The Ants of Africa
Genus Pheidole
Pheidole tristis  ? cicatricosa Forel - new status - name tristis preoccupied

Pheidole cicatricosa Stitz - new status

return to key MAJOR return to key MINOR {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Tunisia (Pheidole pallidula Nyl., v. tristis n. var., Forel, 1907b: 204, worker [not queen]; Santschi, 1908: 521, major, queen & male) collected at Kairouan, by Dr F Santschi - no images on Antweb (November 2014)
junior synonym cicatricosa (Pheidole pallidula Nyl., v. cicatricosa n. v., Stitz, 1917: 340, illustrated, major & minor workers; synonymy with pallidula by Collingwood, 1978: 68, without notes) from Algeria, Oued Agelil, 30.i.1914, collected by V Geyer - no images on Antweb (November 2014) but see linked major and minor pages (FoCol images).

{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}. Emery (1915j) gave an illustrated note on recticeps, this is at {original description}. Santschi (1936c) gave a short note, this is at {original description}.

Note: Name tristis preoccupied by Pheidole tristis (F Smith, 1858b: 132; combination in Pheidole by Mayr, 1886c: 360) type location Brazil (type images see Replacement name tristior by Schmitz, 1950: 16; no other information. [Schmitz, H. 1950. Formicidae quaedam a cl. A. Stärcke determinatae, quas in Lusitania collegit. Brotéria. Serie Ciencias Naturais, 19, 12-16.]

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. It seems clear from Finzi's (1936) description and our fresh specimens that recticeps is a junior synonym of the type form Pheidole pallidula

{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.

Even allowing for the brevity of Stitz's note, the features and drawing, appear to be a good match for the specimens from Egypt as shown below. This was confirmed by the photographs, also shown below, from kindly sent to us by Dr Christiana Klingenberg.

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.)

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, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.