The Ants of Africa
Genus Pheidole
Pheidole capensis Mayr

capensis-group - major postpetiole much wider than long, with elongated lateral processes, head widest posteriorly

Pheidole capensis Mayr

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Africa (Pheidole capensis n. sp., Mayr, 1862: 746, major & minor; illustrated by Mayr, 1865; Forel, 1913a: 130, queen) - see below
junior synonym here
dregei (Ph. megacephala, subsp. capensis Mayr, sous-esp.  dregei, n. subsp., Emery, 1895h: 34, major) from South Africa - see below

Note: The form described as reddenburgensis (Ph. (Allopheidole) cuitensis For. r. reddenburgensis n. st., Forel, 1913a: 135, all forms; subspecies of capensis by Emery, 1915j: 246) from South Africa is unmistakeably a relative of Pheidole sculpturata, with its distinctive postpetiole with elongated, back-curved processes when viewed from above. It is almost identical to the form described as P. sculpturata areolata Forel (1911e).
The form described as modestior (Pheidole capensis Mayr, var. modestior, n. v., Santschi, 1919a: 337, major & minor) from South Africa appears to be a junior synonym of Pheidole aspera Mayr, 1862.

{Pheidole capensis}Mayr's (1862) description is at {original description}. Mayr (1865: 100) gave a fuller description, this is at {original description}. Arnold (1920a: 441) gave an illustrated translation, this is at {original description} and {original description}. Emery's (1895a) description of dregei is at {original description}.

{Pheidole capensis heads}Emery (1915j) provided drawings of the heads of capensis

Pheidole capensis Cape majorThe photomontage of the "Port Elisabeth" major worker in the Vienna Museum is collated from

TL ca 6.0 mm, HL 1.83, HW 1.66, SL 0.45, PW 0.72, CI 89, SI 44.

Apart from the obvious colour difference (perhaps accentuated by the different magenta levels of the Antweb imagery) the two majors have similar shapes and proportions. The Vienna specimens lacks pubescence on the gaster posterior to segment two. Apart from the curious small head shown in the Mayr drawing they are a match to that. The quite narrow head in profile seems a good diagnostic character as is the only slightly extended rhomboidal shape of the postpetiole seen from above.

Pheidole capensis majorThe photomontage of a syntype major worker from Port Elisabeth is collated from

TL ca 6.0 mm, HL 1.59, HW 1.44, SL 0.68, PW 0.70, CI 89, SI 48.

{Pheidole capensis minor}The photomontage of a syntype minor worker from Port Elisabeth is collated from

TL ca 2.7 mm, HL 0.61, HW 0.56, SL 0.62, PW 0.29, CI 89, SI 114.

Head sub-square with near straight sides and occiput; frons smooth, genae with short striations; scapes surpass occiput by about 1/4 of their length; promesonotum profile shallowly domed, propodeal spines seemingly very small; pedicel low, postpetiole from above slightly longer than wide with distinct minute lateral apices.

A "Cap" minor worker in the Vienna Museum and on Antweb at is mislabelled and is a minor of Pheidole aspera, also described by Mayr (1862) and found at Cap.

Pheidole dregei majorThe photomontage of the type major worker of dregei is collated from

TL ca 6.5-7.0 mm, HL 2.11, HW 1.95, SL 0.78, PW 1.0, CI 93, SI 40.

Head in full face view with evenly convex sides and quite deeply impressed occiput; alitrunk  relatively short and stocky, much wider than the type capensis; propodeal spines broadly based triangles; petiole node thick in profile and from above, postpetiole distinctly widened laterally; gaster with abundant appressed pubescence on all segments.

The minor is unknown.

2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.