The nest architecture of the ant, Pheidole oxyops Forel, 1908 (Hymenoptera : Formicidae)
Data de publicação2007-10-01
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Pheidole oxyops builds subterranean nests, with an external architecture that is distinctive and easily recognizable by its wide and specific entrance hole, measuring up to 12.2 cm in diameter, denoting a pitfall-trap. In order to study the nests'internal architecture, seven nests were excavated; four were identified with neutral talc, while the others were cast in cement and then excavated. Measurements were made in order to gain a better understanding of their structures, and a photographic documentation was obtained as well. The excavations revealed that the nests are perpendicular relative to the ground, beginning with a cylindrical channel with a mean length of 13.5 cm, containing irregular formations, and whose diameter becomes progressively narrower until the first chamber is formed. As the channel continues, dish-like chambers appear, interconnected by channels that become progressively narrower and longer, while the chambers are arranged at greater distances from each other as nest depth increases. Both channels and chambers are located on the vertical projection of the entrance hole. Nests may reach a depth of up to 5.09 m, with a number of chambers ranging between 4 and 14.