Pheidole tysoni

Wilson, E. O., 2003, Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. -1--1: 528-529

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Pheidole tysoni


Pheidole tysoni  HNS  Forel

Pheidole tysoni  HNS  Forel 1901J: 348.

types Mus. Hist. Nat. Geneve.

Etymology Named after "M. Tyson," whose farm was near the type locality.

Diagnosis A medium-sized yellow member of the flavens  HNS  group distinguished by the nearly complete absence of sculpturing on the body, except for longitudinal carinulae on the anterior half of the head capsule of the major and minor, short and faint carinulae on the humerus of the major, and small patches of foveolae on the waist (major) or propodeal dorsum (minor). Propodeal spine short and suberect in both castes. Postpetiolar node of major broad and oval. Vertex of major (center of dorsum of head) with a faint circular brown spot.

Similar to amabilis  HNS  , boliviana  HNS  , melastomae  HNS  , mixteca  HNS  , scitula  HNS  , and especially terresi  HNS  of Hispaniola. Most easily distinguished from the often sympatric Pheidole bicarinata  HNS  by the absence of sculpture on the sides of the propodeum in the minor. In bicarinata  HNS  minors these are foveolate.

Measurements (mm) Major (figured specimen above): HW 0.94, HL 1.10, SL 0.44, EL 0.12, PW 0.48. Minor (figured specimen above): HW 0.44, HL 0.48, SL 0.42, EL 0.06, PW 0.28. Color Major and minor: concolorous clear medium yellow. Minor head with a slightly reddish tinge.

Range P. tysoni  HNS  appears to have a disjunct distribution. I have seen material from New York south to extreme northwest Georgia (Clayton, Rabun Co.) and westward through Tennessee and Kentucky to Barry Co., Kentucky. Stefan Cover has collected it in the Davis Mts. of western Texas at 1800 m, and at 1400-1800 m in the mountains of southern Arizona. Moody and Francke (1982) record a single colony found at 950 m in Hale Co., western Texas. Single series are recorded from near Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and New

Liberia, Louisiana, by William MacKay. The latter two records are somewhat anomalous in view of the otherwise montane and cooltemperate range of the species.

Biology In New York, Stefan Cover (unpublished field notes) encountered colonies of tysoni  HNS  in pure sandy soil of the Suffolk Co. pine barrens; in New York City, itself, he found a colony in the clayey soil of a residential lawn. In southern Arizona, he encountered the species in open woodlands variously composed of combinations of oak and juniper, usually with a grassy cover; nests were usually in the shade, either under stones or in open soil with or without craters of excavated earth. The soil varied from loam to fine sand. A nest Cover found in the Davis Mts. of Texas was beneath a stone in open oak-juniper-pinyon woodland. In Hale Co., Texas, Moody and Francke (1982) found a colony in the open ground of a vacant lot, the entrance surrounded by a 55-mm-wide tumulus of excavated soil. According to Cover, seeds are occasionally found in the nest, and workers tend aphids and collect floral nectar on low, herbaceous plants.

FIGURE Upper: major. Lower: minor. TENNESSEE: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Type locality: at base of Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina, collected by Auguste Forel.) Scale bars = 1 mm.