Pheidole pugnax

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Pheidole pugnax
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. pugnax
Binomial name
Pheidole pugnax
Dalla Torre, 1892

Pheidole pugnax casent0281747 p 1 high.jpg

Pheidole pugnax casent0281747 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


According to Longino (1997), pugnax is one of the most common ants of the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica, where it thrives in disturbed habitats, second-growth forest vegetation, and open terrain generally. Nests are usually excavated in the soil, and, in one instance observed, beneath the loose bark of an understory tree. Workers forage over the ground and onto low vegetation. (Wilson 2003)


See the description in the nomenclature section.


I have confirmed series from El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama. J. T. Longino (1997) reports it from Honduras and the Pacific lowlands and slopes of Costa Rica to 1500 m. (Wilson 2003)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality), El Salvador, Honduras, Panama.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb







The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • militaris. Pheidole radowszkowskii r. militaris Emery, 1890b: 49 (s.w.) COSTA RICA. [Junior primary homonym of militaris Smith, F. 1860a: 74, above.] Replacement name: pugnax Dalla Torre, 1892: 91.
  • pugnax. Pheidole radoszkowskii subsp. pugnax Dalla Torre, 1892: 91. Replacement name for militaris Emery, 1890b: 49. [Junior primary homonym of militaris Smith, F. 1860a: 74.] Raised to species: Wilson, 2003: 219.

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 member of the diligens group very similar to the more widespread Pheidole radoszkowskii, as well as Pheidole diligens, and distinguished as follows.

Major: promesonotal dorsum hairy; space between eye and antennal fossa rugoreticulate; carinulae of frontal lobes extend posteriorly beyond eye level only about a single Eye Length; all of dorsal surface of head except frontal triangle and all of mesosoma and waist foveolate and opaque; three-fourths to all of central strip of first gastral tergite and the posterior central strip of second shagreened; pronotum in dorsal-oblique view subangulate, not bilobous.

Minor: all of head and body foveolate and opaque; all of central strip of first gastral tergite and posterior central strip of second gastral tergite shagreened.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Syntype major: HW 1.42 HL 1.42, SL 0.84, EL 0.20, PW 0.66. Minor (Quetzaltepeque, El Salvador): HW 0.54, HL 0.60, SL 0.76, EL 0.12, PW 0.34.

COLOR Major and minor: varies among series from dark yellow to medium reddish brown.

Pheidole pugnax Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Type Material

EL SALVADOR: 2–4 km south of Quetzaltepeque, col. William L. Brown, compared with syntypes. Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa and National Museum of Natural History - as reported in Wilson (2003)


L pugnax, combative. (Wilson 2003)


  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1892. Hymenopterologische Notizen. Wien. Entomol. Ztg. 11: 89-93 (page 91, replacement name for militaris)
  • Emery, C. 1890c. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 22: 38-80 (page 49, junior primary homonym of militaris)
  • Smith, F. 1860a. Descriptions of new species of hymenopterous insects collected by Mr. A. R. Wallace at Celebes. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 5(17b)(suppl. to vol. 4 4: 57-93 (page 74, primary homonym)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 219, fig. major, minor described; raised to species)