Pheidole christinae

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Pheidole christinae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. christinae
Binomial name
Pheidole christinae
Fischer, Hita Garcia & Peters, 2012

Pheidole christinae casent0227940 p 1 high.jpg

Pheidole christinae casent0227940 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Minor workers of P. christinae were collected in the Budongo Forest, Uganda, in Gabon and in D.R. Congo from sifted leaf-litter, pitfalls and hand-collections. Majors have not yet been collected.

Identification

A member of the pulchella species group.

Pheidole christinae is a readily recognizable species by its color, head shape and pilosity. In color it is similar to Pheidole pulchella and Pheidole heliosa, and in general appearance it is very close to the latter and with an intermediate head shape (CI: 79–84 [christinae], versus CI: 82–90 [pulchella] and CI: 73–76 [heliosa]). From P. heliosa it can be separated best by its shorter appendages, a significantly narrower occipital carina, less abundant pilosity (especially by its lack of laterally projecting hairs ventrally on meso- and metapleuron), different kinds of metatibial pilosity on inner and outer edges, and asymmetrically shaped postpetiole in lateral view. From P. pulchella it can be distinguished by longer propodeal spines (PSLI (mean): 31 versus 27), erect versus decumbent scape pilosity, the small peaks at the humeri which are raised above the pronotal outline, and the shape of the dorsopropodeum in profile view, which has its highest point at about midlength versus immediately at the metanotal groove in P. pulchella. (Fischer, Hita Garcia, & Peters 2012)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Known from Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Uganda (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Only known from minor workers.

Nomenclature

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

  • christinae. Pheidole christinae Fischer, Hita Garcia & Peters, 2012: 17, figs. 18-20 (w.) UGANDA.

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

Color orange. Head elliptical, posterior of eye-level slightly elongated (CI: 79–84). Occipital carina very narrow, scape relatively long (SI: 143–164) and with erect to suberect pilosity. Promesonotum at humeri with small dent, in lateral view slightly raised above dorsal outline. Spines and metafemur long (PSLI: 26–36, FI: 175–198), metatibia with pilosity on inner edge subdecumbent, on outer edge subdecumbent to suberect. Standing hairs of variable lengths, mostly blunted or truncated.

The population in Gabon differs from the Ugandan P. christinae type specimens in a deeper, conspicuously impressed, metanotal groove, and longer, more spinose, propodeal spines.

Description

Worker

Minor: Measurements (holotype): HL: 0.989, HW: 0.811, SL: 1.302, MDL: 0.633, EL: 0.167, MFL: 1.508, MTL: 1.167, WL: 1.286, PSL: 0.278, PTH: 0.178, PPH: 0.244, PTL: 0.367, PPL: 0.256, PTW: 0.122, PPW: 0.256, PW: 0.533, CI: 82, SI: 160, MDI: 78, PSLI: 28, PWI: 66, FI: 186, PpWI: 209, PpLI: 143.

Measurements (n=21): HW: 0.733–0.833 (0.798), HL: 0.878–1.022 (0.977), SL: 1.100–1.349 (1.244), MDL: 0.578–0.678 (0.643), EL: 0.156–0.178 (0.166), MFL: 1.333–1.635 (1.497), MTL: 1.044–1.333 (1.187), WL: 1.144–1.556 (1.315), PSL: 0.256–0.344 (0.304), PTH: 0.144–0.206 (0.188), PPH: 0.222–0.267 (0.247), PTL: 0.333–0.411 (0.378), PPL: 0.233–0.278 (0.254), PTW: 0.122–0.133 (0.129), PPW: 0.222–0.267 (0.251), PW: 0.489–0.567 (0.538); CI: 79–84 (82), SI: 143–164 (156), MDI: 77–83 (81), PSLI: 26–36 (31), PWI: 64–70 (67), FI: 175–198 (188), PpWI: 182–209 (195), PpLI: 136–168 (149).

Head elongated elliptical, about 1.2 times longer than wide (CI: 79–84), with sides posterior of eye-level elongate, converging evenly towards posterior margin. Occipital carina narrow, clypeus smooth and lateral carinae absent. Face smooth, only malar area weakly punctate and irregularly rugulose near antennal insertion, with some cross-meshes present, rugulae ending at anterior eye-level. Hairs on face relatively slender and of varying lengths, longer and shorter hairs uniformly distributed, often apically truncated or split. Scapes long (SI: 143–164), in full face view and when laid back, surpassing posterior head margin by about one third of its length, with pilosity erect to suberect and almost twice as long as maximum scape diameter. Promesonotum anteriorly punctate towards neck, smooth and shiny to superficially punctate, anteriorly towards neck weakly punctate, posteriorly towards mesonotum superficially punctuate. Humeri with a tiny, prominent peak in profile, representing highest point of pronotum. Pronotal declivity smooth and long, midway between humeral peak and mesonotal process obtusely angular, mesonotal process conspicuously produced, dorsal face often marginate and smooth or weakly and irregularly rug-ulose-punctate. Second mesonotal process conspicuously produced, similarly shaped and sculptured. Metanotal groove in lateral view shallowly to conspicuously impressed, highest point of dorsopropodeum at about midlength towards base of propodeal spines. Mesopleuron and propodeum weakly punctate, spines long and slender (PSLI: 26–36), strongly curved posteriorly. Metafemur long (FI: 175–198). Pilosity of metatibia on inner edge subdecumbent, outer edge with subdecumbent to suberect hairs and slightly longer hairs. Standing hairs of variable lengths, not very abundant, apices often blunted or split. Color yellow to light orange.

Type Material

Holotype: (minor worker) UGANDA, 01° 45' N, 31° 34' 59" E, Budongo Forest Reserve, 900 m, 30.vi.2004 (M. Peters) (Zoologisches Forschungsinstitut und Museum Alexander König: CASENT0227935). Paratypes: (6 minor workers) same data as holotype (The Natural History Museum: CASENT0227938, California Academy of Sciences: CASENT0227939, CASENT0227940, South African Museum: CASENT0227941, ZFMK: CASENT0227936, CASENT0227937); (3 minor workers) 01° 43' N, 31° 33' E, Bunyoro District, Budongo Forest, 1000 m, hand collection, 30.vi.2004 (M. Peters) (ZFMK: CASENT0227942, CASENT0227943, CASENT0227944).

Etymology

This species is named in honor of the first author’s wife Christina.

References

  • Fischer, G., Hita Garcia, F., & Peters, M.K. 2012. Taxonomy of the ant genus Pheidole Westwood (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Afrotropical zoogeographic region: definition of species groups and systematic revision of the Pheidole pulchella group. Zootaxa, 3232, 1-43.