Pheidole cerebrosior

AntWiki - Where Ant Biologists Share Their Knowledge
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pheidole cerebrosior
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. cerebrosior
Binomial name
Pheidole cerebrosior
Wheeler, W.M., 1915

Pheidole cerebrosior casent0005753 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole cerebrosior casent0005753 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Creighton and Gregg (1955) report that the preferred habitat of cerebrosior is evergreen-oak-woodland in mountain canyons, with open desert less frequently occupied. The colonies are always small, and contain no more than 3 or 4 majors. Stefan Cover (unpublished specimen data) found numerous colonies in open Ephedra, mesquite, and mesquite-acacia desert, as well as riverine cottonwood forest, nesting variously under rocks beneath cow dung, and in open soil with multiple small crater nests. He found seed chambers in some nests and observed workers feeding on a dead beetle. A winged queen has been collected on 1 July. In Nevada, G. C. and Jeanette N. Wheeler (1986) found a single colony under a half-buried stone in yucca-larrea desert. (Wilson 2003)


Mackay and Mackay (2002) - For co-occuring Pheidole species in New Mexico, the major of this species is nearly identical to Pheidole bicarinata. It differs in that the vertex of the minor is punctate; it is smooth and shining to very finely striolate in PH. bicarinata. There is a considerable amount of variation in the sculpture of the vertex of the minor worker and is often very difficult to separate this species from Ph. bicarinata.

Also see the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


From Wilson (2003): Arizona and New Mexico, 550 to 1680 m; southern California, 950 m; Baja California, 640 m; Chihuahua, 1500 m (Creighton and Gregg 1955); numerous records by Stefan Cover (collection notes) and extreme southern Nevada (G. C. and J. Wheeler 1986).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Sagebrush, riparian, evergreen-oak associations. This species usually nests in mountain canyons (including riparian sites), between 550 and 1800 meters elevation, and is rarely found in the open deserts. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)







The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • cerebrosior. Pheidole vinelandica subsp. cerebrosior Wheeler, W.M. 1915b: 405 (s.w.) U.S.A. Raised to species: Creighton, 1950a: 175. See also: Wilson, 2003: 569.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.


From Wilson (2003): DIAGNOSIS A member of the “bicarinata complex” of the larger pilifera group; for a characterization of the complex, see under Pheidole bicarinata.

P. cerebrosior is distinguished within the complex by the following combination of traits.

Major: postpetiole seen from above very wide and conulate; propodeal spines well-developed and backward-directed; pronotal humeri with short irregular carinulae.

Minor: mesosomal pilosity comprises rows of evenly spaced pairs of erect hairs.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Lectotype major: HW 1.12, HL 1.32, SL 0.60, EL 0.14, PW 0.58. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.46, HL 0.56, SL 0.44, EL 0.12, PW 0.28.

COLOR Major: body light reddish yellow, except for the gaster, which is a slightly contrasting yellowish brown.

Minor: concolorous plain yellow.

Pheidole cerebrosior Wilson 2003.jpg

Figure. Upper: lectotype, major. Lower: paralectotype, minor. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Type Material

ARIZONA: Tucson , American Museum of Natural History and Museum of Comparative Zoology - as reported in Wilson (2003)


  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 175, Raised to species)
  • Gregg, R. E. 1955. A new species of ant belonging to the Pheidole pilifera complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 62:19–28.
  • Creighton, W. S. and R. E. Gregg. 1955. New and little-known species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Univ. Colo. Stud. Ser. Biol. 3:1-46.
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The Ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1915b. Some additions to the North American ant-fauna. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 34: 389-421 (page 405, soldier, worker described)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 569, fig. major, minor described)