The Ants of Africa
Genus Pheidole
Pheidole sculpturata Mayr

Pheidole sculpturata Mayr

return to key return to listIran list {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Africa (Pheidole sculpturata nov. spec., Mayr, 1866b: 897, major; Emery, 1895h: 31, minor) - see below
junior synonyms (status here)
areolata (Pheidole sculpturata Mayr var. areolata n. var., Forel, 1911e: 269, major & minor), from South Africa, Bothaville, Orange State, collected by Dr Brauns - see below (apparently mislabelled as from "Liberia")
berthoudi (Pheidole sculpturata Mayr, r. Berthoudi n. stirps, Forel, 1894b: 89, major & minor; raised to species by Santschi, 1921f, subspecies of sculpturata in Emery, 1921f: 89) from South Africa, Valdezia, Transvaal, collector Rev Paul Berthoud - see
rhodesiana (Pheidole excellens Mayr r. rhodesiana n. st., Forel, 1913a: 131, major & minor; Arnold, 1920a: 470, male; stirps of sculpturata, Santschi, 1930b: 63, footnote) from Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, collector Arnold - see
reddenburgensis (Ph. (Allopheidole) cuitensis For. r. reddenburgensis n. st., Forel, 1913a: 135, all forms; subspecies of capensis by Emery, 1915j: 246) from South Africa - see below - added here
particeps (Pheidole Berthoudi For. var. particeps nov. var., Santschi, 1921c: 116, minor) from Tanzania, collected at Bukoba, by Viehmeyer - see linked page .

Mayr's (1866b) description is at {original description}. Emery's (1895h) description of the minor is at {original description}. Arnold (1920a: 461) gave an illustrated translation and notes on the minor, this is at {original description}. Forel's (1894b) description of berthoudi is at {original description}. Forel's (1911e) description of areolata is at {original description}. Santschi's (1921c) description of particeps is at {original description}. Forel's (1913a) description of rhodesiana is at {original description}. Arnold (1920a: 469) gave an illustrated translation of rhodesiana, this is at {original description}. Arnold (1920a: 463) gave translations of areolata and berthoudi, these are at {original description}.  Forel's (1913a) description of reddenburgensis is at {original description}. Arnold (1920a: 450) gave an illustrated translation, this is at {original description} and {original description}.

I have created a separate page for the clearly different Pheidole sculpturata particeps. Although Santschi described it as a form of P. berthoudi the type images show that to be identical to the type sculpturata.

I have separated the quite dramatically different Pheidole welgelegensis as a distinct species, even though I had only the minor workers. I suspect the records from West Africa and the Congo Basin were mostly, if not all, of welgelegenensis.. Similarly also very different is the small species Pheidole zambesiana, TL ca 4.8 mm, which lacks erect pilosity.

{Pheidole sculpturata}It is very clear, however, that there is real and wide variation between the described forms, as follows. Without images of the Mayr types, it is not possible usefully clarify the situation.

I have derived sizes of Antweb images specimens by assuming the accuracy of the Antweb scales, with the suspicion that the automontage process sometimes distorts the shapes, specially in full face view of what after all is not a flat object.,

Mayr gave the size as major - TL 9.5 mm, HL 3.8 (Arnold added HW 2.8); minor TL 3.0-3.2 mm. Emery (1895h) described the major of a "simple variety" as TL no more than 8 mm, HL 3.5, HW 2.6; minor TL 3.0 mm.

Forel (1911e) described areolata, the major he gave as TL 8 mm, HL 3, HW 2.6-2.7. The minor was TL 2.8 mm. From Bothaville, Orange Free State, by Dr Brauns.

Note: The specimens from the Antweb images and bearing the labels areolata typus are from Liberia and so are not the true types. These have major TL ca 6.7 mm, HL 2.4, HW 2.0; minor TL ca 2.5 mm, HL 0.64, HW 0.6.  (types shown below). They, however, are a close match in size and form to the types of dignata

Forel (1909b) noted that Creighton Wellman collected specimens of berthoudi tending aphids in Benguela; TL of major 5.3-6.0 mm; minor TL 3.2 mm.

Forel (1913a) had rhodesiana as major TL 7.0 mm, HL 3.3, HW 2.2; minor TL 3.0 mm. He gave zambesiana as major TL 6.0 mm; minor TL 2.4 mm. These sizes match the Antweb scale sizes on the rhodesiana images.

Santschi (1921c) gave particeps minor as TL 3.2-3.5 mm.

Major and minor specimens from Botswana identified by B Bolton are shown at the bottom and, apart from very minor differences in sculpturation, are very similar to those I have. They are smaller, however, smaller with TL ca 7.0 mm, HL2.2, HW 1.92; minor TL ca 3.3 mm, HL 0.91 HW 0.82.

The Ethiopia specimens (shown below) that I have are: major TL ca 9.5 mm, HL 3.1, HW 3.0; minor  TL ca 3.8 mm, HL 1.1, HW 0.9.

Minors with the body very matt, and head near square (after Bernard, 1952). Collingwood & Agosti (1996) denote it as separable from teneriffana by the postpetiole being as three times as wide as long, and, the head with the median occipital area smooth. Legs and antennae clothed with erect pubescence. Note - they separated katonae as a separate species, in which the appendages have decumbent pubescence and the head sculpturation is weak and stated the earlier reference to sculpturata (by Collingwood, 1985) was an error.

{Pheidole capensis reddenburgensis}Unusual in having polymorphic workers, which led Forel (1913a) to suggest a new subgenus Allopheidole. Arnold (1920a) tried to have the name altered to reddersburgensis, so as to accurately reflect the type location, but this was not accepted by Wheeler (1922: 809).

{Pheidole sculpturata major}The photomontage is of the type major collated from
There is a puzzle here as Mayr (1866b) did not describe a minor worker. This major and the minor below bear location labels as Bothaville, which is where the Forel specimens, designated as areolata, came from (also mentioned by Arnold, 1920a). Mayr gave the original major as from "Caffernland", a historically ambiguous area which seems likely not to include Bothaville.

{Pheidole sculpturata minor}The photomontage is of the type minor collated from

Note the smooth frons and the small propodeal spines, plus generally faint sculpture.

{Pheidole sculpturata major}The photomontage is of a major from Botswana, identified by B Bolton, collated from

{Pheidole sculpturata minor}The photomontage is of a minor from Botswana, identified by B Bolton, collated from

{Pheidole sculpturata areolata major}The photomontage is of the areolata major, collated from
Note there is some error in the Antweb scales as the head appears to be some 120% wider in the full face view than the scale for the dorsal view indicates. The location label Liberia is puzzling as the types were from Bothaville, South Africa in Forel (1911e).

{Pheidole sculpturata minor}The photomontage is of the areolata minor, collated from

Pheidole cuitensis majorThe photomontage of a syntype major worker of reddenburgensis is collated from

TL ca 6.3 mm, HL 1.88, HW 1.72, SL 0.70, PW 0.8,  CI 92, SI 41.

This 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).

{Pheidole cuitensis minor}The photomontage of a syntype minor worker of reddenburgensis is collated from

TL ca 3.6, HL 0.71, HW 0.71, SL 0.57, PW 0.44, CI 100, SI 82.

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.