Pheidole ululevu

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pheidole ululevu
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species group: knowlesi
Species: P. ululevu
Binomial name
Pheidole ululevu
Fischer, Sarnat & Economo, 2016

Pheidole ululevu casent0183387 p 1 high.jpg

Pheidole ululevu casent0183387 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Pheidole ululevu is the most widespread species in the knowlesi group, with a distribution across all sampled islands. A single disjunct population was recently discovered more than two thousand kilometers east on the summit of Te Manga peak on Rarotonga island. Te Manga is the highest mountain on the entire island, thus making this distinct population extremely vulnerable to warming trends caused by global climate change. On Fiji the species was collected in leaf litter, inside dead branches and logs, in the vegetation, foraging on logs, on trees and under bark of fallen trees, nesting under stones and in epiphyte soil, and in malaise traps. Pheidole ululevu was found in disturbed, mahogany, logged, secondary, bryophyte, coastal forest, primary rainforest, lowland rainforest, from elevations between 50 and 1187m. (Fisher et al. 2016)

Evolutionary Relationships
remaining Pheidole

Pheidole kava

Pheidole vatu

Pheidole ululevu

Pheidole knowlesi

Pheidole wilsoni

Pheidole roosevelti group
  (7 species)

Pheidole mendanai group
  (Solomon Islands)

Relationships of knowlesi group species based on Economo et al. (2015) and Fischer et al. (2016). One member of the group, Pheidole caldwelli, is not represented due to lack of molecular data.


Fisher et al. (2016) - knowlesi group: Major worker: head usually superficially punctate, on frons and sides with thin longitudinal rugulae that end before reaching the posterior head margin, posterolateral lobes smooth and shiny; anterior clypeal margin with shallow median notch; in profile, head with shallow impression between frons and posterolateral lobes. Minor worker: promesonotal profile relatively low, convex, with promesonotal declivity sloping gently towards propodeum; sculpture on dorsal and ventral head and mesosoma uniformly punctate. Queen: moderately large (WL 1.32–1.44), legs longer (FI 81–85); clypeus anteriorly with median notch, head sculpture between rugae weakly punctate, rugae fading to weaker rugulae near posterior head margin; carinae on scutum usually reaching its anterior margin; gaster smooth without sculpture anteriorly.

This species is closely related to Pheidole wilsoni and Pheidole knowlesi and its major workers can readily be distinguished from these two by the presence of mostly longitudinal, rarely branching rugulae posterior of the antennal scrobe and mostly punctate sculpture on the metapleuron. While the majors of P. wilsoni have several to many branching and reticulate rugulae posterior to the antennal scrobe and mesosoma sculpture mostly smooth to weakly punctate, the head and mesosoma of P. knowlesi majors are much more shiny and have distinctly less punctate and rugulose sculpture, between the rugae on frons, posterolateral lobes and on the mesosoma. Minor workers of P. ululevu can be easily separated from the other species by their uniformly punctate sculpture on head (dorsal & ventral) and mesosoma. The workers collected from Colo-i-Suva on Viti Levu differ from other populations in possessing a glassy smooth ground sculpture. Morphologically, P. ululevu is very similar to Pheidole kava and can be distinguished from the latter with the characters given in the diagnosis and also in the discussion under P. kava.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Cook Islands, Fiji (type locality).

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.

  • ululevu. Pheidole ululevu Fischer, Sarnat & Economo, 2016: 25, figs. 3K–3M, 9, S10–S12 (videos) (w.q.) FIJI IS.

