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Pheidole amazonica HNS new species

Types Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard.

Etymology L amazonica HNS , a reference to the geographical region of origin.

diagnosis A small, brown member of the flavens HNS group most similar to flavifrons HNS but also in various traits to arhuaca HNS , nitidicollis HNS , and tenerescens HNS , differing from those species and other members of the flavens HNS group by the following combination of traits. Major: dorsal half of the posterior head surface in profile flat; occipital margin in full-face view deeply and broadly concave; propodeal spines directed to the rear, not vertical to the basal propodeal face; an indistinct, circular brown spot present on vertex; a patch of rugoreticulum present laterad to each antennal fossa.

Minor: propodeal spines directed backward; humerus in dorsal-oblique view denticulate; occiput narrowed but lacking a nuchal collar; postpetiole from above bell-shaped.

Measurements (mm) Holotype major: HW 0.78, HL 0.78, SL 0.40, EL 0.08, PW 0.38. Paratype minor: HW 0.42, HL 0.44, SL 0.38, EL 0.08, PW 0.26.

color Major: body medium brown, with dark brown circular spot on vertex, and anterior one-fourth of head capsule dark yellowish brown; appendages dark yellowish brown.

Minor: body mostly medium brown, with sides of pronotum, nodes of petiole and postpetiole, and first gastral tergite light brown; appendages also light brown.

Range Known from the type locality and near Tena, Napo, Ecuador, 600 m.

biology At the type locality in Peru, Stefan Cover (unpublished collection notes) found amazonica HNS to be apparently the most abundant of all Pheidole HNS species, ranging from terra firme forest into seasonally flooded forest and nesting in rotten sticks or branches on the forest floor. Colonies contained several hundred workers and a single queen. No seed caches were found in any of the 21 nests dissected.

Figure Upper: holotype, major. Lower: paratype, minor. PERU: Cuzco Amazonico, 15 km northeast of Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, 200 m (Stefan Cover and John E. Tobin). Scale bars = 1 mm.


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