The Ants of Africa
provisional key to major workers of all African species - Section 7
Genus Pheidole Introduction
return to key Mesonotum without a transverse welt or torus -- Hypostomal teeth
{Ph mylognatha face}Head straight sided in full face view; mandibles very stout edentate border and without apical teeth; clypeus with median carina but anterior margin no more than medially concave; with relatively slender three-segmented club; postpetiole with distinct lateral prominences produced as broad to acute spines
-- {Ph muniscula face}Head with sides mildly convex in full face view; mandibles very stout with dentate border and distinct apical teeth; clypeus with at least a shallow central notch and lateral carinae extending forward; with relatively swollen three-segmented club; postpetiole hexagonal, with distinct lateral prominences; 65
. termitophila-group - bequaerti, minuscula, nigritella, schoutedeni, strator & termitophila --
61 {Ph bequaerti major}
TL 2.5 mm, HL 1.15, HW 1.09, SL 0.59, PW 0.50; CI 96, SI 54; brown, gaster darker; head with strange lateral profile; dense decumbent short pilosity
. {Ph bequaerti minor}
TL 2.05 mm, HL 1.00, HW 0.93, SL 0.85, PW 0.32; CI 94, SI 03; mandibles striate, puncturate at the extremities; head square, occiput lightly impressed, scape just surpassing the occiput, eyes large, clearly elongate, longer than their distance from the anterior of the head, set in the anterior third, funiculi with middle segments wider than long; promesonotum strongly convex; propodeum with horizontal dorsum, almost as wide as long, with the spines short about one third of the basal separation, subvertical; postpetiole not much wider than the petiole; head, alitrunk and pedicel entirely matt and densely reticulo-punctate, head with fairly strong lateral rugae; gaster anteriorly reticulate and subopaque, smooth posteriorly as are the legs; head dark brown, rest lighter brown, appendages and mandibles reddish brown
Note the thumbnail is of a specimen from Senegal that has a lighter head but shows the peculiar elongated eye and dense sculpturation
Zare - bequaerti
-- Pheidole katonae minor
Minor only, TL ca 1.83, HL0.49, HW 0.49, SL 0.45, PW 0.60; CI 100, SI 94; distinctive elongated oblique eye, similar to that of bequaerti) - may well be the senior synonym of bequaerti
Note: the described major was not associated with the minors and was far too big
Tanzania - katonae
62 {Ph nigritella}
TL 3.6-3.8 mm, HL 1.22, HW 1.04, SL 0.58, PW 0.48; CI 85, SI 52; black; head with strange lateral profile; sparse, long fine pilosity
. {Ph nigritella minor}
TL 2.0-2.1, HL 0.59, HW 0.54, SL 0.54, PW 0.30; CI 92, SI 100; black, very shiny, puncturation fine and serrated, appendages brown. Head slightly longer than wide, very rounded posteriorly; occiput is straight, bordered and wide. Antennae slender, in the funiculus segments 2 and 3 are equal, three times longer than wide, segment 4 twice as long as wide. Prothorax as convex as the soldier; propodeum puncturate except on anterior third. Petiole slender, node less elevated than that of the soldier. Postpetiole as the soldier. All body parts are more elongated than those of the other minute Pheidole in the termitophila group
Guinea - nigritella
-- {Pheidole CAR DK major
TL ca 4.3 mm, HL 1.08, HW 1.00, SL 0.55, PW 0.52, CI 90, SI 55; clypeus without a distinct median carina, all striations on front of head straight; mahogany red, extremities more brown
. {Pheidole CAR DK minor
TL ca 1.7 mm, HL 0.47, HW 0.40, SL 0.41, PW 0.18: CI 85, SI 105; clypeus without a distinct median carina, shiny and polished without sculpture except on mesonotum and propodeum; mahogany red, extremities more brown; may be synonymous with nigritella
63 {Pheidole minuscula}
TL ca 2.40 mm, HL 0.79, HW 0.64, SL 0.34, PW 0.40; CI 85, SI 52; colour of head and alitrunk dark yellow, rest paler
. {Pheidole minuscula minor}
TL 1.6 mm, HL 0.43, HW 0.40, SL 0.31, PW 0.19; CI 92, SI 81; head a little longer than wide, with fine puncturations; well developed longitudinal median carina on clypeus; smooth mandibles; occiput concave, wide and not bordered; second segment of antennal club scarcely longer than wide; alitrunk profile with distinct protuberances bearing erect hairs; propodeum from above with distinct lateral margination, the spines reduced to short teeth; postpetiole globular; body yellow-brown, very shiny, petiole and appendages testaceous
Liberia - minuscula
-- major TL > 3.0 mm 64
64 {Pheidole termitophila}
TL 3.4-3.5 mm, HL 1.08, HW 0.92, SL 0.42, PW 0.44; CI 85, SI 45; generally pale yellow-brown
. {Pheidole termitophila minor}
TL ca 2.2, HL 0.50 HW 0.48, SL 0.45, PW 0.52; CI 85 SI 100; head with weakly concave occiput; mandibles smooth with distinct puncturation, each puncture giving rise to a fine decumbent hair; eyes ovoid set around the midlength of the head; Alitrunk profile with promoseontum highly domed and dropping steeply into the shallow metanotal groove, propodeum profile very shallowly convex, spines reduced to sharp denticles; femora unique in being distinctly swollen; propodeum dorsum with coarse spiculation; short erect hairs moderately abundant all over.
