List of Afrotropical Pheidole by species group

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This list follows Fischer et al (2012) [1]. Group diagnosis are also from this reference.

  • Synonymies have been updated
  • Pheidole punctulata spinosa is excluded as it has been collected only in Madagascar.
  • Subspecies of species listed under a group in the original article are tentatively placed under the same group and complex than the species cited
  • The rest are placed under incertae sedis

aurivillii group

Larger species (minor worker HW: 0.52–0.79 mm, n=52) with relatively long appendages (SI: 107–145, FI: 142– 247). Minor workers: characterized by oval head that is longer than wide, long promesonotum, declining slowly to metanotal groove, absent or inconspicuous mesonotal process. Sculpture on mesonotum, mesopleuron and propodeum uniform, pilosity relatively long, erect and flexous. Postpetiole with shallow ventral process. Major workers: head with mostly irregular rugose-punctate sculpture. Frontal carinae and antennal scrobe absent or inconspicuous, inner hypostomal teeth developed to large, mesonotal process and postpetiole ventral process present. Pilosity as in minor and very abundant.

Other potentially related species and several undescribed morphospecies probably belong to this group

excellens group

Species with square-like heads in both, minor and major workers, shorter appendages (minor worker SI: 86–115, n=32), often extensive and coarse body sculpture (sometimes only on pronotum), abundant and fine pilosity and small postpetioles, in major workers with a lateral process. Minor workers: characterized by wide, square head with straight posterior margin and subangulate to angulate corners, relatively short scape, barely to moderately exceeding occipital margin. Postpetiole very short, lower than petiole, about as wide as long. Body often deeply punctate-rugulose/rugose [e.g. excellens Mayr, liengmei Forel], with coarse ridges along dorsopropodeum, but some species mostly smooth [sculpturata rhodesiana Forel], to superficially sculptured [sculpturata]. Usually with high amount of very thin and moderately short body pilosity, often pelt-like, at least on the head. Spines short to long, linearly spinose. Major workers: head usually elongate, much longer than wide, or at least square-like with parallel to subparallel sides, sometimes wider anteriorly than posteriorly. Submedian and outer hypostomal teeth well-developed to large, median tooth absent. Promesonotal dome high, spines quasi-vertical, often thick, blunt or truncated. Postpetiole laterally with an (often strongly) extended, wing-like, posteriorly curved process. Pilosity and sculpture similar to minor workers.

Several probably undescribed morphospecies are located in the collections of BMNH, CASC and ZFMK.

katonae complex Small species (minor worker HW: 0.57–0.63, n=8), possessing short legs and spines, and relatively larger eyes

excellens complex Larger species (minor worker HW: 0.69–0.93, n=24), which possess longer legs and spines, and relatively smaller eyes

incertae sedis in the excellens group

megacephala group

Relatively small species (minor worker HW: 0.51–0.66 mm, n=18), with relatively short appendages (SI: 117–122, FI: 106–129) and spines. Minor workers: posterior head margin weakly rounded and eyes with eight or more ommatidia in the longest row. Promesonotum without mesonotal process and often smoothly declining towards metanotal groove, spines very short or minute. Petiole relatively short, postpetiole comparatively large with ventral process. Major workers: head in full-face view often broadest at mid-point or posterior, anteriorly often narrower, head sometimes slightly heart shaped. Longitudinal rugulae mostly ending on frons, upper half of head usually smooth and shiny, antennal scrobe weak to inconspicuous, inner hypostomal teeth mostly very small or inconspicuous and medium tooth absent. Mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole similar to minor workers.

nigeriensis group

Very small species (minor worker HW: 0.41–0.56 mm, n=60), with short scapes and legs (SI: 90–114, FI: 95–122). Minor workers: posterior head margin straight to weakly concave and eyes small with a maximum of six ommatidia in the longest row. Promesonotal dome well-rounded to slightly angulate in profile view, propodeum, spines and postpetiole relatively short. Postpetiole not higher than petiolar node and without ventral process. Major worker: head longer than wide, very large compared to the rest of the body, anteriorly weakly longitudinally rugulose. Upper half of head mostly smooth (similar to megacephala group), inner hypstomal teeth well-developed to relatively large. Mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole similar to minor workers.

And several morphospecies collected from different localities.

pulchella group

Relatively large species (minor worker HW: 0.66–0.97 mm (n=154), major worker HW: 1.63–2.35 (n=53)), with relatively long spines in both, minor (PSLI: 21–40) and major workers (PSLI: 11–19), which are usually curved backwards, except in P. diomandei. Minors always with a distinct promesonotal process, followed by a well-developed or conspicuous smaller process and a distinctly impressed metanotal groove. Majors always with a distinct promesonotal process and hypostomal margin of the head always with two conspicuous inner and two outer submedian teeth, but lacking the median process. Both worker subcastes with a well-developed postpetiolar ventral process, similar to the species of the indica complex, but distinctly separated from them by the previous character combination.

KEY TO SPECIES

speculifera group

Medium to large species (minor worker HW: 0.52–0.81 mm, n=26), the minor workers characterized by large relatively long appendages (SI: 111–123), and both worker subcastes with large postpetiole that is 2–3 times wider than long. Minor workers: long antennal scapes, surpassing the posterior head margin by about ¼ of their length. Posterior head margin compressed, weakly rounded [prelli complex] to evenly rounded [crassinoda, speculifera]. Postpetiole large and voluminous, as long as [prelli complex] or longer [crassinoda, speculifera] than petiole and more than twice as wide. Pilosity moderately abundant, either short and stout, with blunt or split apices [crassinoda, prelli] or longer and flexous [speculifera]. Major workers: head either massive and thick, with sculpture variable, frontal carinae & antennal scrobes absent, inner hypostomal teeth strongly reduced and median tooth absent [speculifera complex] or head less massive, with strong longitudinal and transverse rugose-punctate sculpture, long, curved and broadly extended frontal carinae, inner hypostomal teeth and median tooth present and conspicuous [prelli complex]. Spines thick and short, almost lobate. Postpetiole very massive, in dorsal view about 2–3 times wider than petiole, with a conspicuously spiked lateral process.


prelli complex

Slightly smaller species (minor worker HW: 0.52–0.56 mm, n=5), which possess relatively large eyes (EI: 31–33)

speculifera complex

Slightly to considerably larger species (minor worker HW: 0.60–0.81 mm, n=21) with smaller eyes (EI: 22–28)

New material and undescribed species from different localities can be found in the collections of BMNH, CASC and ZFMK.

incertae sedis

Under this list , the species not cited in the article, but present in the Afrotropical region.

References

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