Crematogaster colei

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Crematogaster colei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Crematogaster
Species group: scutellaris
Species: C. colei
Binomial name
Crematogaster colei
Buren, 1968

Crematogaster colei casent0102829 profile 1.jpg

Crematogaster colei casent0102829 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

In New Mexico this species, when found, typically nests under stones (Mackay and Mackay 2002).


Buren (1968) - This is a well defined species although it is without any especially distinctive features in the worker which allow it to be immediately recognized without a little study. The angulate appearance of the hemilobes behind in profile is characteristic but is also possessed in some degree by the related Crematogaster opuntiae, Crematogaster californica, and Crematogaster depilis, and also by the larger specimens of several other species. With a little study it may be separated from californica and opuntiae by the longer and somewhat differently shaped scapes, and the differently shaped head and petiole, and fromdepilis by the longer scapes, less flattened and more slender pro-mesonotum in the smaller workers, darker color, and the presence of thoracic hairs in at least some specimens. They also live in different habitats. The distinctive characters of the female show that it must be separate from both californica and depilis.

Keys including this Species


Mountains of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.



Buren (1968) - This species may be found mainly under rocks in various grassland associations at elevations over 5000 feet. The related species Crematogaster californica, Crematogaster opuntiae, Crematogaster depilis, and Crematogaster larreae are all true desert species usually found below 5000 ft. in association with various desert plants. They cannot ordinarily be found beneath rocks although they may be seen there occasionally under certain circumstances, such as warm weather after winter rains, or after very heavy summer rains.

Nevada Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have I record of this species. The nest was in an old burn in Pinyon-Juniper Biome and was under a stone.



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • colei. Crematogaster (Crematogaster) colei Buren, 1968b: 108 (w.q.) U.S.A. (New Mexico, Arizona, Texas).
    • Type-material: holotype worker, paratype workers, paratype queens (numbers not stated).
    • Type-locality: U.S.A.: New Mexico, Sacramento Mts, Wooten, 7500 ft, 4.vii.1917 (W.M. Wheeler); paratypes: with same data, New Mexico, Guadalupe Mts, Cottonwood Cany. Pass, 5800 ft (L.F. Byars), New Mexico, 14 mi. W Horse Springs, 7350 ft (A.C. Cole), New Mexico, Embudo, 5850 ft (A.C. Cole), New Mexico, Galesto, 6050 ft (A.C. Cole), New Mexico, 7 mi. W Magdalena, 6850 ft (A.C. Cole), New Mexico, 15 mi. N Ruidosa (W.F. Buren), New Mexico, nr Luna (W.F. Buren), Arizona, Huachuca Mts, Montezuma Pass, 6600 ft (L.F. Byars), Huachuca Mts, Miller Cany., Pic. Gr., 6000 ft (L.F. Byars), Huachuca Mts, Ash Cany., 6500 ft (L.F. Byars), Texas, Davis Mts, nr McDonald Observatory (W.F. Buren).
    • Type-depositories: USNM (holotype); AMNH, CASC, LACM, MCZC, USNM (paratypes).
    • Junior synonym of vermiculata: Morgan & Mackay, 2017: 396.
    • Status as species: Hunt & Snelling, 1975: 21; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1378; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1986g: 47; Mackay, Lowrie, et al. 1988: 88; Bolton, 1995b: 150; Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 88; Ward & Blaimer, 2022: 912.
    • Distribution: Mexico, U.S.A.

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



Length 3 to 4 mm.

Head broader than long, with weakly convex sides, rounded posterior corners and nearly straight posterior border. Except in the very largest workers, the head is always somewhat narrowed behind the eyes. Scapes long and slender, as long as head length, and surpassing posterior corners by two diameters or more. The scapes are also not evenly incrassated to the tips as in many species, but are very gradually thickened to about five-sixths of their length from the insertions and then slightly tapered again to the apex. Funicult also slender, and all funicular joints longer than broad. Thorax flattened above and with strong humeri as in californica and depilis in large workers. The smaller workers have the thorax more slender and are without noticeable humeri. Mesonotal carina usually reduced to a short, blunt ridge. Mesonotal declivity present but rather gently sloping. Spines slender, sharp, usually straight, moderately divergent, longer than interbasal distance, sometimes only a little shorter than thoracic least width. Petiole broad, dorsal face about twice as broad as long (This is proportionally wider than in californica); anterior corners of petiole somewhat rounded, seen from above. Hemilobes of postpetiole somewhat produced posteriorly and always angulate behind when seen in profile.

