Pheidole plebecula

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Pheidole plebecula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. plebecula
Binomial name
Pheidole plebecula
Forel, 1899

Pheidole plebecula casent0904359 p 1 high.jpg

Pheidole plebecula casent0904359 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


This species occurs in wet forest habitats. Workers are common on the ground and on low vegetation. They readily recruit to baits, and major workers are often at baits with minor workers. Nests are in soil, with a simple gallery leading to a chamber about 10cm deep. The two nests that have been excavated contained single queens. A colony collected at the type locality by Stefan Cover et al. was nesting in primary rainforest in and beneath a rotten branch on the ground. (Longino 2009, 2019; Wilson 2003)


Longino (2019) - Local populations of P. plebecula vary greatly in color and sculpture. Color varies from yellow orange to dark brown, and to varying extent bicolored, with lighter head and mesosoma and darker gaster. The face of the major varies from being entirely foveolate/rugulose to completely smooth and shining. Pilosity can vary as well, with most populations having multiple pairs of stiff setae on the mesosomal dorsum, but some with no dorsal setae.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality), Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.

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.

  • plebecula. Pheidole plebecula Forel, 1899c: 68 (s.) COSTA RICA.
    • Unidentifiable taxon, incertae sedis in Pheidole: Wilson, 2003: 779.
    • Senior synonym of perdiligens: Longino, 2019: 54.
    • Senior synonym of texticeps: Longino, 2019: 54.
  • perdiligens. Pheidole perdiligens Wilson, 2003: 213, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA.
    • Junior synonym of texticeps: Longino, 2009: 85.
    • Junior synonym of plebecula: Longino, 2019: 54.
  • texticeps. Pheidole texticeps Wilson, 2003: 240, figs. (s.w.) COSTA RICA.
    • Junior synonym of plebecula: Longino, 2019: 54.

Taxonomic Notes

Wilson (2003) was unable to locate the type of P. plebecula and left it incertae sedis. The types were located and imaged for AntWeb by the Fisher lab. The images easily match Wilson's concept of P. texticeps.

One of the variants of this species, from Volcán Atitlán, Guatemala, was initially separated as the morphospecies JTL199. In Economo et al. (2019) the two species P. texticeps and P. JTL199 appear together, with little genetic divergence. These can now both be identified as P. plebecula.


A member of the diligens group, distinguished as follows.

Major: bicolorous; dorsal head surface between eyes and frontal carinae, from the genae almost to but not including the occiput, weakly rugoreticulate; hypostoma with 2 teeth; mesosomal convexity in side view very high, tapering to a blunt point; pronotum bilobous in dorsal-oblique view; mesosoma dorsum with a row of sparse, paired setae; gaster entirely smooth and shiny.

Minor: bicolorous, mesosomal convexity very high; mesosomal dorsum sparsely pilose; dorsal surface of head smooth and shiny.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.90, HL 0.92, SL 0.64, EL 0.16, PW 0.48. Paratype minor: HW 0.52, HL 0.58, SL 0.66, EL 0.14, PW 0.36.

COLOR Major: head, antennae, and mandibles light brown; mesosoma, waist, and legs light brown; gaster dark brown.

Minor: mesosoma, waist, and appendages medium brown; head and gaster blackish brown.

Pheidole texticeps 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, La Selva Biological Station, 1988 (S. Cover) Museum of Comparative Zoology (examined).

Pheidole perdiligens Holotype major worker and associated paratype minor worker: Costa Rica, Puntarenas, Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Sirena, 28 Feb 1979, secondary rainforest, <1/2mi from coast, rotten branch on forest floor (S. P. Cover CR312) Museum of Comparative Zoology (examined).


L texticeps, woven head, referring to the fabric-like, rugoreticulate dorsal surface of the head.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Branstetter M. G. and L. Sáenz. 2012. Las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Guatemala. Pp. 221-268 in: Cano E. B. and J. C. Schuster. (eds.) 2012. Biodiversidad de Guatemala. Volumen 2. Guatemala: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, iv + 328 pp
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Longino J. T. 2013. Ants of Honduras. Consulted on 18 Jan 2013.
  • Longino J. T. 2019. Pheidole (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Middle American wet forest. Zootaxa 4599: 1-126
  • 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., 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
  • Wilson, E.O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Genus. Harvard University Press