Ants Of Daley Ranch 9

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Daley Ranch Ants:  
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  Part 9  
Ants Of Daley Ranch, San Diego County Part 9 (of 9)
Uncertain (Unidentified) Dealate Females & Workers

Uncertain #1: A Dealate Pheidole Female (Wingless Queen)

This ant was caught in a pitfall trap at Daley Ranch (3 June 2016). It keys out to Temnothorax or Pheidole using Ward's key to California Ant Genera Based On Worker Caste Zootaxa 936. Using 12-segmented antenna with 3-segmented club, I get to Temnothorax or Pheidole.

My ant superficially resembles some images of dark brown Temnothorax in California, such as T. arboreus and T. nevadensis. The latter two species occur on nearby Palomar Mountain to the north of Daley Ranch. See Key To Temnothorax in California and Studies on California Ants: Review Of The Genus Temnothorax.

The distinct lateral projections on postpetiole are more characteristic of Phedole than Temnothorax. In profile the promesonotum does not appear domed and distinctly elevated above the propodeal dorsum as in Pheidole; however, the previous traits are for workers and not dealate queens. See Images Of A Dark Brown Pheidole xerophila Dealate Queen. Several members of the Pilifera and Fallax groups of Pheidole occur in coastal San Diego County to the south of Daley Ranch and in the nearby desert region to the east. The Pilifera-Group, includes P. bicarinata, P. barbata, P. xerophila,P. yaqui, and P. clementensis. The Fallax-Group includes a number of species, including P. vistana and P. hyatti. According to ant authorities Gordon Snelling and Phil Ward (personal communication June, 2016), this ant is a Pheidole dealate female.

It is very difficult to identify the exact species of a Pheidole dealate (wingless female) because (1) there are literally hundreds of species, and (2) most of the keys are to workers and not dealates. Hopefully, with more research I can come up with other possible Pheidole workers for Daley Ranch. At the present time the only species of Pheidole that I have found at Daley Ranch is P. vistana. The latter distinctive species appears to be widespread throughout the Preserve (see following image).

Pheidole vistana inside my Uncle Milton Ant Farm

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