Pheidole masoala species group

Based on Salata & Fisher, 2020.

Species

Pheidole lamperos complex

Pheidole masoala complex

Pheidole zavamanira complex

Species Identification


Pheidole lamperos species complex

Major workers of this complex can be easily distinguished by a combination of the following characters: head, in full-face and lateral view, sub-rectangular; antennal scrobes with smooth to indistinctly rugulae interspaces between rugae; mesosoma predominantly smooth, with very indistinct, short, irregular rugulae, and black body colouration. Minor workers can be distinguished from other groups by sparse but distinct foveolae with smooth interspaces covering head and mesosoma, additional arcuate rugae on vertex and transverse rugae on promesonotum, and dark brown body colouration.

Pheidole masoala species complex

Major workers can be distinguished by a combination of the following characters: head in full-face and lateral views sub-rectangular with flat ventral and dorsal faces; in most cases antennal scrobes are indistinctly to distinctly delimited (not delimited in P. fisaka sp. nov. and P. andapa sp. nov.); scrobe surface foveolate, sometimes with additional sparse and thick rugae; small and triangular propodeal spines (only P. andapa sp. nov. has propodeal spines moderately long); finely foveolate mesosoma with additional sparse and thin rugoreticulation; smooth to finely shagreened gaster, and dark yellow to dark brown body. Minor workers can be distinguished based on foveolate head and mesosoma, with genae and katepisternum smooth or with reduced sculpture (P. binara sp. nov. has katepisternum foveolate); minute to small and triangular propodeal spines, and body yellow to dark yellow.

Pheidole zavamanira species complex

Major workers of this complex can be distinguished based on a combination of the following characters: head in full-face view oval, in lateral view sub-rectangular; lateral sides of head foveolate with a few indistinct rugae; genae with smooth notches; moderately long propodeal spines; smooth katepisternum, and finely shagreened first gastral tergite. Minor workers can be separated based on foveolate head and mesosoma, frons with a few indistinct rugulae; short propodeal spines; and smoky yellow body colouration.

Group Diagnosis

Major workers Small species; head in full-face view sub-rectangular or oval, anterior and posterior sides of eyes relatively straight or convex; in lateral view sub-rectangular; ventral and dorsal faces relatively flat; dorsal face finely depressed posteriorly (except Pheidole zavamanira); antennal scrobes absent, indistinct or well developed; scrobe surface and lateral sides of head foveolate with or without additional sparse, thick, and irregular to longitudinal rugae or with thick, longitudinal, and long rugae with smooth to indistinctly rugulose interspaces; frons always with thick to thin, longitudinal rugae; occipital lobes with thick irregular rugae, interspaces smooth to rugulae; promesonotum relatively low and evenly angular; promesonotal groove absent; mesosoma never entirely smooth, most often foveolate with additional indistinct, irregular, short rugulae; gaster smooth to finely shagreened; body yellow to black.

Minor workers Head and mesosoma at least partly foveolate, sometimes with additional rugae; genae always with reduced sculpture or smooth; scape, when laid back, reaching the posterior head margin or surpassing it by one- to two-fifths of its length; promesonotum low, long, flat, or slightly convex, with relatively convex to steep posterior declivity; promesonotal groove absent; metanotal groove present; body yellow to dark brown.

Pheidole lamperos species complex

Major Workers Head, in full-face, view sub-rectangular, in lateral view sub-rectangular, ventral and dorsal faces relatively flat, dorsal face finely depressed posteriorly; antennal scrobes indistinct and not delimited by carinulae; occipital lobes with thick, irregular rugae, interspaces distinctly rugulose; antennal scrobes and frons with thick, longitudinal, and long rugae, interspaces smooth to indistinctly rugulose; genae with smooth posterior part; metanotal groove absent; propodeal spines moderately long; promesonotum, katepisternum, anepisternum, and dorsoventral surface of propodeum predominantly smooth, with very indistinct, short irregular rugulae; gaster finely shagreened; body black.

Minor Workers Head with sparse but distinct foveolae and smooth interspaces, frons with additional longitudinal to irregular, thick rugae, vertex with thick, sparse, and arcuate rugae, genae smooth; scape, when laid back, surpassing the posterior head margin by one-fifth of its length; promesonotum, in lateral view, low, long, and slightly convex; propodeal spines short, triangular; mesosoma with thick and sparse foveolae with smooth interspaces, promesonotum with additional sparse, thick, transverse rugae; body dark brown.

Pheidole masoala species complex

Major Workers Head in full-face view sub-rectangular, anterior and posterior sides of eyes relatively straight or convex; in lateral view sub-rectangular; ventral and dorsal faces relatively flat; dorsal face finely depressed posteriorly; antennal scrobes indistinct or well developed; not delimited or delimited indistinctly to distinctly; scrobe surface foveolate, sometimes with additional sparse, thick, and irregular to longitudinal rugae; occipital lobes with interspaces smooth to rugulae; frons with moderately dense to dense, thick, and longitudinal rugae, interspaces smooth to rugo-foveolate; promesonotum moderately long; metanotal groove absent or present; propodeal spines small, triangular (only P. andapa sp. nov. has propodeal spines moderately long); mesosoma with fine foveolae, additional sparse and thin rugoreticulation on promesonotum or propodeum; gaster smooth to finely shagreened; body dark yellow to black.

Minor Workers Head foveolate, genae with reduced sculpture or smooth; scape, when laid back, reaching the posterior head margin or surpassing it by one- to two-fifths of its length; promesonotum low, long, flat, or slightly convex, with relatively convex to steep posterior declivity (P. andapa sp. nov. has promesonotum short); propodeal spines minute to small, triangular; mesosoma foveolate, katepisternum smooth or with smooth notches (P. binara sp. nov. has katepisternum foveolate and promesonotum short); body yellow to dark yellow.

Pheidole zavamanira species complex

Major workers Head in full-face view oval, in lateral view sub-rectangular; ventral and dorsal faces relatively flat and dorsal face not depressed posteriorly; antennal scrobes absent; lateral sides of head foveolate with a few thin, irregular to longitudinal short rugae; occipital lobes shiny, with fine and sparse foveolae and sparse, thick, irregular rugae, foveolae fading posteriorly; genae shiny, with dense and thin rugulae, central part smooth; metanotal groove absent; propodeal spines moderately long; mesosoma with fine and dense foveolae and additional indistinct, irregular, short rugulae on promesonotum, katepisternum smooth; first gastral tergite finely shagreened; body bright brown.

Minor workers Head foveolate, frons with a few indistinct, short, longitudinal rugulae; scape, when laid back, surpassing the posterior head margin by two-fifths of its length; promesonotum low, convex, moderately long, with posterior declivity steep; propodeal spines short, triangular; mesosoma foveolate; body smoky yellow.

Distribution

Madagascar.

Pheidole masoala species complex: widespread within evergreen forest but its distribution centre is located on the northern part of the biome. Pheidole madinika and P. andapa are sympatric and their distribution is limited to Parc National de Marojejy, Antsiranana. Pheidole fisaka is known from several sampling sites located in Ankerana, Toamasina. Pheidole binara was collected in two places in the Antsiranana prefecture: Kalabenono mountain and Binara Forest.

Pheidole lamperos and P. zavamanira each belong to their own single-species complexe and are known only from their type localities. Pheidole lamperos was sampled on the Galoko mountain and may be sympatric with P. binara, as it is known from another mountain of the Galoko chain. Pheidole zavamanira was sampled in several places in Réserve Spéciale d’Ambohijanahary, Toliara.

Additional Resources

References