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 Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • 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)


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Deyrup M., C. Johnson, G. C. Wheeler, J. Wheeler. 1989. A preliminary list of the ants of Florida. Florida Entomologist 72: 91-101
  • Deyrup, M. 2003. An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 86(1):43-48.
  • Feener D. H. 1981. Notes on the biology of Pheidole lamia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) at its type locality (Austin, Texas). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 54(2): 269-277.
  • Graham, J.H., A.J. Krzysik, D.A. Kovacic, J.J. Duda, D.C. Freeman, J.M. Emlen, J.C. Zak, W.R. Long, M.P. Wallace, C. Chamberlin-Graham, J.P. Nutter and H.E. Balbach. 2008. Ant Community Composition across a Gradient of Disturbed Military Landscapes at Fort Benning, Georgia. Southeastern Naturalist 7(3):429-448
  • Gregg R. E. 1956. An extension of range for the ant, Pheidole lamia Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological News 67: 37-39.
  • Gregg R. E. 1959. Key to the species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 66: 7-48.
  • Hill J.G. & Brown R. L. 2010. The Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Fauna of Black Belt Prairie Remnants in Alabama and Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist. 9: 73-84
  • Jusino-Atresino R., and S. A. Phillips, Jr. 1992. New ant records for Taylor Co., Texas. The Southern Naturalist 34(4): 430-433.
  • 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.
  • Morrison, L.W. 2002. Long-Term Impacts of an Arthropod-Community Invasion by the Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta. Ecology 83(8):2337-2345
  • Naves M. A. 1985. A monograph of the genus Pheidole in Florida, USA (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insecta Mundi 1: 53-90
  • 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.
  • Smith M. R. 1931. An additional annotated list of the ants of Mississippi (Hym.: Formicoidea). Entomological News 42: 16-24.
  • Smith M. R. 1936. A list of the ants of Texas. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 44: 155-170.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1901. The compound and mixed nests of American ants. Part II. The known cases of social symbiosis among American ants. American Naturalist. 35: 513-539.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1908. The ants of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (Part I.). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24: 399-485.
  • 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