Pheidole californicaHNS Mayr
Pheidole californicaHNS Mayr 1870b: 987. Syn.: Pheidole oregonica EmeryHNS 1895d: 291,
; Pheidole californica var. incenata WheelerHNS 1915b: 407, synonomy by Creighton 1950a:173; Pheidole californica var. satura WheelerHNS 1915b: 407, synonomy by Creighton 1950a: 173; Pheidole californica subsp.pyramidensis EmeryHNS 1922c: 105 (replacement name for nevadensis WheelerHNS 1915b: 408, junior primary homonym ofpheidole nevadensisHNS Forel 190 lj: 353), synonomy by G. C. and J. Wheeler 1986g: 18; Pheidole californica var. shoshoni ColeHNS 1933b: 618, synonomy by Gregg 1959: 1-9; Pheidole californica var. hagermani ColeHNS 1936a: 35, synonomy by Creighton 1950a:173.
Types Naturhist. Mus. Wien.
Etymology Based on the state of origin of the type series.
diagnosis A member of the " piliferaHNS complex" of the larger piliferaHNS group, comprising calensHNS, californicaHNS, carrolliHNS, cavigenisHNS, clementensisHNS, creightoniHNS, hopliticaHNS, littoralisHNS, miculaHNS, piliferaHNS, polymorphaHNS, rugulosaHNS, senexHNS, soritisHNS, tepicanaHNS, and torosaHNS, which complex is characterized by the following traits. Major: dorsal head surface extensively sculptured; occipital lobes horizontally rugulose (or, in carrolliHNS smooth, in littoralisHNS foveate, and in miculaHNS and soritisHNS carinulate); postpetiole from above angulate and. trapezoidal to spinose. Minor: eye medium-sized to large.
P. californicaHNS is distinguished within this complex by the following combination of traits. Color yellow.
Major: all of pronotum smooth and shiny; humerus in dorsal-oblique view low and smoothly convex; propodeal spine in side view equilaterally triangular; postpetiole from above trapezoidal. Closest to clementensisHNS, from which it differs by its smaller size (HW in californicaHNS major about 0.90 mm, in clementensis majorHNS about 1.10 mm) and proportionately larger eye (major EL/HW 0.20 in californicaHNS versus 0.13 in clementensisHNS). Also, the sides of the major head are smooth and shiny in some, but not all, californicaHNS populations (Philip S. Ward, personal communication).
measurements (mm) Major (Palo Alto, California): HW 0.92, HL 1.06, SL 0.54, EL 0.18, PW 0.44.
Minor (Palo Alto): HW 0.48, HL 0.56, SL 0.48, EL 0.12, PW 0.28.
Color Major: concolorous yellow; gaster a slightly contrasting brownish yellow.
Minor: yellow with a slight brownish tinge.
Range California north to Washington, east to Idaho and New Mexico.
Biology Colonies have been found nesting variously under objects, in oak galls, or in open sandy soil (Cole 1934b; Mallis 1941). Stefan Cover reports a population in moist spots in a grazed Chihuahuan desert at 1295 m in Hidalgo, extreme southwest New Mexico. The colonies were nesting in soil with a high clay content; the most common other ant species was Leptothorax pergandeiHNS.
figure Upper: major. Lower: minor. CALIFORNICA: Palo Alto. Type locality: San Francisco. Scale bars = 1 mm.