Pheidole microgyna

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Pheidole microgyna
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. microgyna
Binomial name
Pheidole microgyna
Wheeler, W.M., 1928

P. microgyna appears to be a social parasite of Pheidole minutula. The latter species is abundant in the Amazonian and Guianan rainforests of South America, where it nests in the swollen leaf bases of the melastome understory shrub Maieta guianensis. In an earlier analysis (Wilson 1984b), I pointed out that microgyna may have its own workers, which are anatomically somewhat different from those of minutula, or workers identifiable as minutula. This circumstance suggests that microgyna is a temporary social parasite of minutula or some related free-living species. The small size of the microgyna queens also suggests such a life cycle. However, the status of this unusual form will not be solved until additional collections are made, preferably with field observations, allowing the taxonomy of the minutula complex to be more fully clarified. (Wilson 2003)


See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Only known from the type locality.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Guyana (type locality).

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.

  • microgyna. Pheidole microgyna Wheeler, W.M. 1928b: 186 (w.q.m.) GUYANA. See also: Wilson, 1984: 323; Wilson, 2003: 456.

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 flavens group similar to Pheidole minutula but the queen much smaller, close in size to the worker caste of minutula. Body form as illustrated above.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Lectotype queen: HW 0.46, HL 0.48, SL 0.40, EL 0.20, PW 0.36.

COLOR Concolorous light reddish brown, appendages yellowish brown.

Pheidole microgyna Wilson 2003.jpg

Figure. Lectotype, queen. Outline of frontal view of head of minutula worker shown to left of that of the queen. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Type Material

GUYANA: Kartabo. Museum of Comparative Zoology


Gr microgyna, small female. (Wilson 2003)


  • Wheeler, W. M. 1928b. Mermis parasitism and intercastes among ants. J. Exp. Zool. 50: 165-237 (page 186, worker, queen, male described)
  • Wilson, E. O. 1984b. Tropical social parasites in the ant genus Pheidole, with an analysis of the anatomical parasitic syndrome (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insectes Soc. 31: 316-334 (page 323, see also)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 456, fig. queen, worker described)