The Ants of Africa
Genus Pheidole
Pheidole mayri Forel

fervens-group - Major distinguished particularly by the transverse metanotal welt; head with longitudinal striations or rugae, long frontal carinae with more or less distinct shallow scrobes; mandibles with two short apical teeth

Pheidole mayri Forel

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Senegal (Pheidole Mayri, n. spec. Forel, 1894b: 91, major & minor) no details - see below; major & minor described (see Bolton, 1995) .

Forel's (1894b) description is at {original description}. Translation by Hauke Koch - Pheidole mayri
Major: TL 4.4-4.8 mm. Mandibles and clypeus identical to the previous [Pheidole sculpturata r berthoudi]. Head only slightly or barely longer than wide, wider at the base than at the front, at the base deeply incised, approximately as in rhombinoda [Pheidole rhombinoda Mayr, 1879: 678, from India] that is very similar to this species. The strongly diverging frontal carinae are protruding to the hind third of the head, and spare a groove for the scapus [scrobe], that reaches the hind third of the head as well. In all parts identical to P. rhombinoda, as well in sculpture, colour and pilosity, but the propodeum has two rather long, thin spines, which are 2/3 as long as their distance and slightly curved inwards. The petiole is extremely short, wider than long (longer than wide in rhombinoda), frontally with blunt edges (sharp in rhombinoda), frontal-ventrally with a long lamellate, slightly translucent tooth (without tooth in rhombinoda). The postpetiole as in rhombinoda, very broad and rounded, with transparent hind part of the lateral margin, but much wider than long and ventrally with a small tooth (hardly wider than long and without ventral tooth in rhombinoda). Basal half of the first gastral segment barely shiny, finely reticulate and spaciously longitudinally striate.
Minor: TL 2.5-2.7 mm. Slightly compacter than rhombinoda, the head with a distinct occipital margin (more rounded in rhombinoda). Propodeum totally unarmed (with two sharp spines in rhombinoda). Otherwise identical, especially the large postpetiole. Collected from a passion fruit from Senegal, wherein a lot of soldiers and workers were included alive with their larvae. The fruit had just arrived from Senegal in Paris as I myself had, and the ants were donated alive to me by Mister J. Künckel. The similarity and relation to the Indian form is so striking, that I have to pose the question if it is not an Indian species, that had nested in the steamboat and there entered the passion fruit.

Mayr's (1879) description of P. rhombinoda, from Calcutta, India, is at {original description}; Bingham (1903: 250) gave a translation of rhombinoda from South Asia, this is at {original description}.

{Pheidole mayri major}The photomontage of a type major worker is collated from

{Pheidole mayri minor}The photomontage of a type minor worker is collated from

I have treated the specimens from Nigeria that I originally labelled as Pheidole species T˛ as representative of mayri as they are readily separable from Pheidole bayeri (Forel), which I have raised from the all too common Forel status of subspecies of caffra. The further specimens from the Central African Republc (below) are a good match. The majors and minors of both samples do seem remarkably close to Pheidole rhombinoda (as translated by Bingham, 1903). The minors differ from Forel's description in having propodeal spines, like rhombinoda.

{Pheidole mayri major}Nigeria specimen (Pheidole species T˛ in Taylor, 1980a: .

Major - TL 5.76, HL 1.71, HW 1.59, SL 0.90, PW 0.75; spiculate on lateral mesonotum, propodeum and pedicel; head markedly rugose all over, more reticulate on the occiput; frontal carinae long, equal to the scapes in length. Alitrunk dorsum transversely faintly rugose; pronounced dorsolateral tubercles, spines moderately long, narrow and parallel-sided with a blunt apex. Postpetiole produced laterally to form triangular prominences in dorsal view.

{Pheidole mayri minor}Nigeria specimen (Pheidole species T˛ in Taylor, 1980a: .

Minor - TL 3.08, HL 0.75, HW 0.56, SL 0.89, PW 0.42; with unusually large eyes; head, pronotum and gaster unsculptured; propodeal spines thick and blunt.

Oxford University Museum specimens

Pheidole mayri
B Taylor det.
E Poirier
Yekepa Camp 4
PF 2
Nimba County
07°33’04" N
08°33’17" E
Pitfall trap
Floodplain & marsh
501 m asl
Pheidole mayri
B Taylor det.
Ivory Coast
Erena Dupont
Taď National Park
5˚45'00" N
7˚07'00" W
Pheidole mayri
B Taylor det.
Y Braet & E Zassi

tree savannah, 24 h pitfall trap

{Pheidole mayri minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Liberia, Yekepa, 2013, collector E Poirier (Camp 4 PF2).

{Pheidole mayri minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Ivory Coast, Tai; collector Erena Dupont, iii.2014.

{Pheidole mayri minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Congo, Iboubikro, 25.i.2008, collectors Yves Braet & Eric Zassi. Apart from being somewhat small this appears to be a good match for the type minor (above).

© 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.