Wheeler, W.M., 1901
From Wilson (2003): P. lamia is a reclusive, soil-nesting species. Feener (1981) found that the species, which is seemingly rare because of its infrequent encounters with entomologists, is actually quite abundant at the type locality (Austin, Texas), at least in the secondary oak-hackenberry woodland of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory. In both Florida and Texas mature colonies each contain 500-1500 minor workers, and a much smaller number of major workers. Nests are constructed directly in soil beneath leaf litter, and thus are unusually difficult to find. Buren et al. (1977), studying Florida colonies in laboratory nests, found that the phragmotic majors use their bulldozer-like heads effectively in defense against marauding thief ants of the genus Solenopsis. At Austin, minor workers were observed foraging around the clock in warm weather (Feener 1981).
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
See the description in the nomenclature section.
Keys including this Species
Northern Florida west to at least Austin, Texas. (Wilson 2003)
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- lamia. Pheidole lamia Wheeler, W.M. 1901b: 534, fig. 11 (s.w.) U.S.A. See also: Feener, 1981: 269; Wilson, 2003: 546.
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 typical member of the lamia group: the major has a phragmotic head, with the anterior portion incorporating the clypeus and mandibles flattened (truncated), and deep antennal scrobes. This species is easily distinguished from the other members of the lamia group (Pheidole colobopsis, Pheidole pelor, Pheidole truncula) by the very elongate head of the major and Sculpturing of its head, which consists exclusively of parallel longitudinal carinulae that extend almost all the way to the occiput; and by the reduction of the propodeal spine in the major and minor to denticles.
MEASUREMENTS (mm) Lectotype major: HW 0.62, HL 0.92, SL 0.37, EL 0.00, PW 0.00. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.44, HL 0.52, SL 0.48, EL 0.06, PW 0.30.
COLOR Major: concolorous yellow, with a faint reddish tinge.
Minor: concolorous yellow.
Figure. Upper: lectotype, major. Lower: paralectotype, minor. Scale bars = 1 mm.
Gr lamia, a witch or monster that sucks blood, obviously an overstatement in reference to the bizarre head of the major. (Wilson 2003)
- Buren, W. F., M. A. Naves, and T. C. Carlysle. 1977. False phragmosis and apparent specialization for subterranean warfare in Pheidole lamia Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Ga. Entomol. Soc. 12: 100–108.
- Feener, D. H., Jr. 1981. Notes on the biology of Pheidole lamia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) at its type locality (Austin, Texas). J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 54: 269-277 (page 269, see also)
- Gregg, R. E. 1956. An extension of range for the ant, Pheidole lamia Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological News 67:37-39. [1956-02-03] PDF
- Wheeler, W. M. 1901c. The compound and mixed nests of American ants. Part II. The known cases of social symbiosis among American ants. Am. Nat. 35: 513-539 (page 534, fig. 11 soldier, worker described)
- Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 546, fig. major, minor described)