Mandibles weakly striate. Clypeus completely and distinctly striate. Sides of forward part of frons striata-punctate, this fading out at about level of eyes. Genae striate with faint intercalated punctures, becoming striatapunctate at about the level of the eyes, and this carried past the eyes and fading out a short distance caudad of the eyes. All rest of head smooth and shining except in the very largest workers. Thorax with a predominately punctate sculpture, but this rather shallow so that many parts are subshining. Front of pronotum with very weak irrregular rugae. Base of epinotum with weak longitudinal rugae. The punctures are more shallow on dorsum of mesonotum and sides of pronotum so that these parts are more nearly shining, but one receives tiny reflections of light from all parts of the thorax, showing that all of the punctures have smooth bottoms. Metapleura striato-punctate. Declivity of epinotum smooth and shining. Petiole and postpetiole very faintly punctate.

Pubescence closely appressed on all surfaces, including legs and scapes. Erect hairs very few, only one on each shoulder of thorax or often entirely absent; a single pair each on petiole and postpetiole, sometimes the petiolar pair absent; in rows of four or five or less at posterior borders of each gastric tergite.

Concolorously black, occasionally the thorax a little lighter.


Length 10 mm.

Head rectangular, distinctly broader than long, with nearly straight sides, and slightly convex posterior border. Scapes surpassing hind corners by about one-half diameter. Frontal furrow rather weak. Ocelli not nearly as large as in californica, rather rounded and not much distorting the surface of the head, greatest diameters about one-tenth the length of the head. Head about the same width as thorax. Mesoscutum a little longer than broad. Scutellum much wider than long. Metanotum not produced. Spines about twice as long as diameters of bases. Sides of epinotum evenly and weakly convex seen from above. Petiole with rather strongly produced anterior corners. Hemilobes of postpetiole angularly produced behind in profile as in the worker.

Mandibles striate, with rather smooth, deep sulcus near base. Clypeus striate, with median shining area. Genae strongly striate, this sculpture carried past the eyes to the level of the lateral ocelli. Front, vertex, and occiput, smooth and shining. Pronotum weakly striata-punctate, subshining, becoming smooth and shining near posterior border. Mesopleura smooth and shining except dorsal anterior quarter, this somewhat roughened. Sides of mesosternum striate and with very faint intercalated punctures, the same sculpture present also on sides of epinotum and meta-epimera. Base of epinotum with irregular striae or rugae directed toward the spines. All the above thoracic surfaces at least subshining even though sculptured. Sides of petiole with strong striae. Postpetiole nearly smooth.

Erect hairs slender, moderately numerous on all parts. Pubescent hairs rather long, especially on the head, on venter of head very long and suberect or erect and undifferentiated there from the erect hairs, forming with them a dense brush of flexuous hairs. Pubescent hairs appressed on all other parts.

Concolorously dark brown.

Type Material

Wooten, Sacramento Mts., New Mexico.

Holotype worker and paratype workers and females from Wooten, New Mexico. They are labeled “Wooten, Sacramento Mts., N.M., 7500 ft., July 4, 1917, Wheeler.” The holotype and several paratypes will be deposited in the National Museum and others will be sent to the Cornell Univ. collection. I also have seen a number of paratype workers from each of the following stations: Montezuma Pass, Huachuca Mts., Ariz.- 6600 feet, under stone in oak-pinyon forest. Cottonwood Cany. Pass, Guadalupe Mts., New Mexico- 5800 feet, under stone, oak-pinyon forest. Miller Cany., Pic. Gr., Huachuca Mts., Ariz. - 6000 feet, oak-pinyon forest. Ash Cany., Huachuca Mts., Ariz.- 6500 ft., under stone, oak-pinyon forest. All of these collected by Dr. L. F. Byars. Numerous paratypes are also known from the following localities, all of these collected by Dr. A. C. Cole, Jr., 14 mi. west of Horse Springs, N. Mex., 7,350 ft., nest under stone in semidesert bordering yellow piue. Embudo, N. Mex., 5,850 ft. semidesert grassland, running on soil. Galesto, N. Mex., 6,050 ft., semidesert shrub area, nest under stone (specimens mixed with punctulata, possibly some sort of mixed colony?—or two nests under the same stone?) Seven miles west of Magdalena, N. Mex., 6,850 ft., nest under stone, semidesert grassland. I have also captured this species on a number of occasions, and have marked specimens from these localities as para types; near McDonald Observatory, Davis Mts., Texas, under rocks; 15 mi. N. of Ruidosa, N. Mex. under rocks in open pasture; and near Luna, N. Mex., in pinyon pine, juniper, grassland. Paratypes also will be sent to the Museum of Comparative Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, California Academy of Natural Sciences, and to the private collection of Dr. A. C. Cole, Univ. of Tennessee. I will retain paratypes from as many of the series as possible.


This species is named in honor of the outstanding American myrmecologist, Dr. Arthur C. Cole, Jr.