Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Pheidole californica HNS Mayr 1870b: 987. Syn.: Pheidole oregonica Emery HNS 1895d: 291, n. syn. ; Pheidole californica var. incenata Wheeler HNS 1915b: 407, synonomy by Creighton 1950a:173; Pheidole californica var. satura Wheeler HNS 1915b: 407, synonomy by Creighton 1950a: 173; Pheidole californica subsp.pyramidensis Emery HNS 1922c: 105 (replacement name for nevadensis Wheeler HNS 1915b: 408, junior primary homonym ofpheidole nevadensis HNS Forel 190 lj: 353), synonomy by G. C. and J. Wheeler 1986g: 18; Pheidole californica var. shoshoni Cole HNS 1933b: 618, synonomy by Gregg 1959: 1-9; Pheidole californica var. hagermani Cole HNS 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 " pilifera HNS complex" of the larger pilifera HNS group, comprising calens HNS , californica HNS , carrolli HNS , cavigenis HNS , clementensis HNS , creightoni HNS , hoplitica HNS , littoralis HNS , micula HNS , pilifera HNS , polymorpha HNS , rugulosa HNS , senex HNS , soritis HNS , tepicana HNS , and torosa HNS , which complex is characterized by the following traits. Major: dorsal head surface extensively sculptured; occipital lobes horizontally rugulose (or, in carrolli HNS smooth, in littoralis HNS foveate, and in micula HNS and soritis HNS carinulate); postpetiole from above angulate and. trapezoidal to spinose. Minor: eye medium-sized to large.
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 clementensis HNS , from which it differs by its smaller size (HW in californica HNS major about 0.90 mm, in clementensis major HNS about 1.10 mm) and proportionately larger eye (major EL/HW 0.20 in californica HNS versus 0.13 in clementensis HNS ). Also, the sides of the major head are smooth and shiny in some, but not all, californica HNS 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 pergandei HNS .
figure Upper: major. Lower: minor. CALIFORNICA: Palo Alto. Type locality: San Francisco. Scale bars = 1 mm.