Pheidole tetra

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Pheidole tetra
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. tetra
Binomial name
Pheidole tetra
Creighton, 1950

Pheidole tetra casent0103153 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole tetra casent0103153 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

In the Ouachita Mts. of Arkansas, Stefan Cover (unpublished field notes) found colonies at three localities in open areas of mixed pine-hardwood forest, nesting beneath rocks. At the Pedernales Falls State Park, Blanco Co., Texas, he found two colonies under rocks in grassy clearings, nesting in sandy soil; and in Cochise Co., Arizona, Cover discovered a colony in cottonwood floodplain forest, apparently nesting in open soil. In western Texas, Moody and Francke (1982) found tetra at 400–1600 m, nesting variously under stones and logs and in open soil. (Wilson 2003)


This species can be recognized as the base of the scape is flattened, with the dorsal surface slightly concave; and the scapes extend about 2/3 of the distance to the posterior lateral corners. The flattened area of the scape is about equal in width to the diameter near the apex of the scape. The anterior 2/3 of the head is roughly sculptured, with coarse, reticulated rugae, with the intrarugal spaces punctate. The posterior 1/3 of the head is finely sculptured and moderately to strongly shining; the tops of the posterior lateral lobes have only piligerous punctures and are glossy and shiny. The dorsum of the pronotum is finely sculptured, and mostly smooth and glossy. The posterior 1/2 of the mesonotum is swollen into a protuberance; the propodeal spines are moderately slender, and well developed. The lateral connules on the postpetiole are poorly developed. Most surfaces of the minor worker are densely and evenly punctate, only the central portion of the head and the side and dorsum of the pronotum are smooth and glossy. The gaster is smooth and glossy. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Also see the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Known from St. Louis Co., Missouri; Ouachita Mts., Montgomery Co., Arkansas; central and western Texas; and the mountains of southern Arizona at 1280–1580 m. (Wilson 2003)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 37.020886° to 18.885319°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

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.


This ant nests in soil, with entrance surrounded by a small mound. Workers are group foragers.

Association with Other Organisms

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

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



Images from AntWeb

Pheidole tetra casent0103154 head 1.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103154 profile 1.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103154 dorsal 1.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103154 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0103154. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by USNM, Washington, DC, USA.


MCZ-ENT00009129 Pheidole tetra.hef.jpgMCZ-ENT00009129 Pheidole tetra.hal.jpgMCZ-ENT00009129 Pheidole tetra.had.jpgMCZ-ENT00009129 Pheidole crassicornis-subsp.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103155 head 1.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103155 profile 1.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103155 dorsal 1.jpgPheidole tetra casent0103155 label 1.jpg


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

  • tetra. Pheidole crassicornis subsp. tetra Creighton, 1950a: 176 (s.w.) U.S.A. [First available use of Pheidole crassicornis subsp. porcula var. tetra Wheeler, W.M. 1908e: 467; unavailable name.] Raised to species: Wilson, 2003: 161.

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


From Wilson (2003): Very close to Pheidole crassicornis, from which it differs in the major by its generally abundant pilosity, and Pheidole diversipilosa, from which it differs in the longer pilosity on the first gastral tergite and abundant hairs on the waist and occiput. Also resembles Pheidole porcula in various traits as depicted.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Lectotype major: HW 1.34, HL 1.36, SL 0.72, EL 0.20, PW 0.66. Paralectotype minor: HW 0.66, HL 0.74, SL 0.74, EL 0.14, PW 0.44.

COLOR Major and minor: concolorous light to dark reddish brown.

Pheidole tetra Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Lectotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

TEXAS: Austin, col. W. M. Wheeler. Museum of Comparative Zoology - as reported in Wilson (2003)


Gr tetra, four, significance unknown. (Wilson 2003)


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Cover S. P., and R. A. Johnson. 20011. Checklist of Arizona Ants. Downloaded on January 7th at
  • Dash S. T. and L. M. Hooper-Bui. 2008. Species diversity of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Louisiana. Conservation Biology and Biodiversity. 101: 1056-1066
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Eastlake Chew A. and Chew R. M. 1980. Body size as a determinant of small-scale distributions of ants in evergreen woodland southeastern Arizona. Insectes Sociaux 27: 189-202
  • Fernandes, P.R. XXXX. Los hormigas del suelo en Mexico: Diversidad, distribucion e importancia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
  • Forster J.A. 2005. The Ants (hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Alabama. Master of Science, Auburn University. 242 pages.
  • General D., and L. Thompson. 2008. New distributional records of ants in Arkansas. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 62: 148-150.
  • General D.M. & Thompson L.C. 2008. New Distributional Records of Ants in Arkansas for 2008. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science. 63: 182-184
  • Gregg R. E. 1959. Key to the species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 66: 7-48.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • LeBrun E. G., R. M. Plowes, and L. E. Gilbert. 2015. Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect. Journal of Animal Ecology,81: 884–895.
  • MacGown J. A. 2014. Ants of Georgia (Accessed on April 27th 2014).
  • MacGown J. A., and R. L. Brown. 2006. Survey of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Tombigbee National Forest in Mississippi. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 79(4):325-340.
  • MacGown, J.A and J.A. Forster. 2005. A preliminary list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Alabama, U.S.A. Entomological News 116(2):61-74
  • MacGown, J.A. and R.L. Brown. 2006. Survey of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Tombigbee National Forest in Mississippi. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 79(4):325-340.
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.
  • McDonald D. L., D. R. Hoffpauir, and J. L. Cook. 2016. Survey yields seven new Texas county records and documents further spread of Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. Southwestern Entomologist, 41(4): 913-920.
  • Miguelena J. G., and P. B. Baker. 2019. Effects of urbanization on the diversity, abundance, and composition of ant assemblages in an arid city. Environmental Entomology doi: 10.1093/ee/nvz069.
  • Moody J. V., and O. F. Francke. 1982. The Ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Western Texas Part 1: Subfamily Myrmicinae. Graduate Studies Texas Tech University 27: 80 pp.
  • Morrison, L.W. 2002. Long-Term Impacts of an Arthropod-Community Invasion by the Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta. Ecology 83(8):2337-2345
  • O'Keefe S. T., J. L. Cook, T. Dudek, D. F. Wunneburger, M. D. Guzman, R. N. Coulson, and S. B. Vinson. 2000. The Distribution of Texas Ants. The Southwestern Entomologist 22: 1-92.
  • Roeder K. A., and D. V. Roeder. 2016. A checklist and assemblage comparison of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Check List 12(4): 1935.
  • Roeder K. A., and D. V. Roeder. 2017. The Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Oklahoma: new species records and distributional notes. Check List 13(2): 2071.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wheeler W. M. 1908. The ants of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (Part I.). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24: 399-485.
  • Wheeler, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1985. A checklist of Texas ants. Prairie Naturalist 17:49-64.
  • Wilson, E.O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Genus. Harvard University Press