Pheidole micula

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Pheidole micula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. micula
Binomial name
Pheidole micula
Wheeler, W.M., 1915

Pheidole micula casent0102882 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole micula casent0102882 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Stefan Cover (unpublished) encountered micula in the mountains of southern Arizona consistently between 1480 and 1690 m, in grassy meadows, sometimes surrounded by juniper-oak woodland. The small colonies were nesting variously under small rocks and in crater nest built in open soil. In western Texas, Moody and Francke (1982) found micula in crater nests built in open soil. A single colony was discovered by G. C. and J. N. Wheeler (1973) in the cholla-palo verde scrub at Deep Canyon, California, nesting under a stone; seeds of Artiplex, Cryptantha, Oenothera, and Sporobolus were present in the nest. (Wilson 2003)

Identification

See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Southern California to western Texas. (Wilson 2003)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Worker

Minor

Major

Queen

Male

Nomenclature

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

  • micula. Pheidole californica subsp. micula Wheeler, W.M. 1915b: 408 (s.w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1972b: 244 (l.). Raised to species: Gregg, 1959: 24. See also: Wilson, 2003: 585.

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

Description

From Wilson (2003): DIAGNOSIS A member of the “pilifera complex” of the larger pilifera group; for a characterization of the complex, see under Pheidole pilifera. P. micula is distinguished within the complex by the following combination of traits.

Major: entire occiput covered by transverse carinulae that sometimes circle downward at the sides of the head and continue to the anterior border of the head; pronotum very low relative to the mesonotal convexity; propodeal spine equilaterally triangular; petiolar node from the side tapering to a blunt point; postpetiole from above diamond-shaped.

Minor: eye very large and set well forward on the head; propodeal spines reduced to denticles. Stefan Cover, who has studied this species more intensively, offers the following cautionary note (in litt.): “The cephalic sculpture in P. micula majors is variable and may cause confusion. The type majors represent one extreme [as depicted here—EOW] in which the fine transverse rugae on the occiput wrap around the corners of the head and extend down the sides to the mandibular insertions. In most other collections these lateral rugae are partly absent, leaving the sides of the head posterior to the eye more or less smooth and shining, except for scattered punctures [foveolae].”

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Paratype major: HW 1.04, HL 1.18, SL 0.52, EL 0.16, PW 0.48.

Paratype minor: HW 0.48, HL 0.48, SL 0.44, EL 0.12, PW 0.30.

COLOR Major: clear yellow-orange, the head a shade darker than the rest of the body. Minor: concolorous clear yellow.


Pheidole micula Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Lectotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

ARIZONA: Parmalee, Huachuca Mts., col. William M. Wheeler. Museum of Comparative Zoology and American Museum of Natural History - as reported in Wilson (2003)

Etymology

L micula, small bit, crumb, or grain. (Wilson 2003)

References

  • Gregg, R. E. 1959 [1958]. Key to the species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 66: 7-48 (page 24, raised to species)
  • Moody, J. V., Francke, O. F. 1982. The ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of western Texas, Part 1: Subfamily Myrmicinae. Grad. Stud. Tex. Tech Univ. 27: 1–80.
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1972b. Ant larvae of the subfamily Myrmicinae: second supplement on the tribes Myrmicini and Pheidolini. J. Ga. Entomol. Soc. 7: 233-246 (page 244, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1915b. Some additions to the North American ant-fauna. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 34: 389-421 (page 408, soldier, worker described)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 585, fig. major, minor described)