Contents Contents The Ants of Egypt
Pheidole cicatricosa Stitz - new status

Pheidole cicatricosa Stitz - new status

return to key MAJOR return to key MINOR Type location Algeria (Pheidole pallidula Nyl., v. cicatricosa n. v., Stitz, 1917: 340, illustrated, major & minor workers; synonymized with pallidula by Collingwood, 1978: 68, without notes; new status here) from Oued Agelil, 30.i.1914, collected by V Geyer - see below.
Primary homonym tristis (Pheidole pallidula Nyl., v. tristis n. var., Forel, 1907b: 204, worker [not queen]; Santschi, 1908: 521, major, queen & male) from Tunisia; collected at Kairouan, by Dr F Santschi - on linked pages; preoccupied name. Name tristis preoccupied by Pheidole tristis (F Smith, 1858b: 132; combination in Pheidole by Mayr, 1886c: 360) type location Brazil (type images see
Junior synonym recticeps (Pheidole pallidula Nyl subsp. tristis For, var. recticeps n. var., Forel, 1909e: 391; Menozzi: 1932e, 452, major & minor workers; include the capensis of Emery, 1891: 13, given by Emery, 1915j: 227; new synonymy here) from Egypt, collector M. Ed. Wundsam - on linked pages.

Note: Antweb and AntCat have the Forel (1907b) types under the name "Pheidole tasdelenia".  The species status is not explained but according to the "Taxonomic history (provided by Barry Bolton, 2013)" the nomenclature is Pheidole pallidula tasdelenia Özdikmen, 2010b: 805.  After correctly drawing attention to the prior named F Smith species, that author stated the subspecies Pheidole pallidula tristis Forel 1907 "has no synonym".  Santschi (1936c), however, had commented that, apart from the paler colour, cicatricosa and tristis were identical, thus, effectively synonymizing them.The name recticeps, as a trinomial, was an unavailable name (Bolton, 1995: 329), albeit raised by Menozzi (1932e: 452) to Pheidole pallidula var. recticeps, has no validity.  Hence, I use the specific name P. cicatricosa. P. tasdelenia should be seen as unnecessary.

Reference: Özdikmen, H. 2010b. New names for the preoccupied specific and subspecific epithets in the genus Pheidole Westwood, 1839 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Munis Entomology and Zoology 5 :804-806. [2010-06].

Pheidole cicatricosa is the correct replacement name for P. tristis Forel 1907.  Under the ICZN Code of Nomenclature: 23.3.5. The Principle of Priority requires that if a name in use for a taxon is found to be unavailable or invalid it must be replaced by the next oldest available name from among its synonyms, including the names of the contained taxa of the same group (e.g. subgenera within genera), providing that that name is not itself invalid. If the rejected name has no potentially valid synonym a new substitute name (see Article 60.3) must be established in its place.

{Pheidole pallidula cicatricosa}Stitz (1917: 340) briefly described a new variety of Pheidole pallidula Nyl. v. cicatricosa n. v., his description is at {original description}. He noted only that the postpetiole had lateral points; the propodeum had short teeth; 1 major and 4 minors, from Algeria, Temassinin, 30.i.1914, collector von Geyr.

{Pheidole recticeps}Forel's (1907b) description of the tristis worker was simply - TL 2.6-2.8 mm, dark brown, mandibles, antennae and tarsi yellow-brown, otherwise identical to the type pallidula, not rare in the Atlas; Santschi's (1908) description of tristis, with comparative illustrations [note the illustration was wrongly numbered], is at {original description}. Forel's (1909e) description of recticeps, is at {original description}. Emery (1915j) gave an illustrated note on recticeps, this is at {original description}. Santschi (1936c) gave a short note, this is at {original description}.

Forel (1907b: 204) had denoted "Pheidole pallidula Nyl., v. tristis n.var. worker [note in original this is denoted as a Queen but the size is too small] - TL 2.6-2.8 mm; dark brown, mandibles yellow-brown as are the antennae and tarsi. Kairouan (Dr Santschi); this variety of Ph. pallidula well deserves to be named. It is not rare in the Atlas; the rest of the characters are identical to pallidula in. sp.". Forel's (1909e) description of recticeps has - soldier differs from tristis by a paler reddish colour, and especially by the slightly convex sides to the head, which is rectangular-rounded, slightly wider behind than in front; the worker has less obvious differences in head shape but is smaller than tristis at TL 2.2 mm. The situation was confused somewhat by Emery's statement (1915j) on the remarkably large, dark form from Tunisia and Algeria, described by Forel as tristis. However, he went on to express the opinion that Santschi had confused two distinct forms, tristis Forel and recticeps Forel, under the single name tristis. The only Santschi paper referred to by Emery, however, was published in 1908 and pre-dates the Forel (1909e) description of recticeps.

