Pheidole hyatti

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Pheidole hyatti
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. hyatti
Binomial name
Pheidole hyatti
Emery, 1895

Pheidole hyatti casent0102878 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole hyatti casent0102878 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Gregg (1963) encountered the Colorado colonies in warm pockets of short grass prairie at 1700 m, and Cole (1953g) found it in New Mexico in pinyon-juniper woodland at 2000 m. Numerous series I have examined from the southwestern United States, many collected and annotated by Stefan Cover, are from nests in open soil and beneath stones and cow pats in a wide range of xeric habitats, from desert grassland to open juniper-oak woodland. Similar habitat records have been published for Utah by Ingham (1959) and Allred (1982) and for Nevada by G. C. and J. N. Wheeler (1986g). Winged queens have been found in nests from 4 July to 7 August. Droual has described the remarkably efficient maneuvers of nest defense and evacuation by hyatti colonies under attack by army ants (Neivamyrmex nigrescens). Droual and Topoff (1981) have shown that emigrations to new sites occur at a high frequency even under apparently stable environmental conditions. The species needs closer study to investigate the possibility that it is a complex of sibling species, in which case the biological data will have to be sorted out for accuracy. (Wilson 2003)


The major of this species can be recognized by the relatively long scapes, which are flattened near the base. The posterior lateral lobes are finely granulose, and at least moderately shining. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Also see the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


P. hyatti is scarce in Colorado, where Gregg (1963) found it at only two localities. It also occurs, often locally abundant, from central Texas to southern California and northern Mexico. (Wilson 2003)

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


Creosotebush scrub, grasslands, riparian vegetation in arid ecosystems, with oaks and hack-berry, pinyon-juniper woodlands and ponderosa pine forests, up to 1920 meters in elevation, common in urban habitats. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)


Mackay and Mackay (2002) - Pheidole hyatti nests under stones, or simply in the soil, in areas with rocky loam, gravely soils, or sandy areas with abundant rocks. Brood is found in nests in March. They are usually not aggressive, and simply escape with the brood when the nest is disturbed. Workers are omnivorous or predaceous, and are attracted to subterranean Vienna sausage baits. Nests are raided by the army ant Neivamyrmex nigrescens.

Association with Other Organisms

This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Orasema tolteca (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).




Additional images can be found here


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

  • hyatti. Pheidole hyatti Emery, 1895c: 295 (s.w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1908e: 463 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953b: 74 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1972b: 244 (l.); Taber & Cokendolpher, 1988: 95 (k.). Senior synonym of ecitonodora: Creighton, 1950a: 180; of vaslitii, solitanea: Ward, 2000: 94. See also: Wilson, 2003: 302.
  • vaslitii. Pheidole vaslitii Pergande, 1896: 883 (s.w.) MEXICO. Combination in P. (Allopheidole): Forel, 1912f: 237; in P. (Cardiopheidole): Wheeler, W.M. 1914b: 48. Junior synonym of obtusospinosa: Forel, 1901c: 130. Revived from synonymy: Wheeler, W.M. 1914b: 48; Creighton, 1958: 203. Junior synonym of hyatti: Ward, 2000: 94.
  • ecitonodora. Pheidole hyatti var. ecitonodora Wheeler, W.M. 1908e: 463 (s.w.q.m.) U.S.A. [Misspelled as ecitodora by Emery, 1922e: 101.] Junior synonym of hyatti: Creighton, 1950a: 180.
  • solitanea. Pheidole hyatti subsp. solitanea Wheeler, W.M. 1915b: 409 (s.w.q.) U.S.A. Junior synonym of hyatti: Ward, 2000: 94.

Type Material

Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève and National Museum of Natural History - as reported in Wilson (2003) Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.


From Wilson (2003): Similar to Pheidole ariel, Pheidole desertorum and Pheidole vistana, differing from these and other members of the fallax group as follows. Reddish yellow (major) or light reddish brown (minor); antennal scape moderately long, flattened basally, approaching the occipital border to within about half its own maximum width; pilosity over all the body dorsum dense, very long, and erect to suberect; in dorsal-oblique view, pronotum faintly bilobous and humerus rounded; an extensive rugoreticulum stretches from in front of and mesad to each eye to the circular carinulae of the antennal fossa; dorsum of head and sides of mesosoma and waist foveolate and opaque.

Minor: occiput broad, lacking nuchal collar; pilosity of body dorsum dense, very long, and erect to suberect; propodeal spines small but well-formed; mesopleuron and sides of propodeum and waist foveolate and opaque; rest of body smooth and shiny.

According to Stefan Cover (personal communication), hyatti is likely a complex of sibling species.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Syntype major: HW 1.32, HL 1.34, SL 0.98, EL 0.22, PW 0.64. Minor (Huachuca Mts., Arizona): HW 0.60, HL 0.70, SL 0.86, EL 0.14, PW 0.40.

COLOR Major and minor: concolorous light reddish yellow to medium or dark brown.

Pheidole hyatti Wilson 2003.jpg

Figure. Upper: syntype, major. CALIFORNIA: San Jacinto. Lower: minor. ARIZONA: Huachuca Mts. (compared with minor syntype). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Synttype Specimen Labels


  • 2n = 20, karyotype = 20M (USA) (Taber & Cokendolpher, 1988).


Eponymous. (Wilson 2003)


  • Allred, D. M. 1982. Ants of Utah. Great Basin Nat. 42: 415–511.
  • Cole, A. C., Jr. 1953g. Studies of New Mexico ants, V: The genus Pheidole with synonymy (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Tenn. Acad. Sci. 28: 297–299.
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 180, Senior synonym of ecitonodora)
  • Droual, R. and H. Topoff. 1981. The emigration behavior of two species of Pheidole (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Psyche (Camb.) 88: 135–150
  • Emery, C. 1895d. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. (Schluss). Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 257-360 (page 295, soldier, worker described)
  • Gregg, R. E. 1963. The Ants of Colorado, With Reference to their Ecology, Taxonomy, and Geographic Distribution. Boulder: U. of Colorado Press, xvi + 792 pp.
  • Ingham, C. D. 1959. Ants of the Virgin River Basin, southwestern Utah. Thesis. U. of Utah. 140 pp.
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Taber, S. W.; Cokendolpher, J. C. 1988. Karyotypes of a dozen ant species from the southwestern U.S.A. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Caryologia 41: 93-102 (page 95, karyotype described)
  • Ward, P. S. 2000a. On the identity of Pheidole vaslitii Pergande (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a neglected ant from Baja California. J. Hym. Res. 9: 85-98 (page 94, Senior synonym of vaslitii and solitanea)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953b. The ant larvae of the myrmicine tribe Pheidolini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 55: 49-84 (page 74, larva described)
  • 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, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986g. The Ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1908h. The ants of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (Part I.). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24: 399-485 (page 463, queen, male described)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.