Pheidole rhea
Pheidole rhea is a much larger ant than most of the other Pheidole that I've seen in Arizona. The photo at the left shows a major (ant on the left of the photo) and a minor (ant on the right of the photo) worker on a ruler. The green lines are 5 millimeter divisions. They are fast moving, active ants. The ants on this page are from Molino Canyon, in the foothills of Arizona's Santa Catalina Mountains. They occur in Southeastern Arizona and into Mexico.

The first P. rhea nest I found was in the canyon wall. It was inconspicuous, with small dirt mounds around simple holes between large stones. The nest on the far right was in a parking lot, between two curb stones. It had a prominent dirt mound associated with it. Both nests had streams of minor and major workers going to and fro from the nests.



  

Click on the images below to see a larger version

Photo of super major, held in my fingers for scale. The brown object on her head is a fly pupae - possibly a parasitic phorid fly.
Photo of super major, held in my fingers for scale. The brown object on her head is a fly pupae - possibly a parasitic phorid fly.
Photo of super major, held in my fingers for scale. The brown object on her head is a fly pupae - possibly a parasitic phorid fly.
Photo of super major, held in my fingers for scale. The brown object on her head is a fly pupae - possibly a parasitic phorid fly.
Pheidole rhea minor workers around a cookie bait.
Pheidole rhea minor workers around a cookie bait.
Pheidole rhea minor workers around a cookie bait.
Pheidole rhea minor workers around a cookie bait.
Pheidole rhea foraging column, running slightly diagonally through the center of the photo. Pheidole rhea's foraging style is called 'trunk trail foraging'. Many trunk-trail foraging species have a super major caste.
Pheidole rhea foraging column, running slightly diagonally through the center of the photo. Pheidole rhea's foraging style is called 'trunk trail foraging'. Many trunk-trail foraging species have a super major caste.
Pheidole rhea major worker.
Pheidole rhea major worker.
Pheidole rhea minor worker carrying seed. Pheidole rhea is omnivorous, both harvesting seeds and eating insects.
Pheidole rhea minor worker carrying seed. Pheidole rhea is omnivorous, both harvesting seeds and eating insects.
Pheidole rhea major and minor workers. The minor workers are far more numerous.
Pheidole rhea major and minor workers. The minor workers are far more numerous.
Pheidole rhea minor workers wrestling over which of them will carry a seed back to the nest.
Pheidole rhea minor workers wrestling over which of them will carry a seed back to the nest.