Pheidole gilvescens

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. -1--1: 577

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Pheidole gilvescens


Pheidole gilvescens  HNS  Creighton and Gregg

Pheidole gilvescens  HNS  Creighton and Gregg 1955: 5. First available use of Pheidole xerophila subsp. tucsonica var. gilvescens Wheeler  HNS  1908h: 448, unavailable name (quadrinomial).

Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard; Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.

etymology L gilvescens  HNS  , pale yellow, pertaining to the color of the minor, distinguishing the species from xerophila.

diagnosis A small, large-eyed member of the pilifera  HNS  group, close to xerophila  HNS  and distinguished from it as follows. Major: body almost entirely reddish yellow; postpetiolar node transversely oval in shape; sides of pronotum carinulate. Minor: entirely yellow (as opposed to yellowish brown).

With xerophila  HNS  , the entire head of the major tapers conspicuously from midlevel to the occiput in side view.

Measurements (mm) Lectotype major: HW 1.42, HL 1.48, SL 0.66, EL 0.22, PW 0.66.

Paralectotype minor: HW 0.58, HL 0.80, SL 0.52, EL 0.18, PW 0.32.

color Major: body and appendages dark reddish yellow; gaster partly light brown.

Minor: body medium yellow, appendages pale yellow.

Range Creighton and Gregg (1955) and Wheeler and Wheeler (1986g) report the species (and I have mostly confirmed) as occurring from south-central Arizona through southern Nevada to the eastern slope of the California Sierras.

biology In southern California, Snelling and George (1979) found gilvescens  HNS  common at 150-1500 m in grassland, creosote bush scrub, wash woodlands, and Joshua tree woodlands. Small crater nests are built in sand and are often surrounded by chaff. The colonies contain up to 500 workers. The ants are primarily granivorous but also collect arthropods, apparently as scavengers. Repletes are occasionally found. Foraging begins at dusk, continues through the night, and ends early in the morning. Winged queens have been found in nests in late May, and males in May and September.

Figure Lectotype, major. ARIZONA: Tucson (W. M. Wheeler). Scale bar = 1 mm.