Pheidole cockerelli

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Pheidole cockerelli
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. cockerelli
Binomial name
Pheidole cockerelli
Wheeler, W.M., 1908

Pheidole cockerelli casent0102872 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole cockerelli casent0102872 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

In Colorado, Gregg (1963) found cockerelli nesting at 1700–1900 m, under rocks in the clayey soil of short-grass prairie. Creighton (1950a) lists it as a desert ant in Arizona and New Mexico. Stefan Cover (personal communication) found it in the Chiricahua, Huachuca, and Santa Maria Mts. of Arizona at 1460–1740 m nesting in open soil and grass clumps variously in desert grassland, grazed grasslands with scattered oak, and juniper-oak creek-valley woodland. In western Texas, O. F. Francke encountered cockerelli in a nest in the open soil of mesquite-creosote-cactus scrubland (Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard series). Winged reproductives were present in Arizona nests from late June to mid-July. (Wilson 2003)


See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Oklahoma, Colorado, western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona. (Wilson 2003)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 40.002764° to 26.534722°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

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.


Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.



Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)




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

  • cockerelli. Pheidole cockerelli Wheeler, W.M. 1908e: 464 (s.w.) U.S.A. See also: Wilson, 2003: 277.

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


From Wilson (2003): A member of the fallax group distinguished by the following combination of traits.

Major: light reddish brown; a rugoreticulum extends from around the anterior and posterior margins of each eye mesad to the circular carinulae of the antennal fossa; longitudinal carinulae densely covering the frontal lobes extend posteriorly to the occipital border; anterior half of pronotal dorsum and posterior half of the mesonotum transversely carinulate; all of the head, mesosoma, and waist foveolate and opaque to subopaque except the dorsum of the petiole, which, with the gaster, is smooth and shiny.

Minor: all of the head and mesosoma foveolate and opaque; dorsum of the waist and all of the gaster smooth and shiny; occiput narrowed, with a thin collar.

Similar to Pheidole acamata, Pheidole nubicola and Pheidole sciara, as well as Pheidole acamata, Pheidole dione, Pheidole gulo, Pheidole hyatti, Pheidole midas, Pheidole potosiana and Pheidole sciara, differing in many details in the above characters and others as illustrated. Most likely to be confused with sciara, a less common species that occurs through much of the range of cockerelli.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Lectotype major: HW 1.38, HL 1.50, SL 1.02, EL 0.24, PW 0.74. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.62, HL 0.78, SL 0.90, EL 0.18, PW 0.44.

COLOR Major: concolorous light reddish brown, except rear half of gaster, which is a contrasting medium brown.

Minor: concolorous yellowish brown.

Pheidole cockerelli Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Type Material

From Wilson (2003): NEW MEXICO: Arroyo Pecos, Las Vegas (T. D. A. Cockerell and W. M. Wheeler). Museum of Comparative Zoology - as reported in Wilson (2003)


Named after the American entomologist and co-collector of the type series T. D. A. Cockerell. (Wilson 2003)

Worker Morphology


  • Wheeler, W. M. 1908h. The ants of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (Part I.). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24: 399-485 (page 464, soldier, worker described)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.(page 277, fig. major, minor described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Cole A. C., Jr. 1956. Observations of some members of the genus Pheidole in the southwestern United States with synonymy (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 31: 112-118.
  • Cover S. P., and R. A. Johnson. 20011. Checklist of Arizona Ants. Downloaded on January 7th at
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Eastlake Chew A. and Chew R. M. 1980. Body size as a determinant of small-scale distributions of ants in evergreen woodland southeastern Arizona. Insectes Sociaux 27: 189-202
  • Fernandes, P.R. XXXX. Los hormigas del suelo en Mexico: Diversidad, distribucion e importancia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
  • Gregg, R.T. 1963. The Ants of Colorado.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.
  • McDonald D. L., D. R. Hoffpauir, and J. L. Cook. 2016. Survey yields seven new Texas county records and documents further spread of Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Southwestern Entomologist, 41(4): 913-920.
  • Moody J. V., and O. F. Francke. 1982. The Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Western Texas Part 1: Subfamily Myrmicinae. Graduate Studies Texas Tech University 27: 80 pp.
  • O'Keefe S. T., J. L. Cook, T. Dudek, D. F. Wunneburger, M. D. Guzman, R. N. Coulson, and S. B. Vinson. 2000. The Distribution of Texas Ants. The Southwestern Entomologist 22: 1-92.
  • Roeder K. A., and D. V. Roeder. 2016. A checklist and assemblage comparison of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Check List 12(4): 1935.
  • Roeder K. A., and D. V. Roeder. 2017. The Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Oklahoma: new species records and distributional notes. Check List 13(2): 2071.
  • Smith M. R. 1935. A list of the ants of Oklahoma (Hymen.: Formicidae). Entomological News 46: 235-241.
  • Van Pelt, A. 1983. Ants of the Chisos Mountains, Texas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) . Southwestern Naturalist 28:137-142.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wheeler G. C., and J. Wheeler J. 1989. A checklist of the ants of Oklahoma. Prairie Naturalist 21: 203-210.
  • Wheeler, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1985. A checklist of Texas ants. Prairie Naturalist 17:49-64.
  • Wilson, E.O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Genus. Harvard University Press
  • Young J., and D. E. Howell. 1964. Ants of Oklahoma. Miscellaneous Publication. Oklahoma Agricultural Experimental Station 71: 1-42.
  • Young, J. and D.E. Howell. 1964. Ants of Oklahoma. Miscellaneous Publications of Oklahoma State University MP-71