Pheidole laselva

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Pheidole laselva
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. laselva
Binomial name
Pheidole laselva
Wilson, 2003

This species occurs in mature wet forest habitats. In Costa Rica it is common below 500m elevation but there are records to 1220m. Major and minor workers are common at baits and in Winkler samples. Nest are in soft rotten wood and under loose bark of rotting logs. The collection at MCZ contains several series from Colombia and one from Ecuador that closely match the morphology of Pheidole laselva. All of them are from montane areas, above 500m, instead of lowland rainforest like the Costa Rican population.(Longino 2009)


See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Widespread over the Atlantic lowlands and mid-Atlantic slopes of Costa Rica (Longino 1997). I have also seen material from Providencia and Valle, Colombia; Aragua, Venezuela; and Guayas, Ecuador. (Wilson 2003)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 15.6864989° to 3.138055556°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Colombia, Costa Rica (type locality), Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Stefan Cover has collected this species from soil nests. Winged reproductives have been found in nests at the La Selva Biological Station in January and March, and in Ecuador in late July. (Wilson 2003)



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

  • ebenina. Pheidole ebenina Wilson, 2003: 412, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Junior synonym of laselva: Longino, 2009: 49.
  • laselva. Pheidole laselva Wilson, 2003: 442, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Senior synonym of ebenina: Longino, 2009: 49.

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


DIAGNOSIS Close to and possibly synonymous with Pheidole ebenina, also similar in various traits to Pheidole albipes, Pheidole amabilis, Pheidole alticola, Pheidole browni, Pheidole crinita, Pheidole delicata, Pheidole euryscopa, Pheidole hedlundorum, Pheidole lustrata, Pheidole mallota, Pheidole melastomae, Pheidole monteverdensis and Pheidole tillandsiarum, differing as follows.

Major: carinulae on dorsal surface of head covering only half to two-thirds the anterior dorsal surface of the head; remainder of head, all of mesosoma, and dorsum of waist smooth and shiny; eye set well forward on head, so that the anterior margin is only about an Eye Length from the anterior genal margin; promesonotal profile a single smooth curve; propodeal spine small, equilaterally triangular; postpetiole from above elliptical, with angular lateral margins.

Minor: eye large, set well forward on the head; head and body almost completely smooth and shiny; propodeal spine small, equilaterally triangular; occiput broad, moderately concave.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.72, HL 0.80, SL 0.40, EL 0.10, PW 0.38. Paratype minor: HW 0.38, HL 0.42, SL 0.36, EL 0.08, PW 0.26.

COLOR Major: body and antennal scape concolorous medium brown; legs medium yellow; other appendages brownish yellow. Minor: body and appendages brownish yellow (“tan”) except for gaster, which is medium brown.

Pheidole laselva Wilson 2003.jpg

Figure. Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. Scale bars = 1 mm.

Type Material

Longino (2009):

Holotype major worker and associated paratype minor worker: Costa Rica, Heredia, near Puerto Viejo, La Selva Biological Station (Cover/Moffett/Tobin) Museum of Comparative Zoology (examined).

Pheidole ebenina Holotype major worker and associated paratype minor worker: Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Guanacaste Conservation Area, Pitilla research station, 500m, 14 Oct 1992, tuna bait (Olson) MCZ (examined).


Named after the type locality.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Longino J. T. 2009. Additions to the taxonomy of New World Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2181: 1-90.
  • Longino J. T. L., and M. G. Branstetter. 2018. The truncated bell: an enigmatic but pervasive elevational diversity pattern in Middle American ants. Ecography 41: 1-12.
  • Longino J. T., J. Coddington, and R. K. Colwell. 2002. The ant fauna of a tropical rain forest: estimating species richness three different ways. Ecology 83: 689-702.
  • Longino J. T., and R. K. Colwell. 2011. Density compensation, species composition, and richness of ants on a neotropical elevational gradient. Ecosphere 2(3): 16pp.
  • Longino J. et al. ADMAC project. Accessed on March 24th 2017 at
  • Smith M. A., W. Hallwachs, D. H. Janzen. 2014. Diversity and phylogenetic community structure of ants along a Costa Rican elevational gradient. Ecography 37(8): 720-731.