Pheidole yaqui

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Pheidole yaqui
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Pheidole
Species: P. yaqui
Binomial name
Pheidole yaqui
Creighton & Gregg, 1955

Pheidole yaqui casent0005775 profile 1.jpg

Pheidole yaqui casent0005775 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

The unpublished records of Stefan Cover show that yaqui occurs in southern California from desert at lower elevation to creosote-acacia-juniper scrub in the uplands. The colonies of 50 to 100 workers nest in arid soil, sometimes with a crater of excavated earth and seed chaff. At Deep Canyon, near Palm Springs, California, Wheeler and Wheeler (1973) found yaqui in desert and in palo verde and agave-ocotillo scrub, in crater soil nests; they uncovered caches of Euphorbia micromera and Oenothera clavaeformis seeds inside the nests. (Wilson 2003)


See the description in the nomenclature section.

Keys including this Species


Known from southern California (100–1050 m) and Baja California (northern half of the peninsula), sea level to 550 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


The nests of Pheidole yaqui are always small. They usually consist of twelve to fifteen majors and about three or four times that number of minors. The majors forage with the minors occasionally but much less often than in Pheidole xerophila, where it is the rule for both majors and minors to forage. P. yaqui prefers very arid nest sites, and in this particular it agrees more closely with Pheidole gilvescens than with xerophila. The senior author was unable to get any evidence of the food preference of yaqui. No chaff piles were encountered and no seeds were found in the nests. (Creighton and Gregg 1955)





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

  • yaqui. Pheidole yaqui Creighton & Gregg, 1955: 43, fig. 10 (s.w.) U.S.A. See also: Wilson, 2003: 607.

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


From Wilson (2003): DIAGNOSIS Close to and possibly a senior synonym of Pheidole bajaensis, differing as follows.

Major: occiput smooth, not rugulose; postpetiole seen from above ovoid, not literally angulate; margins of pronotal dorsum transversely carinulate.

Minor: humerus in dorsal-oblique view subangulate; occiput narrow, its corners less angulate than in bajaensis. Together, yaqui and bajaensis differ from Pheidole gilvescens and Pheidole xerophila in the major’s head shape, which is rounded (not flattened) in the dorsal profile of its posterior half, an failure of the head to taper toward the occiput; other traits exist in the major and minor as depicted.

MEASUREMENTS (mm) Paratype major: HW 1.20, HL 1.30, SL 0.62, EL 0.20, PW 0.52. Paratype minor: HW 0.50, HL 0.54, SL 0.44, EL 0.16, PW 0.32.

COLOR Major: brownish yellow.

Minor: body and appendages medium yellow except for dorsal surface of head, which is a slightly contrasting shade of light yellowish brown.

Pheidole yaqui Wilson 2003.jpg

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

Type Material

CALIFORNIA: Yaqui Well, Anza Desert State Park, col. W. S. Creighton. National Museum of Natural History - as reported in Wilson (2003)


Named after either the type locality or the Yaqui people of the Sonoran desert. (Wilson 2003)


  • Creighton, W. S.; Gregg, R. E. 1955. New and little-known species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Univ. Colo. Stud. Ser. Biol. 3: 1-46 (page 43, fig. 10 soldier, worker described)
  • Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1973. Ants of Deep Canyon. Riverside, Calif.: U. of California, xiii + 162 pp.
  • Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (page 607, fig. major, minor described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Creighton W. S., and R. E. Gregg. 1955. New and little-known species of Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. University of Colorado Studies. Series in Biology 3: 1-46.
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Fernandes, P.R. XXXX. Los hormigas del suelo en Mexico: Diversidad, distribucion e importancia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Johnson, R.A. and P.S. Ward. 2002. Biogeography and endemism of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Baja California, Mexico: a first overview. Journal of Biogeography 29:1009–1026/
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wilson, E.O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Genus. Harvard University Press