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 of Arkansas, Stefan Cover (unpublished field notes) found colonies at three localities in open areas of mixed pine-hardwood forest, nesting beneath rocks.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)

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


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





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

  • 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)


  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 176, soldier, worker described)
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Moody, J. V., Francke, O. F. 1982. The ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of western Texas, Part 1: Subfamily Myrmicinae. Grad. Stud. Tex. Tech Univ. 27: 1–80.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1908h. The ants of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. (Part I.). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24: 399-485 (page 467, First available use of Pheidole crassicornis subsp. porcula var. tetra; unavailable name.)
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 161, fig. major, minor described)