Pheidole symbiotica Wasmann, 1909, an enigmatic supposed social parasite, is a nematode-infested form of Pheidole pallidula (Nylander, 1849) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae)

Lech Borowiec, Sebastian Salata


Pheidole symbiotica Wasmann, 1909 hitherto known only from type series collected in Portugal is recorded from Italy for the first time. Dissection of abdomen of this supposed social parasite of Pheidole pallidula (Nylander, 1849) showed that it is infested by a large mermithid nematode. That allows us to conclude that Pheidole symbiotica is only a teratological form of Pheidole pallidula. In consequence, we propose synonymy of Pheidole symbiotica Wasmann, 1909 under Pheidole pallidula (Nylander, 1849). High quality photographs of this form are presented for the first time and an illustration of its parasite is also given.


Hymenoptera; Formicinae; Myrmicinae; Pheidole; social parasite; redescription; Italy

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