Pheidole metallescens Emery

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. -1--1: 453

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Pheidole metallescens Emery


Pheidole metallescens Emery  HNS 

Pheidole metallescens Emery  HNS  1895d: 294. Syn.: Pheidole metallescens subsp. splendidula Wheeler  HNS  1908h: 474, n. syn.

Types Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. Genova.

Etymology L metallescens  HNS  , metallic, alluding to the gun-metal blue reflections from the body of the minor.

diagnosis A distinctive species, similar in some traits to ceibana  HNS  , harrisonfordi  HNS  , and lignicola  HNS  , distinguished as follows. Major: reddish brown; occiput rugoreticulate, with the reticulum extending partway anteriorly down the side of the head to near the eye, and another, small patch of rugoreticulum occurs between the eye and antennal fossa on each side; humerus prominent, subangulate from above and lobate in dorsal-oblique view; propodeal spine long and thin; postpetiole wide and elliptical from above, and with subangulate anterior ventral margin.

Minor: body blackish with bluish reflections; often most of mesosoma foveolate and opaque. Minors of some series have entirely foveate heads and may represent a distinct species. measurements (mm) Major (Archbold Station, Florida): HW 0.84, HL 0.94, SL 0.42, EL 0.12, PW 0.44. Minor (Archbold Station): HW 0.42, HL 0.46, SL 0.40, EL 0.10, PW 0.26.

Color Major: bicolored, with head and appendages light reddish brown, and rest of body medium to dark brown.

Minor: body concolorous blackish brown, with metallic bluish reflections; central parts of femora and tibiae medium brown; distal and proximal portions brownish yellow.

Range From central Florida through the Gulf States to Oklahoma and southern Texas.

Biology Naves (1985) reports metallescens  HNS  as common in Florida, preferring to nest in the shade of trees. Nests are in the soil, surrounded by small craters of excavated earth, and comprising small chambers connected by a central vertical gallery to a depth of up to 40 cm. Each colony has a single queen. The minor workers, often accompanied by majors, collect small grass seeds and scavenge for dead arthropods. In Texas, Stefan Cover found the species in similar habitats, nesting variously in the soil and in rotting logs.

Figure Upper: major. Lower: minor. FLORIDA: Archbold Station, near Sebring, Highlands Co. [Type locality: St. George (Cape or Island), Florida.] Scale bars = 1 mm.