I found this queen 3-20-2015 in Llano, California. It was the only one of its species I found out there. At first I thought it was a Pheidole xerophila, but then I realized the coloring is different, it's larger, it flew months earlier than they fly, and its founding chamber did not look anything like those of P. xerophila.
ID Thread: http://www.formicult...php/topic/1161-
1. Location of collection: Llano, California.
2. Date of collection: 3-20-2015.
3. Habitat of collection: High Desert.
4. Length (from head to gaster): 9 mm.
5. Color, hue, pattern and texture: Shiny. Black head with dark red mandibles; black thorax; very dark red gaster, lighter between terga.
6. Distinguishing characteristics: Second and third gastral terga bald, except discal hairs between them. Very short spines.
7. Anything else distinctive: Has mating flight in March.
8. Nest description: Founding chamber is a small, typical looking fan of dirt with a hole in the middle.
A few days later it laid a small pile of eggs.