Pheidole Sighting

Yesterday I finally saw a Pheidole ant in Phoenix.

Okay, so it was only one fast-moving soldier.

You just can't mistake the huge head of Pheidole soldiers. That's why the common name is "big-headed ant."

I tried to follow it, but never did find the nest. It was neat to spot it because I have seen them regularly at higher elevations, but not often here in the low desert.

Although it is easy to identify big-headed ants to genus if you find a soldier, figuring out the species is much more difficult. Antweb lists some 50 species of Pheidole in Arizona, some of which are not named.

With time and an unlimited budget, I might pick up E.O. Wilson's Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus to learn more.

Have you seen a copy of the book? What do you think of it?

4 thoughts on “Pheidole Sighting

  1. Kaas Baichtal

    In the top picture, what was the big-head ant doing? I can't figure out it's pose but it's intriguing 🙂

  2. Roberta

    Post author

    Kaas,

    The ant is reacting to my attempts to startle it. It was moving so fast on a sidewalk that I couldn't get a focus. (That, and I found out later my lens was dirty). Sometimes the ant will stop for a moment if you drop a stick in front of it, wave a finger, or whatever.

  3. I have Wilson's Pheidole book, and think it's excellent. Definitely worth the money. The illustrations are beautiful and useful, and it comes with an application that you can load on a Windows or Mac computer. Highly recommended.
    I have a few Arizona Pheidole pictures at: http://www.pogolumina.net/Other Ants

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