Msstate Logo

Subfamily MYRMICINAE
Tribe ATTINI

Pheidole moerens Wheeler, 1908

Uploaded, 2009; updated 11 February 2016
Author: Joe A. MacGown

Pheidole moerens, full face view of a major worker (Hancock Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a minor worker (Hancock Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, dorsal view of a minor worker (Hancock Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens major worker - head
Pheidole moerens major worker side view
Pheidole morens major work - side view
Pheidole moerens, full face view of a major worker (Lauderdale Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a major worker (Lauderdale Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a major worker (Lauderdale Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, hypostomal teeth of a major worker (Lauderdale Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown )
Pheidole moerens, full face view of a male (Hinds Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, full face view of a male (Hinds Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a male (Hinds Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a male (Hinds Co., MS) (Hinds by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, full face view of a dealate queen (Forrest Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a dealate queen (Forrest Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)
Pheidole moerens, lateral view of a dealate queen (Forrest Co., MS) (photo by Joe A. MacGown & James Lewis)

Introduction
Pheidole moerens is an introduced species that is now very common in southern Alabama and Mississippi (as well as Florida and Louisiana). It seems to prefer nesting in rotting wood, especially logs found laying on the ground, or in the soil just under rotting wood. This fairly small Pheidole species is very similar to P. floridana, especially the minors, however, the majors are much darker (a dark brown usually), have transverse striations on the pronotum (near the humeral area), have striations on the head extending more near the occiput, and have at least some rugoreticulation on the face between the eyes and frontal carina. Additionally, P. moerens seems to prefer nesting in rotting wood, whereas, P. floridana prefers nesting in sandy soil. I have frequently collected P. moerens nesting side by side with the large introduced ponerine ant, Odontomachus ruginodis.

Taxonomic History (Bolton 2016)
Pheidole moerens Wheeler, 1908: 136, pl. 12, figs. 22, 23 (s.w.) PUERTO RICO. Neotropic. "Culebra; Porto Rico." AMNH, MCZC.  Wheeler & Wheeler, 1972: 244 (l.). Senior synonym of Pheidole moerens dominicensis: Naves, 1985: 65; of Pheidole moerens creola: Wilson, 2003: 461.

Identification
Minor Worker:

Major Worker:

Queen:

Male:

Biology and Economic Importance

Distribution

Native range: West Indies (Wilson

Australian Region: Australia (Antweb.org data)
Eurasian Region: Saudi Arabia (Antweb.org data)
Nearctic Region
: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington (MEM records and Antweb.org data)
Neotropical Region: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Venezuela (Antweb.org data)
Pacific Islands Region: Hawaii (Antweb.org data)

Literature Cited

Naves, M. A. 1985. A monograph of the genus Pheidole in Florida, USA (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insecta Mundi 1:53-90.

Wheeler, W. M. 1908. The ants of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 24:117-158. 

Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1972. Ant larvae of the subfamily Myrmicinae: second supplement on the tribes Myrmicini and Pheidolini. Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society 7:233-246.

Wilson, E. O. 2003. Pheidole in the New World. A dominant, hyperdiverse ant genus. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, [ix] + 794 pp.

Links

Antweb
Antcat
Antwiki