Pheidole microgyna Wheeler

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. -1--1: 456

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Pheidole microgyna Wheeler


Pheidole microgyna Wheeler  HNS 

Pheidole microgyna Wheeler  HNS  1928b: 186. Further definition of status in Wilson 1984b: 323.

types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard.

etymology Gr microgyna  HNS  , small female.

diagnosis A member of the flavens  HNS  group similar to minutula  HNS  but the queen much smaller, close in size to the worker caste of minutula  HNS  . Body form as illustrated above.

measurements (mm) Lectotype queen: HW 0.46, HL 0.48, SL 0.40, EL 0.20, PW 0.36. color Concolorous light reddish brown, appendages yellowish brown.

range Known only from the type locality.

biology P. microgyna  HNS  appears to be a social parasite of Pheidole minutula  HNS  . The latter species is abundant in the Amazonian and Guianan rainforests of South America, where it nests in the swollen leaf bases of the melastome understory shrub Maieta guianensis. In an earlier analysis (Wilson 1984b), I pointed out that microg)>na may have its own workers, which are anatomically somewhat different from those of minutula  HNS  , or workers identifiable as minutula  HNS  . This circumstance suggests that microgyna  HNS  is a temporary social parasite of minutula  HNS  or some related free-living species. The small size of the microgyna  HNS  queens also suggests such a life cycle. However, the status of this unusual form will not be solved until additional collections are made, preferably with field observations, allowing the taxonomy of the minutula  HNS  complex to be more fully clarified.

Figure Lectotype, queen. GUYANA: Kartabo.

Outline of frontal view of head of minutula  HNS  worker shown to left of that of the queen. Scale bar = 1 mm.