Pheidole paiute

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Pheidole paiute
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. paiute
Binomial name
Pheidole paiute
Gregg, 1959

Pheidole paiute casent0005764 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole paiute casent0005764 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

In Nevada, George C. and Jeanette N. Wheeler (1986) encountered paiute at 1040–2100 m in cottonwood groves, a triplex scrubland, pinyon-juniper woodland, and in disturbed habitats, nesting mostly under stones but also in open soil, where colonies built craters about 25 mm across. At Deep Canyon, near Palm Springs, California, the same authors found the species in larrea-palo verde scrub and desert, nesting in the soil; in one nest excavated, they found a cache of Oenothera clavaeformis seeds. (Wilson 2003)


Very similar to Pheidole bicarinata. See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Deserts of Nevada and southern California. (Wilson 2003)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 40.836439° to 30.3°.

Tropical South

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

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - These myrmecophiles were found in the nests of Pheidole paiute: Pupae of Orasema sp. (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae; det. B.D. Burks), 9 mi. SSW Beatty (Nye Co.) 3,000 ft. Fulgorid nymphs (Homoptera: Fulgoridae), 23 mi. ENE Reno (Storey Co.) 4,200 ft. Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Batuloides rotundicollis (LeC.) and Araeoschizus sulcicollis Horn (det. T.J. Spilman), both in the same nest, 7 mi. SSE Beatty (Nye Co.), 3,000 ft.; Conibiosoma elongatum (Horn) (det. T.J. Spilman), 6 mi. NE Gerlach (Pershing Co.) 3,900 ft.; 24 mi. ENE Reno (Washoe Co.) 4,200 ft.; 14 mi. SSE Yerington (Lyon Co.) 5,100 ft.

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Orasema sp. (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode independent; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).




Images from AntWeb

Pheidole paiute casent0005766 head 1.jpgPheidole paiute casent0005766 profile 1.jpgPheidole paiute casent0005766 dorsal 1.jpgPheidole paiute casent0005766 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0005766. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by UCDC, Davis, CA, USA.


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

  • paiute. Pheidole bicarinata subsp. paiute Gregg, 1959: 17 (s.w.) U.S.A. Subspecies of bicarinata: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1367. Raised to species: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1973e: 75; Wilson, 2003: 588.

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



Major: Length, 4.25 mm.; head length (excluding mandibles), 1.08 mm.; head width, 1.00 mm.; head index, 0.93; thorax length, 0.92 mm.

This ant runs in Creighton's key to Ph. bicarinata vinelandica, and comparison with undoubted specimens of that form confirms the close relationship. It is, however, not identical, and may be distinguished from vinelandica by the following characters: head slightly longer and overall body size a little larger; anterior clypeal margin broadly sinuate (a narrow median emargination in vinelandica and other subspecies of bicarinata is bounded by prominent though rounded lobes); cephalic sculpture more restricted anteriorly, so that in some cases, fully 2/3 of the head, including the frons, vertex, and occiput is smooth and shining; the humeral angles less prominent, and the pronotum with punctures completely absent and virtually no transverse rugules or striae, the surface very shining; basal face of the epinotum punctate, sometimes with one or two weak interspinal striae, but the surface somewhat shining (heavily punctate and opaque in vine-landica); strong rugae running diagonally from the mesoepinotal suture to the bases of the spines and enclosing the punctate epinotal base (absent on vine-landica); color almost identical except that the head is a little lighter yellowish red.

Minor: practically indistinguishable except a little larger in size than vinelandica and with longer epinotal spines.

Wilson (2003): A member of the “bicarinata complex” of the larger pilifera group; for a characterization of the complex, see under bicarinata. P. paiute is distinguished within the complex by the following combination of traits.

Major: propodeal spine in side view equilaterally triangular; humerus with a very low denticle in dorsal-oblique view; postpetiolar node laterally angular; sculpturing of head consists of carinulae confined entirely to the part anterior to the level of the posterior margin of the eyes.

Minor: some of the hairs on the promesonotal dorsum are very long; propodeal spines in side view equilaterally triangular.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Paratype major: HW 1.04, HL 1.14, SL 0.54, EL 0.18, PW 0.46. Paratype minor: HW 0.50, HL 0.56, SL 0.48, EL 0.12, PW 0.30.

COLOR Major: concolorous dark yellow.

Minor: body brownish yellow, appendages brownish yellow to clear yellow.

Pheidole paiute Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Type Material

Holotype: Major. Paratypes: 36 majors and 135 minors. The type material was collected by W. S. Creighton at Goldfield, Nevada, on October 17, 1952, elevation 5800 feet, and was obtained from two colonies.

Wilson (2003) - NEVADA: Goldfield, Esmeraldo Co., Mojave Desert, col. William S. Creighton. Museum of Comparative Zoology


Named after one of the Amerindian peoples of the southwestern United States. (Wilson 2003)


  • Gregg, R. E. 1959 [1958]. Key to the species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 66: 7-48 (page 17, soldier, worker described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1973e. Ants of Deep Canyon. Riverside, Calif.: University of California, xiii + 162 pp. (page 75, Raised to species)
  • Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 588, fig. major, minor described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • La Rivers I. 1968. A first listing of the ants of Nevada. Biological Society of Nevada, Occasional Papers 17: 1-12.
  • Wheeler G. C., and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp.
  • Wilson, E.O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Genus. Harvard University Press