Borrego Part 5
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Borrego Valley March 2015 Part 5
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Big-Headed Ant (Pheidole)

Big-headed ants (Pheidole) make small craters in loose sand. These were photographed near the Visitor Center, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Big-headed ants (Pheidole) near the visitor center and Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. P. yaqui was reported from the Palm Canyon Campground. It belongs to the Pilifera-Group, including P. bicarinata, P. barbata, P. xerophila, and P. yaqui. P. barbata can be ruled out because it lacks propodeal spines on major and minor workers. The latter species occurs at Dos Palmas Oasis north of the Salton Sea.

  Antwiki Key To The Pheidole Pilifera Group  

Big-headed ant major (Pheidole) near the Visitor Center, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It superficially resembles Pheidole from Wilcox, Arizona & the Superstition Mtns east of Mesa, Arizona. It also resembles the major of P. barbata from Dos Palmas Preserve north of the Salton Sea.

Big-Headed Ants (Pheidole) Near Willcox, Arizona

The heads of major workers are quite reddish. The minor workers are only 2 mm in length, compared with a local San Marcos species (P. vistana) with minor workers up to 4.0 mm long.

Big-Headed Ants In The Superstition Mtns

These may be the same species found near Willcox, Arizona.

Compare With Pheidole vistana On Owens Pk In San Marcos, CA

Minor workers of P. vistana are very different from the tiny black workers of P. bicarinata. They have longer legs and bodies, and run much faster.