Pogonomyrmex comanche

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Pogonomyrmex comanche
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Pogonomyrmecini
Genus: Pogonomyrmex
Species group: californicus
Species: P. comanche
Binomial name
Pogonomyrmex comanche
Wheeler, W.M., 1902

Pogonomyrmex comanche casent0104840 profile 1.jpg

Pogonomyrmex comanche casent0104840 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

It was Wheeler who first recognized the very characteristic habitat and the usually specific type of nest superstructure of comanche. I have never seen a nest of this species that has not been located in a sandy area in close proximity to a post-oak grove. Nor have I ever collected comanche from a nest other than one marked by a crescentic or circular crater of sand or sandy soi1, from 3 inches or so to nearly 2 feet n diameter, which bore a single central entrance, and from which a surface covering of pebbles was absent. Within the range of the species, we have come to realize that where sandy soil and post-oak occur together, the chances of finding comanche are excellent. Moreover, such discontinuous distribution is typical of that species. (Cole 1968)


Wheeler noted the dense and rather strong cephalic punctulation of the comanche worker, a condition which is actually midway between the beaded type of Pogonomyrmex occidentalis and the comparatively weak punctulation of most Pogonomyrmex maricopa. This condition prevails, with only slight variation, throughout all Pogonomyrmex comanche workers that I have examined. A strikingly definitive trait of the comanche worker that both Dr. M. R. Smith (in litt.) and I have observed, but which Wheeler (1902a, p. 392), Olsen (1934, p. 509), and Creighton (1950, p .129) apparently overlooked, is the prominently flattened dorsum of the petiolar node. This distinctive feature is emphasized by the usual presence of a broad and shallow but pronounced longitudinal impression that extends mesally throughout the entire length of the dorsum of the node. Moreover, the dorsum of the node bears strong, wavy rugae which are generally transverse and subparallel. The workers of no other known species in either the maricopa or the occidentalis complex bear this combination of characters. (Cole 1968)

Keys including this Species


United States – western Louisiana, Texas, western Kansas, western Oklahoma, western Arkansas.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




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

  • comanche. Pogonomyrmex occidentalis subsp. comanche Wheeler, W.M. 1902c: 392 (w.) U.S.A. Cole, 1968: 126 (q.m.); Taber, Cokendolpher & Francke, 1988: 51 (k.). Subspecies of occidentalis: Creighton, 1950a: 128; Gregg, 1963: 333. Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1914e: 156; Olsen, 1934: 498; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 793; Cole, 1968: 126.

Type Material

Type locality: Milano, Texas. Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Cole (1968) - HL 1.25-1.98 mm, HW 1.18-1.87 mm, CI 93.8-94.4, SL l.06-1.52 mm, SI 79.1-89.5, EL 0.27-0.42 mm, EW 0.15-0.27 mm, OI 21.2-21.6, WL 1.48-2.29 mm, PNL 0.42-0.68 mm, PNW 0.30-0.57 mm, PPL 0.38-0.68 mm, PPW 0.49-0.76 mm.

Mandible as shown in Pl. III, Fig. 11; all teeth long, well separated, rather sharp; subapical tooth and first, second, and third basals subequal in length; penultimate tooth distinctly shorter than ultimate which is considerably longer than second and third basals, distinctly though sometimes weakly offset from the basal mandibular margin. Base of antennal scape as illustrated in Pl. IV, Fig. 8. Contours of thorax, petiole, and postpetiole, in lateral view, as shown in Pl. IV, Fig. 10.

Cephalic punctulation fine, dense, prominent. Head and thorax subopaque. Epinotal spines variable in length, from short to long. Contour of petiolar and postpetiolar nodes. in dorsal view, as shown in Pl. VII, Fig. 14. Petiolar node, viewed from above, notably longer than broad, its dorsum distinctly flattened and generally provided with a broad, shallow, longitudinal groove; bearing coarse, wavy, widely spaced rugae that are usually transverse and subparallel, but sometimes longitudinal or arcuate; interrugal spaces shining, generally without perceptible structure. Dorsum of postpetiolar node with rather fine, wavy, transverse rugae; interrugal spaces finely and densely punclate, subopaque.

Color a rather uniform, rich, light to medium. ferrugineous red.


Cole (1968) - HL 1.79-1.82 mm, HW 1.87-1.90 mm, CI 104.4-104.5, SL 1.37-1.41 mm, SI 73.5-74.2, EL 0.38-0.42 mm, EW 0.27-0.30 mm, OI 21.2-23.1, WL 2.47-2.58 mm, PNL 0.53-0.57 mm, PNW 0.49-0.53 mm, PPL 0.65-0.68 mm, PPW 0.72-0.76 mm.

With the characters of the worker as expressed above and the usual female traits. In lateral view, scutum not meeting anteriorly the pronotum evenly, but notably offset posteriorly from the pronotum, the two being separated by a distinct, subangular impression; offset accentuated by a transverse peripheral carina on anterior surface of pronotum which, when viewed from in front, is elongate and very broadly V-shaped.


Cole (1968) - HL 1.18-1.52 mm, HW 1.37-1.56 mm, CI 102.6-116.1, SL 0.57-0.65 mm, SI 41.6-41.7, EL 0.16-0.49 mm, EW 0.27-0.30 mm, OI 32.2-38.9, WL 2.28-2.58 mm, PNL 0.38-0.42 mm, PNW 0.49-0.57 mm.

Mandible; blade strongly bent, its outer margin prominently and abruptly convex at the bend, provided with 3 or 4 teeth of irregular shape on the transverse apical border. Head without a median longitudinal carina. Cephalic rugae longitudinal, fine, rather dense; the interspaces distinctly shining and with sparse, fine, faint punctures which do not dull the surface. Epinotum with a pair of prominent blunt angles or short, robust spines which are very broad at the base and strongly directed upward; infraspinal facet smooth and strongly shining. Petiolar node, viewed from above, notably longer than broad, the sides subparallel, the dorsum broadly and faintly grooved longitudinally. Dorsum of petiolar and postpetiolar nodes mostly smooth and shining; rugae, when present, faint, sparse, very fine, irregular, with a transverse trend.

Head, thorax, petiole, and postpetiole dark brown; gaster and appendages light yellowish brown to medium brown.


  • n = 16, 2n = 32 (USA) (Taber et al., 1988).


  • Cole, A. C., Jr. 1968. Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. A study of the genus in North America. Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, x + 222 pp. (page 126, queen, male described)
  • Cole, A. C., Jr. 1968. Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. A study of the genus in North America. Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, x + 222 pp. (page 126, revived status as species)
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 128, subspecies of occidentalis)
  • Olsen, O. W. 1934. Notes on the North American harvesting ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 77: 493-514 (page 498, raised to species)
  • Smith, M. R. 1951c. Family Formicidae. Pp. 778-875 in: Muesebeck, C. F., Krombein, K. V., Townes, H. K. (eds.) Hymenoptera of America north of Mexico. Synoptic catalogue. U. S. Dep. Agric. Agric. Monogr. 2:1-1420. (page 793, revived status as species)
  • Taber, S. W.; Cokendolpher, J. C.; Francke, O. F. 1988. Karyological study of North American Pogonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insectes Soc. 35: 47-60 (page 51, karyotype described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1902d. New agricultural ants from Texas. Psyche (Camb.) 9: 387-393 (page 392, worker described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1914f. New and little known harvesting ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex. Psyche (Camb.) 21: 149-157 PDF(page 156, raised to species)