, Pogonomyrmex (Ephebomyrmex), Pogonomyrmex (Forelomyrmex) diagnoses); Gallardo, 1932c PDF: 95 (Argentina species key); Cole, 1942 PDF: 364 (U.S.A., Utah species key); Kusnezov, 1949c PDF: 301 (Argentina Pogonomyrmex (Ephebomyrmex) species key); Creighton, 1950a PDF: 113 (Nearctic species key); Kusnezov, 1951e PDF: 254 (Argentina species key); Kusnezov, 1954e PDF: 85 (Bolivia species key); Creighton, 1957a PDF: 54 (North America Ephebomyrmex); Gregg, 1963: 317 (U.S.A., Colorado species key); Cole, 1968: 21, 38, 155 (North America Pogonomyrmex & Pogonomyrmex (Ephebomyrmex) diagnoses, Nearctic species revision, keys); Snelling & Hunt, 1976 PDF: 72 (Chile species key); Allred, 1982: 442 (U.S.A., Utah species key); Snelling, 1982a PDF: 104 (supplement to Cole, 1968 key); Snelling, 1982a PDF: 108 (North America Pogonomyrmex (Ephebomyrmex) species key); MacKay et al., 1985 PDF: 42 (Mexico species key); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986g PDF: 26 (U.S.A., Nevada species key); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986g PDF: 33 (U.S.A., Nevada Ephebomyrmex species key); Shattuck, 1987 PDF: 175 (Pogonomyrmex occidentalis complex key); Taber, 1990 PDF: 307 (U.S.A. species complexes, phylogeny); Bolton, 1994: 106 (synoptic classification); Bolton, 1995a PDF: 1052 (census); Taber, 1998 PDF: 146, 147 (Ephebomyrmex, Pogonomyrmex all species keys); Fernández & Palacio, 1998 PDF: 1657 (northern South America species key); Mackay & Mackay, 2002 PDF: 180 (U.S.A., New Mexico species key); Lattke, 2006 PDF: 56 (northern South America species key); Johnson & Overson, 2009 PDF: 313 (Pogonomyrmex californicus group key); Cuezzo & Claver, 2009 PDF: 99 (Argentina species key); Johnson et al., 2013 PDF: 225 (Pogonomyrmex californicus group key); Johnson & Cover, 2015 PDF: 231 (Hispaniola species revision), 248 (Hispaniola species key); Johnson, 2015 10.11646/zootaxa.4029.1.1 PDF: 1 (South America species revision), 11 (South America species key, natural history); Baccaro et al., 2015 10.5281/zenodo.32912 PDF: 284 (genus in Brazil); Cantone, 2017 PDF: 228 (brief male diagnosis); Fernández & Serna, 2019 PDF: 795 (Colombia species key); Johnson, 2021 10.11646/zootaxa.5033.1.1 PDF: 1 (South America species revision, natural history), 11 (South American species key (workers)), 24 (South American species key (queens)), 31 (Pogonomyrmex rastratus-group overview).

Taxon Page Images:

Pogonomyrmex rastratus carrying a seed, Amaicha del Valle, Tucumán, Argentina.
Image © Alex Wild.


These are the conspicuous seed-harvesting ants of the New World. Often dominant in arid environments, many form huge societies with large nests that are a recognizable feature of the landscapes they inhabit. Many are renowned for the potency of their sting.
Some lineages of Pogonomyrmex have complicated, genetic caste determination and hybrid lineages are known, e.g. Helms Cahan et al. 2002, 2006. // Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Nearctic, Neotropical
  Native biogeographic regions (according to species list records):
    Nearctic, Neotropical

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Ward, P. S., 2005, A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 936, pp. 1-68

Genus Pogonomyrmex MayrHNS

The species in this genus are seed-harvesting ants, whose nest mounds are often conspicuously decorated with pebbles. The workers are diurnal and have a potent sting.

Several of the taxa belong to difficult complexes, and species boundaries remain unclear. In neighboring Arizona a series of stabilized hybrid lineages has been documented in the P. barbatus-complexHNS (Helms Cahan et al. 2002).

Species identification: keys in Cole (1966), Wheeler and Wheeler (1986g) and Mackay and Mackay (2002). Additional references: Davidson (1977a), De Vita (1979), Gordon (1999), Groark (2001), Helms Cahan et al. (2002), Hölldobler (1976a, 1976c), Johnson (2000a, 2001), Knudtson (1978), Kusnezov (1951e), Lei (2000), MacKay (1980, 1981, 1982), MacKay and MacKay (1989), O’Dowd and Hay (1980), Olsen (1934), Parker and Rissing (2002), Ryti and Case (1988), Schmidt (1998), Shattuck (1987), Snelling(1982a), Taber (1990, 1998), Taber et al. (1987, 1988), Wheeler (1902a, 1914e).

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