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



Major (n = 7): HW 0.86–1.18 (1.03), HL 0.91–1.28 (1.11), SL 0.58–0.64 (0.62), MDL 0.47–0.64 (0.56), EL 0.16–0.19 (0.17), WL 0.79–0.94 (0.89), PNW 0.45–0.59 (0.52), PTL 0.30–0.41 (0.34), PPL 0.15–0.20 (0.17), PTH 0.17–0.24 (0.20), PPH 0.15–0.22 (0.19), PTW 0.14–0.20 (0.17), PPW 0.20–0.41 (0.30), PSL 0.14–0.18 (0.16), MFL 0.68–0.81 (0.77), MTL 0.48–0.58 (0.54), CI 92–95 (94), SI 53–67 (60), MDI 52–55 (54), EI 16–19 (17), FI 68–79 (74), PpI 43–69 (57), LPpI 83–100 (90), DPpI 130–210 (171), PpWI 144–210 (178), PpHI 88–100 (95). Ground sculpture on dorsum of head, mesonotum and propodeum weakly to superficially punctate. Remainder of mesosoma and lateral petiole weakly punctate, promesonotum often with irregular transverse rugulae present. Posterolateral lobes and posterior margin of head, petiole and postpetiolar dorsum, and gaster smooth and shiny. Head rectangular with very weakly convex sides, longer than wide (CI 92–95) and posteriorly slightly wider than anteriorly. Mandibles and clypeus medially smooth and shiny, anterior margin of clypeus with shallow median notch. In profile head usually weakly impressed between frons and posterolateral lobes, but in some specimens impression absent or inconspicuous. Frons and sides of head with irregular, interrupted longitudinal rugae, frontal carinae relatively long, often reaching almost towards posterior head margin, posterolateral lobes sometimes with short scattered rugulae. Scapes relatively long (SI 53–67), reaching ca. 2/3 towards posterior head margin, with short decumbent to subdecumbent pilosity and several longer suberect to erect hairs along outer edge. Hypostomal margin with small to medium sized median tooth and submedian teeth. Promesonotum in profile convex, posterior declivity with blunt angle. Metanotal groove weakly impressed, propodeum usually as high as long, sometimes higher. Propodeal spines relatively long, bluntly spinose, and slightly shorter than distance between their bases, oblique to almost vertical. Promesonotal dorsum with several transverse rugulae. Sculpture on anterolateral pronotum, katepisternum, propodeal dorsum and posterior declivity sometimes partly reduced or smooth and shiny. Metatibia pilosity mostly decumbent with few longer suberect hairs along outer edge. Postpetiole with moderately long lateral processes, on average 1.8 times wider than petiole (PpWI 156–194) and 1.7 times wider than long (DPpI 156–184). Standing hairs abundant, suberect, from short and flexuous to moderately long and stiff, shorter pilosity from decumbent to erect.

Minor (n = 7): HW 0.44–0.54 (0.48), HL 0.51–0.61 (0.55), SL 0.51–0.63 (0.58), MDL 0.31–0.38 (0.34), EL 0.11–0.13 (0.12), WL 0.63–0.75 (0.68), PNW 0.30–0.37 (0.33), PTL 0.23–0.28 (0.25), PPL 0.09–0.11 (0.10), PTH 0.12–0.14 (0.13), PPH 0.10–0.12 (0.11), PTW 0.08–0.11 (0.09), PPW 0.10–0.13 (0.12), PSL 0.09–0.13 (0.10), MFL 0.53–0.65 (0.58), MTL 0.38–0.47 (0.41), CI 83–89 (87), SI 109–130 (121), MDI 69–76 (70), EI 20–29 (25), FI 116–131 (121), PpI 32–41 (36), LPpI 86–105 (95), DPpI 100–136 (120), PpWI 123–145 (131), PpHI 71–88 (82). Head and mesosoma uniformly punctate, often overlain with irregular reticulum. Petiole lateroventrally weakly punctate. Mandibles, clypeus, petiolar dorsum, postpetiole and gaster smooth and shiny. Head shape oval to slightly elongate subrectangular, sides weakly convex, posterior margin relatively narrow and concave, with rounded corners. Scapes surpassing posterior head margin by length of preapical antennal segment, scape pilosity decumbent to subdecumbent with few suberect hairs along outer edge. Promesonotal outline in profile relatively flatly convex, metanotal groove widely impressed, laterally with some crossribs. Propodeum as high as long, spines relatively long-spinose and acute, sometimes slightly curved forward, almost as long as distance between their bases. Metatibia pilosity mostly decumbent to subdecumbent. Postpetiole lower than petiole (PpHI 71–88), about as long as high (LPpI 86–105), in dorsal view usually wider than long (DPpI 100–136). Standing hairs on head and mesosoma mostly suberect, moderately long and abundant, not as slender and flexuous as in other species of this group. Pilosity shorter, relatively coarse with blunt apices, mostly subdecumbent to suberect. Head and mesosoma brown to dark brown, mandibles, antennae, legs, waist segments and gaster lighter colored.


