P. oxyops occurs in cerrado (savanna) and the edges of semideciduous forest. In the region of San Antonio de Posse, São Paulo, Fernandes et al. (1994) found the species abundant along the forest edge and in cotton fields. In the latter it was very effective in removing adult boll weevils (Anthonomus grandis) from the ground, accounting in one study period for 90% of the predation due to ants, where predation by ants as a whole destroyed 20% of the weevils. Fernandes et al. use the name P. oliveirai, which I erroneously supplied from an early draft of the manuscript of my monograph; the specimens supplied me and hence the name I erected in manuscript fall under oxyops. (Wilson 2003)
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
See the description in the nomenclature section.
Keys including this Species
Kempf (1972b) and I have recorded oxyops, in addition to the type series from Paraguay, from Salta, northern Argentina, and Goiás, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, and São Paulo in southeastern and central Brazil. (Wilson 2003)
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Pheidole oxyops builds subterranean nests, with an external architecture that is distinctive and easily recognizable by its wide and specific entrance hole, measuring up to 12.2 cm in diameter, denoting a pitfall-trap. Excavations revealed that the nests are perpendicular relative to the ground, beginning with a cylindrical channel with a mean length of 13.5 cm, containing irregular formations, and whose diameter becomes progressively narrower until the first chamber is formed. As the channel continues, dish-like chambers appear, interconnected by channels that become progressively narrower and longer, while the chambers are arranged at greater distances from each other as nest depth increases. Both channels and chambers are located on the vertical projection of the entrance hole. Nests may reach a depth of up to 5.09 m, with a number of chambers ranging between 4 and 14. (Forti et al., 2007)
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- oxyops. Pheidole oxyops Forel, 1908c: 377 (s.q.) PARAGUAY. Forel, 1911c: 303 (w.m.). Senior synonym of genalis, regia: Kempf, 1964e: 58. See also: Wilson, 2003: 212.
- regia. Pheidole oxyops subsp. regia Forel, 1908c: 378 (s.w.) BRAZIL. Forel, 1909a: 258 (q.). Junior synonym of oxyops: Kempf, 1964e: 58.
- genalis. Pheidole genalis Borgmeier, 1929: 199, pl. 7, fig. 4 (s.w.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of oxyops: Kempf, 1964e: 58.
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 large (major Head Width 1.90 mm), reddish brown member of the diligens group easily distinguished as follows.
Major: head in side view elliptical, tapering equally toward the occiput and clypeus on opposite ends; antennal scape reaches much less than half the distance from eye to occipital corner; in dorsal-oblique view, the two lobes of the pronotum and mesonotal convexity present a profile of three equally spaced convexities, and the propodeal dorsum has a small convexity just anterior to the spine; in side view propodeal spine short, thin, and vertical to propodeal dorsal face; postpetiole from above conulate; no rugoreticulum present anywhere; anterior and parts of lateral margins of pronotum carinulate.
Minor: a neck and nuchal collar present; propodeal spine reduced almost to a denticle.
MEASUREMENTS (mm) Syntype major: HW 1.92, HL 2.12, SL 1.06, EL 0.30, PW 0.80. Syntype minor: HW 0.74, HL 1.02, SL 1.24, EL 0.22, PW 0.54.
COLOR Major and minor: concolorous light brown.
Figure. Upper: syntype, major. Lower: syntype, minor. Scale bars = 1 mm.
Gr oxyops, sharp-eyed or sharp-faced, allusion uncertain. (Wilson 2003)
- Fernandes, W. D., P. S. Oliveira, S. L. Carralho, and M. E. M. Habab. 1994. Pheidole ants as potential biological control agents of the boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis (Col., Curculionidae), in Southeast Brazil. J. Appl. Entomol. 118: 437–441.
- Forel, A. 1908h. Ameisen aus Sao Paulo (Brasilien), Paraguay etc. gesammelt von Prof. Herm. v. Ihering, Dr. Lutz, Dr. Fiebrig, etc. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 58: 340-418 (page 377, soldier, queen described)
- Forel, A. 1911e. Ameisen des Herrn Prof. v. Ihering aus Brasilien (Sao Paulo usw.) nebst einigen anderen aus Südamerika und Afrika (Hym.). Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1911: 285-312 (page 303, worker, male described)
- Forti, L.C., Camargo, R.S., Fujihara, R.T., Lopes, J.F.S. 2007. The nest architecture of the ant, Pheidole oxyops Forel, 1908 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insect Science 14:437-442.
- Kempf, W. W. 1964e. Miscellaneous studies on Neotropical ants. III. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. 7: 45-71 (page 58, senior synonym of genalis and regia)
- Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 212, fig. major, minor described)