Pheidole indica is a medium to large reddish brown species with relatively long limbs. It belongs to the P. fervens clade along with its Australasian congeners P. cariniceps, P. fervens, P. hospes, P. impressiceps, and P. oceanica (Economo et al. 2015, unpublished data). The major and minor workers are distinguished from those of P. megacephala by the lack of a swollen postpetiole. The majors are also easily separated from those of P. megacephala by the strongly sculptured head. The minors can be confused with those of P. megacephala because both have glossy heads. However, the minors of P. fervens can be separated from those of P. megacephala by the relatively longer antennal scapes and the presence of a promesonotal prominence. Pheidole indica is broadly sympatric with P. noda and P. fervens. It is easily separated from the former by the lack of a swollen postpetiole. Separation from P. fervens is quite difficult, and readers are referred to corresponding section under that species for distinguishing characters. Readers are referred to Eguchi (2004b; 2008) for characters used to separate P. indica and P. fervens from their Asian congeners.
Pheidole indica was originally described from India. Eguchi (2004b) synonymized several other Asian congeners under P. indica and discussed taxonomic differences used to distinguish it from P. fervens and other morphologically similar species. We synonymize P. teneriffana under P. indica based on morphological analysis of the type specimens and genetic analysis of previously determined specimens (unpublished data). Forel, in his original description of P. teneriffana, noted the similarity between it and P. striativentris [= indica].
The biogeographical origin of P. teneriffana has been a minor mystery of the past century, as revealed by the recent review of the species by Wetterer (2011). There appeared to be general consensus that P. teneriffana was native to at least some portion of North Africa, Arabia, the Middle East or the Mediterranean. Santschi (1918), suggested the upper Nile area (South Sudan). Wilson (2003) suggested North Africa and potentially the Canary Islands. Collingwood et al. (2004) suggested it was native throughout northern Africa and observed it to be, “spreading over a wide front in the Middle East, Arabia and the Mediterranean countries.” Wetterer (2011) found the distribution of P. teneriffana enigmatic, “Curiously, most Old World records of P. teneriffana are subtropical, but all New World records are tropical, except one from California…If P. teneriffana is truly native across North Africa, it is remarkable how few records I found from any North African country other than Egypt.”