Colour varies from dark chestnut to near black
Sahel zone - termitophila
-- {pheidole strator major}
TL 3.8-4.0 mm HL 1.24, HW 1.00, SL 0.40, PW 0.55; CI 80, SI 41; vertex only longitudinally striate; head reddish-brown, alitrunk and gaster very dark-brown (ssp fugax, type lighter?)
. {Pheidole strator minor}
Minor TL ca 2.0 mm, HL 0.58, HW 0.50, SL 0.50, PW 0.26; CI 94, SI 100; yellow brown, appendages darker
Eastern Africa - strator
return to key Head with at least moderately arcuate sides --
65 {Pheidole excellens}
TL ca 8 mm, HL 2.72, HW 2.55, SL 1.03, PW 1.15; CI 94, SI 40; propodeal spines of major relatively long, stout and upturned; petiole with a markedly emarginate narrow dorsal face; postpetiole strongly produced laterally to form a blunt triangular process. Colour red-brown, dull due to dense puncturation and abundant covering of moderately long, semi-prone, fine hairs.
fulvobasalis major shown
. {Pheidole excellens fulvobasalis}
. {Pheidole excellens}
TL 3.80 mm, HL 0.82, HW 0.78, SL 0.93, PW 0.59; CI 95, SI 120
Pan-African - excellens
-- Pheidole weissi
TL 7.2 mm, HL 2.76, HW 2.60, SL 1.00, PW 1.22; CI 94, SI 38; mostly brown-black, head reddish with a frontal yellowish-red band, tibiae and scapes brown-yellow, tarsi & funiculi yellowish gaster segments with posterior border yellowish
-- Pheidole weissi minor
TL 3.0 mm, HL 0.80, HW 0.72, SL 0.83, PW 0.50; CI 90, SI 112; scape longer; mostly dark red-brown, head reddish with a frontal yellowish-red band, tibiae and scapes brown-yellow, tarsi & funiculi yellowish
Congo Basin, Ghana & Nigeria - weissi
-- {Pheidiole mylognatha}TL 6.2 mm, HL 2.3, HW 2.0 ; CI 0.80, SI 56; head relatively shiny especially on occiput; with sparse whitish fine erect hairs; postpetiole broader than long, its sides produced as short, acute, backwardly directed spines, the distance between the tips of which is about three times the width of the petiole .
. {Pheidiole mylognatha minor}
TL ca 2.3 mm, HL 0.64, HW 0.57, SL 0.68, PW 0.39; CI 92, SI 109; head a little longer than broad, as broad in front as behind, with feebly convex sides and a feebly concave posterior border; eyes rather convex, just in front of the middle of the sides; mandibles with the whole apical border very finely denticulate; clypeus convex, its anterior border entire, broadly rounded; scapes extending fully one-fourth their length beyond the posterior border of the head; alitrunk and petiole very similar to those of the soldier but the mesonotum more sloping and with much feebler transverse convexity; postpetiole only one and one-half times as broad as the petiole, its sides produced as short angles or conules; shining; mandibles finely and indistinctly striate; clypeus and cheeks longitudinally rugulose; area between the frontal carinae and the eyes reticulate, remainder of head very smooth and shining; pronotum smooth and shining above, reticulate on the sides; mesonotum and propodeum subopaque, densely punctate; petiole and post-petiole more finely punctate, the nodes above smooth and shining like the gaster and legs; pilosity and colour much as in the soldier, but the fine appressed hairs on the scapes as abundant as on the legs; rich castaneous brown; gaster, except the base of the first segment, darker, almost black; legs and funiculi a little more reddish, the femora infuscated in the middle.
Zare - mylognatha
-- {Pheidole schoutedeni major}
TL 4.5 mm, HL 1.13, HW 0.95, SL 0.42, PW 0.5; CI 84, SI 44; quite distinctive, especially the elongated head with a bulging occiput when viewed in profile; head brown, body darker posteriorly to a near black gaster, tarsi yellow; erect hairs long, fine and abundant.
. schoutedeni
. {Pheidole schoutedeni minor}
TL 2.0 mm, HL 0.59, HW 0.47, SL 0.62, PW 0.31; CI 85, SI 121; scape just surpasses the occiput; propodeal spines short, near-vertical; postpetiole node about twice as wide as petiole, slightly longer than wide; dull yellow, with the legs and antennae lighter and the mid-gaster brownish.
Zare & Nigeria - schoutedeni
-- Pheidole retronitens major
TL 5.7 mm, HL 2.41, HW 2.12, SL 1.30, PW 0.76; CI 88, SI 64; head about a quarter longer than wide but with convex sides; scapes narrow but reach posterior third of the head; propodeal spines strong, blunt, about as long as half the propodeum dorsum and erect; and occipital lobes very smooth and shiny but rest of head densely reticulate and matt; black-brown; anterior of head and appendages lighter red-brown to yellow-brown
. Pheidole retronitens minor
TL 3.0-3.5 mm, HL 0.88, HW 0.74, SL 1.00, PW 0.43; CI 90, SI 133; head oval; eyes set at the mid-point and occiput narrower, with a weak transverse crest (?nuchal collar); scape surpasses occiput by about one-third its length; generally shiny with a few rugae on the genea and the mesonotum and propodeum partly reticulate; colour black, anterior of head and appendages lighter red-brown to yellow-brown
Cameroun & Congo Basin - retronitens

Top of page Top of page

Genus Pheidole Introduction

Contents MYRMICINAE Introduction
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.