Formicidae - Pheidole rhea
Size: 3.19 mm (minor worker)
Group Guild Status
Trogloxene Herbivore/ Uncommon
P. rhea is an important seed harvester of xeric habitats where they occupy open, rocky slopes of foothills at the base of mountain ranges from southern Arizona and south into Mexico (Wilson 2003). While the species is primarily a seed harvester, it is not totally dependent on these resources, and is an active predator as well (Holldobler and Wilson 1990; Wilson 2003). They have been observed in the cave on a few occasions, mostly in the Jackrabbit Shaft and the adjacent portion of the Jackrabbit Gallery. We do not know at this time why this species enters the cave. Their presence may be a simple case of proximity to a nest in the soil horizon near the top of the Jackrabbit Shaft. We have found dead individuals of this species on the floor of the cave beneath live Phasmatocoris labyrinthicus, by which we suspect the ants may have been taken as prey.
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