The Ants of Africa
Genus Pheidole
Pheidole termitophila Forel

termitophila group - Major - head longer than wide by at least 25%; mandibles very stout with dentate border and distinct apical teeth; clypeus with at least a shallow central notch; postpetiole with distinct lateral prominences; minor head square; major and minor with relatively swollen three-segmented club

Pheidole termitophila Forel

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Sudan (Pheidole termitophila n. sp., Forel, 1904h: 13, major, minor & queen; the name suggests it lives with or in the nest mounds of termites) Kaka, White Nile, 10° 34' 36" N 32° 06' 47" E; Jaegerskiold, 6.iii.1901 - see below
subspecies liberiensis (Pheidole termitophila Forel subsp. liberiensis n. subsp., Forel, 1911e: 270, major & minor) from Liberia at Golah, collector? - see below.
Major, minor and queen described (see Bolton, 1995) .

Forel's (1904h) description is at {original description}. Forel's (1911e) description of liberiensis is at {original description}. Bernard's (1952: 226) note is at {original description}.

Wheeler (1922) has a record of the species sensu stricto from Senegal (Dakar, F. Silvestri) and liberiensis from Guinea (Mamou and Kakoulima, by F. Silvestri).

Bernard, see below, noted the typical form had been found also in Benin (1952: 226, illustrated). From Guinea he reported further findings of liberiensis (with a larger postpetiole) at Zouépo, 1250 m, one major and one minor, and a major from Camp IV (forest, 1000 m, Lamotte) which differed in having a browner head and with the vertex more indented posteriorly.

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

{Pheidole termitophila minorThe photomontage of a type minor worker is collated from

Pheidole termitophila majorThe photomontage of the type major worker of liberiensis is collated from

Oxford University Museum Collection records

{Pheidole termitophila major}The photomontage is of a major worker from Liberia, Yekepa; collector E Poirier (Camp 4 PF13).

Pheidole termitophila minorThe photomontage is of a minor worker from Liberia, Yekepa; collector E Poirier (Camp 4 PF13).

{Pheidole termitophila minor}

Minor workers from Congo - Réserve de Lésio-Louna; collector Eric Zassi (n sp 45 & 49).
This exactly matches the type form in size and colour.

{Pheidole termitophila minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Mali, Bamako, 12.37.48° N 8.00.27° W, 323 m; Nest in soil in hotel grounds; collector David M King (King 48).

The Forel (1904h) description of the type form minor worker is limited but this worker is a good match.  It appears unique amongst, at least African, Pheidole in having psammophore hairs on the underside of the head.  The type location close to the White Nile is essentially Sahelian scrub desert, similar to the environs of Bamako.

TL ca 2.2 HL 0.46 HW 0.42 EL 0.10 SL 0.48 PW 0.40 CI 85 SI 115 EI 24

Head with weakly concave occiput; mandibles smmoth both 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.

{Pheidole termitophila liberiensis}Pheidole liberiensis form

Bernard (1952) noted :
the liberiensis major had the head entirely striate and with a long frontal groove; the clypeus submatt; postpetiole brown and reticulated much wider than long;
the minor had the second segment of the antennal club twice as long as wide; (propodeal) spines quite distinct; postpetiole angular and twice as wide as is is long.

The minor workers shown below have
TL ca 1.9 mm HL 0.44 HW 0.41 SL 0.42 EL 0.09 PW 0.28 CI 94 SI 100 EI 20

All are brown in somewhat variable shades, but a common feature is the lighter areas on the clypeus; the ovoid head with convex sides and occiput; moderate ovoid to tear-drop shaped eyes set forward of the midline; the postpetioles have weakly prounounced lateral apices, suggesting Bernard's drawing may have been exaggerated.

All are from the edge of wooded areas or open grass areas in woodland.
Comparision of the type images show the two forms to be identical.

{Pheidole termitophila}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Liberia (Nimba), Liabala; collector E Poiriet (Liabala PF 8).

{Pheidole termitophila}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Gabon, Pongara National Park; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 70; similar workers Gabon76, 79 & 91).

{Pheidole termitophila minor}

Minor worker from Central African Republic, Dzanga-Sangha; collector P Annoyer (PCO2 XAV).

{Pheidole termitophila minor}

Minor worker from Cameroun, Dzanga-Sangha; collector A Fotso Kuate (fk Pheidole sp 10).

© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
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