Even allowing for the brevity of Stitz's note, the features and drawing, appear to be a close match for the tristis type (shown below). Bpth are matched by the recticeps type and the fresh specimens from Egypt (on the linked pages). Santschi (1936c) commented that, apart from the paler colour, cicatricosa and tristis were identical. He noted also that tristis had a wider postpetiole than the type pallidula. Menozzi (1940: 268) reporting Pheidole pallidula var. recticeps For. from Tripolitana, lists major & minor workers from Tagiura, and refers to Zavattari (p 277) [Prodromo della fauna della Libia, Pavia, 1934] as giving this form only from Cirenaica & Fezzan.

Egypt records - Pheidole pallidula ssp tristis var recticeps Forel (1909e: 391), collected at Cairo, by Ed. Wundsam, soldier & workers passed to Forel at Ghadamès (Sahara) by Ali Ben Belkassem; Pheidole pallidula recticeps Menozzi - in HNS as Pheidole pallidula var. recticeps Menozzi (1932e: 452, soldier & worker); also record in Mohamed et al (2001). P. pallidula was recorded by Forel (1907a) from Alexandria by Biró. Wheeler & Mann (1916) reported it from Wadi Feran & Wadi Gazelle, Sinai Peninsula. Donisthorpe (1942a) recorded var tristis from Siwa, three soldiers & numerous workers; also var recticeps (Forel; not in Bolton, 1995) Siwa & Bachrein; all collected by J Omer-Cooper, July-August 1935; others from the same location were listed by Donisthorpe (1947e).

Mohamad thesis (1979) had - P. pallidula recticeps Fayium, 2.v.1952; Burg El-Arab (Alexandria), 17-18.iv.1953; Abu qir (Alexandria), 19.iv.1953, 10.iv.1955; Alexandria,2.iii.1955; Gebel Asfar (Qaliobyia), 20.iii.1955; El-Dekheila (Alexandria),8.iv.1955; Cairo, 28.v.1955; Damanhour (Nile Delta),1.iv.1956; Benha,6.ii.1975; Cairo,; Heliopolis (Cairo), 4.vii.1975; Siwa oasis (Western desert), 13iv.1976; Tanta (Nile Delta), 7.xii.1977; El-Mahalla El-Kobra (Nile Delta), 8.xii.1977; Kafr El-Sheikh (Nile Delta), 22.xii.1977 (Coll.Ain.)

{Pheidole cicatricosa major from Algeria}Photomontage of the major worker of Pheidole pallidula Nyl. v. cicatricosa n.v. of Stitz (1917: 340); from Algeria, Oued Agelil, 30.i.1914, collected by V Geyer. Collated from

{Pheidole cicatricosa head}Comparision of the heads of major workers of pallidula and cicatricosa, including the hypostomal teeth arrangement.
{Pheidole pallifula head}

{Pheidole cicatricosa minor from Algeria}Photomontage of the Pheidole pallidula Nyl. v. cicatricosa n.v. minor worker from Algeria, Temassini, 30.i.1914, collected by V Geyer; of Stitz (1917: 340). Collated from

With the availability of fresh specimens from Egypt and Spain, also a minor from Mali, the link pages give fresh photographs and descriptions of
Major workers; Minor workers

Oxford University Museum specimens

Pheidole tristis
B Taylor det.

M Fadl Ali

El Minia
major & minor workers
Pheidole tristis
B Taylor det.

M Sharaf

30°39' N
32°53' E
North Sinai, Abumadi
Pheidole tristis
B Taylor det.
David King
King 46

12°37.481' N
8°00.27' W
P323 m asl; foraging on wall of outside stairwell
Pheidole tristis
B Taylor det.
X Espadaler

41.3833333 N
2.1833333 W
Garden Costa i Llobera
major & minor workers
© 2009, 2015, 2019 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.