(n = 3): HW 0.94–1.03 (0.97), HL 0.90–0.97 (0.93), SL 0.62–0.65 (0.64), MDL 0.52–0.55 (0.54), EL 0.28–0.30 (0.29), WL 1.32–1.44 (1.38), PNW 0.86–1.00 (0.93), PTL 0.47–0.52 (0.50), PPL 0.25–0.29 (0.27), PTH 0.32–0.33 (0.33), PPH 0.32–0.34 (0.33), PTW 0.25–0.31 (0.28), PPW 0.54–0.60 (0.57), PSL 0.21–0.25 (0.23), MFL 0.78–0.83 (0.81), MTL 0.56–0.62 (0.59), CI 104–106 (105), SI 62–68 (66), MDI 52–59 (55), EI 29–31 (30), FI 81–85 (83), PSLI 22–24 (24), LPpI 76–85 (81), DPpI 207–232 (216), PpWI 193–232 (206), PpHI 100–103 (101). Head slightly wider than long (CI 104–106), anterior margin of clypeus with distinct median notch. Face weakly to superficially punctate anteriorly, almost smooth between rugae and near posterior head margin. Rugulae posteriorly sometimes weakly reticulate, ventral side of head rugulose. Scapes moderately short (SI 62–68), pilosity mostly decumbent with longer suberect hairs along outer edge. Hypostomal margin with well-developed median tooth and submedian teeth of about same size. Oblique carinae on scutum usually reaching anterior margin in anterodorsal view, remainder of scutum smooth to superficially punctate. Scutellum, most of anepisternum and katepisternum smooth, lateropronotum weakly rugulose to rugopunctate. Propodeum laterally with abundant, well-defined oblique, curved rugulae. Petiole laterally and ventrally weakly punctate, often with weak lateral carina that runs around posterior face of petiolar node. Postpetiole in profile with very convex and punctate ventral process, in dorsal view smooth, wide, with lateral corners extended into blunt processes. Gaster smooth. Standing hairs of varying lengths, longer on scutellum, abundant, mostly suberect, yellow. Color brown or dark brown, anterior of head, mandibles, antennae and legs lighter colored, flagella, tibia, and tarsi frequently bright yellow.

Type Material

Holotype: Major worker (Bernice P. Bishop Museum, specimen code CASENT0184180), FIJI, Koro, Mt. Kuitarua, 3.7 km NW Nasau Village, -17.2908, 179.402, 470m, primary forest, nesting in log, 20. vi.2005 (E.M. Sarnat). Paratypes: 4 major workers (Museum of Comparative Zoology, CASENT0184075; National Museum of Natural History, CASENT0184207; CASENT0184015; CASENT0184187), 3 minor workers (BPBM, CASENT0184114; MCZC, CASENT0184129; USNM, CASENT0184225), same data as holotype.


This species’ epithet is derived from the Fijian language and consists of the words ulu for “head” and levu for “large”. The name is a noun in apposition and thus invariant.

Determination Clarifications

Previously treated as morphospecies P. FJ09.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Fischer G., E. M. Sarnat, and E. P. Economo. 2016. Revision and microtomography of the Pheidole knowlesi Group, an endemic ant radiation in Fiji (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae). PLoS ONE 11(7): e0158544. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158544