Pheidole lamia

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Pheidole lamia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. lamia
Binomial name
Pheidole lamia
Wheeler, W.M., 1901

Pheidole lamia casent0104664 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole lamia casent0104664 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

From Wilson (2003): P. lamia is a reclusive, soil-nesting species. Feener (1981) found that the species, which is seemingly rare because of its infrequent encounters with entomologists, is actually quite abundant at the type locality (Austin, Texas), at least in the secondary oak-hackenberry woodland of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory. In both Florida and Texas mature colonies each contain 500-1500 minor workers, and a much smaller number of major workers. Nests are constructed directly in soil beneath leaf litter, and thus are unusually difficult to find. Buren et al. (1977), studying Florida colonies in laboratory nests, found that the phragmotic majors use their bulldozer-like heads effectively in defense against marauding thief ants of the genus Solenopsis. At Austin, minor workers were observed foraging around the clock in warm weather (Feener 1981).

At a Glance • Phragmotic  



See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Northern Florida west to at least Austin, Texas. (Wilson 2003)

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








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

  • lamia. Pheidole lamia Wheeler, W.M. 1901b: 534, fig. 11 (s.w.) U.S.A. See also: Feener, 1981: 269; Wilson, 2003: 546.

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


From Wilson (2003): DIAGNOSIS A typical member of the lamia group: the major has a phragmotic head, with the anterior portion incorporating the clypeus and mandibles flattened (truncated), and deep antennal scrobes. This species is easily distinguished from the other members of the lamia group (Pheidole colobopsis, Pheidole pelor, Pheidole truncula) by the very elongate head of the major and Sculpturing of its head, which consists exclusively of parallel longitudinal carinulae that extend almost all the way to the occiput; and by the reduction of the propodeal spine in the major and minor to denticles.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Lectotype major: HW 0.62, HL 0.92, SL 0.37, EL 0.00, PW 0.00. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.44, HL 0.52, SL 0.48, EL 0.06, PW 0.30.

COLOR Major: concolorous yellow, with a faint reddish tinge.

Minor: concolorous yellow.

Pheidole lamia Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Lectotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

TEXAS: Austin (col. W. M. Wheeler). Museum of Comparative Zoology and American Museum of Natural History - as reported in Wilson (2003)


Gr lamia, a witch or monster that sucks blood, obviously an overstatement in reference to the bizarre head of the major. (Wilson 2003)