Pheidole synanthropica

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Pheidole synanthropica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. synanthropica
Binomial name
Pheidole synanthropica
Longino, 2009

Pheidole synanthropica casent0609037 p 1 high.jpg

Pheidole synanthropica casent0609037 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Pheidole synanthropica occurs in open, seasonally dry habitats. The type specimens were at a tuna bait in the "bosque humedo" of Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica, but all other collections have been from highly synanthropic habitats such as city parks, lawns, and coffee farms. (Longino 2009)


With the general habitus of Pheidole anima, Pheidole eidmanni, Pheidole maja, Pheidole piceonigra, and Pheidole plebecula. Minor worker: scape relatively short, SI 102-116, versus relatively longer, SI > 120 (anima, maja, piceonigra, plebecula); katepisternum foveolate, lacking irregular rugulae, versus with irregular rugulae overlaying foveolate sculpture (anima). Major worker: base of scape terete versus base of scape flattened (anima, maja, piceonigra); scape with no erect setae versus about 3 erect setae (plebecula); face with erect setae totally absent to very sparse versus with 10 or more erect setae (anima); anterior face with very reduced rugose sculpture versus with more extensive rugoreticulum (eidmanni, based on illustration of the major worker in Wilson [2003:289]); katepisternum sculpture as in minor worker; postpetiole in dorsal view robust, with strong triangular lateral conules, versus less transverse, with rounded, not conulate sides (anima); gaster with no erect setae versus with more than 5 erect setae (anima, plebecula).


Costa Rica to Mexico (Chiapas)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


It is remarkable that this species is not better known and just now being described. It is no doubt common throughout the highly urbanized central valley of Costa Rica, and, since it also occurs in coffee farms in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in southern Mexico, probably occurs in similar areas throughout Central America. This is probably a case of the common ants in the back yard being ignored as eager collectors head for undisturbed forest. (Longino 2009)






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

  • synanthropica. Pheidole synanthropica Longino, 2009: 80, fig. 23 (s.w.) COSTA RICA.

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



Minor Measurements (paratype): HL 0.59, HW 0.56, HLA 0.21, SL 0.62, EL 0.15, ML 0.71, PSL 0.08, PMG 0.02, SPL 0.04, PTW 0.12, PPW 0.17, CI 96, SI 110, PSLI 13, PMGI 4, SPLI 6, PPI 141.

Measurements (n=16): HL 0.59-0.69, HW 0.56-0.66, SL 0.62-0.68, CI 91-98, SI 102-116.

Face uniformly smooth and shining; posterior margin of vertex flattened; occipital carina narrow, not visible in full face view; scape with short appressed to subdecumbent pubescence and 0-3 longer suberect setae; promesonotal groove large, deeply impressed; propodeal spines present; pronotum and dorsal mesonotum smooth and shining; katepisternum, anepisternum, and side of propodeum foveolate; dorsal face of propodeum faintly foveolate; setae on mesosoma short and stiff, four pairs on pronotum, one pair on mesonotum, and one forward-slanting pair on propodeum; dorsal (outer) margin of hind tibia with short fully appressed to subdecumbent pilosity, 0-1 long erect hairs; first gastral tergum smooth and shining; gastral dorsum with sparse short fully appressed setae and sparse longer erect setae, appressed setae much shorter than distance among them; color brown.

Major Measurements (holotype): HL 1.00, HW 1.03, HLA 0.31, SL 0.66, EL 0.21, ML 0.99, PSL 0.10, PMG 0.04, SPL 0.05, PTW 0.30, PPW 0.43, IHT 0.33, OHT 0.44, CI 104, SI 64, PSLI 10, PMGI 4, SPLI 5, PPI 144, HTI 74.

Measurements (n=6): HL 0.91-1.00, HW 0.88-1.03, SL 0.63-0.66, CI 97-104, SI 64-71.

Mandibles smooth and shiny; clypeus smooth and flat with distinct anterior notch; face with a few concentric rugulae around antennal insertions but otherwise smooth and shiny throughout; face with sparse, fully appressed, short setae, shorter than the distance among them, erect setae totally absent to very sparse, 0-2 pairs on frontal carinae, 0-1 pair on clypeus; scape smooth and shining, terete at base, with no erect setae; hypostomal margin gently curved; median tooth small; inner hypostomal teeth acutely pointed, much closer to outer hypostomal teeth than to midline; promesonotal groove prominent, deeply impressed; propodeal spines present; mesosomal sculpture as in minor worker; dorsal (outer) margin of hind tibia with short decumbent pilosity, no long erect hairs; mesosomal dorsum with erect setae sparse to absent, 0-1 pair on posterior pronotum, 0-1 pair on mesonotum; petiolar node in dorsal view transverse, much broader than long; postpetiole in dorsal view robust, with strong triangular lateral conules; first gastral tergite smooth and shining, with sparse short appressed setae and no erect setae; color brown.

Type Material

Holotype major worker. Costa Rica, Guanacaste: Bosque Humedo, Santa Rosa Nat. Park, 10.85000°N 85.61667°W, ±2000m, 300m, 15 Jul 1985 (J. Longino#0511) Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, unique specimen identifier CASENT0609037.

Paratypes: major and minor workers. Same data as holotype The Natural History Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Field Museum of Natural History, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, John T. Longino Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, University of California, Davis, National Museum of Natural History.


The name is in reference to this species’ occurrence in open, highly disturbed areas, often near human habitation.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • De la Mora, A., J. A. Garcia-Ballinas, and S. M. Philpott. 2015. Local, landscape, and diversity drivers of predation services provided by ants in a coffee landscape in Chiapas, Mexico. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 201: 83-91.
  • Gonthier, D. J., G. M. Dominguez, J. D. Witter, A. L. Spongberg, and S. M. Philpott. 2013. Bottom-up effects of soil quality on a coffee arthropod interaction web. Ecosphere 4: 1-15.
  • Gonthier, D. J., K. K. Ennis, S. M. Philpott, J. Vandermeer, and I. Perfecto. 2013. Ants defend coffee from berry borer colonization. BioControl 58: 815-820.
  • Larsen, A., and S. M. Philpott. 2010. Twig-nesting ants: the hidden predators of the coffee berry borer in Chiapas, Mexico. Biotropica 42: 342-347.
  • Longino J. T. 2009. Additions to the taxonomy of New World Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2181: 1-90.
  • Longino J. T. 2013. Ants of Nicargua. Consulted on 18 Jan 2013.
  • Marin, L., D. Jackson, and I. Perfecto. 2015. A positive association between ants and spiders and potential mechanisms driving the pattern. Oikos 124: 1078-1088.
  • Vasquez-Bolanos M. 2011. Checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Mexico. Dugesiana 18(1): 95-133.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133