Dolichoderus australis

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Dolichoderus australis
Dolichoderus australis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Dolichoderus
Species group: australis
Species: D. australis
Binomial name
Dolichoderus australis
André, 1896

Dolichoderus australis side view

Dolichoderus australis top view

Dolichoderus australis is found in dry to wet forested areas of south-eastern Australia. Nests are in soil under rocks or occasionally in wood. Workers forage on the ground and on low vegetation and are timid, running for cover when disturbed. Its larvae were described by Wheeler and Wheeler (1974).

Identification

Sculpturing on head minimal, either essentially absent or consisting of very fine reticulations, reddish-brown to black in colour; pronotum and propodeum lacking spines; posterior face of propodeum with a shallow concavity, separated from the dorsal face by at most a weakly defined angle; first tergite of gaster with elongate erect hairs but lacking appressed pubescence.

This species most closely resembles Dolichoderus goudiei, however D. goudiei has appressed pubescence on the first tergite of the gaster which is lacking in this species.

Identification Keys including this Taxon

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb The records from Maria Island and Coles Bay, Tasmania, are likely introductions which occurred when the jail located in this area was active (B.B. Lowery, pers. comm.). This is based on the lack of additional material from Tasmania even though suitable habitats are abundant and widespread.

Biology

Castes

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • australis. Dolichoderus australis André, 1896b: 257 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1974b: 396 (l.). Combination in D. (Hypoclinea): Emery, 1913a: 12. See also: Clark, 1930b: 263.

Type Material

Description

Worker

Clark (1930) - Head and gaster black, thorax and node red, mandibles, antennae and legs brownish-red, brown on some examples.

Subopaque. Gaster smooth and shining. Head very finely and densely punctate, with some large, very shallow, scattered punctures. Mandibles smooth with a few scattered punctures. Pronotum almost smooth, microscopically reticulate. Mesonotum and epinotum more distinctly reticulate, with a few large shallow punctures. Node reticulate above.

Hair yellow, long and erect, abundant throughout, shorter and suberect on the antennae and legs. No pubescence apparent.

Head one-fourth longer than broad, as broad in front as behind, the occipital border and sides convex. Frontal carinae diverging behind, slightly longer than their distance apart. Clypeus convex above, with a longitudinal groove in the middle, more apparent in front than behind, anterior border convex, with a deep excision in the middle. Eyes large and rather flattened. Scapes extending beyond the occipital border by fully one-third of their length; first segment of the funiculus one-fourth longer than the second. Masticatory border of the mandibles feebly denticulate; the terminal border with eleven sharp teeth. Thorax twice as long as broad. Pronotum one-fourth broader than long, flattened above, on some examples it is feebly concave longitudinally. Mesonotum convex above. Epinotum as long as broad, strongly convex laterally, the posterior border convex; in profile strongly convex, higher in front than behind, not, or very slightly, overhanging the declivity, the latter concave, as long as the dorsum. Node three times broader than long, the anterior face feebly, the dorsum and posterior face strongly, convex; in profile scale-like, the anterior face straight, the posterior strongly convex. Gaster longer than broad, concave in front below. Legs robust.

Shattuck and Marsden (2013) - Sculpture on mesonotum and mesopleuron varying from very weakly developed and the surface shiny to moderately strong and the surface matte (the figured individual is intermediate between these extremes). Body colour variable, ranging from reddish to dark red-black. Head colour generally black, occasionally with a reddish tint.

Measurements (n=5). CI 77–84; EI 32–37; EL 0.28–0.33; HL 1.08–1.23; HW 0.85–1.01; ML 1.56–1.89; MTL 0.87–1.09; PronI 64.79–72.91; PronW 0.58–0.66; SI 132–140; SL 1.13–1.34.

Dolichoderus australis shows considerable variation in overall body colour, ranging from reddish to dark red-black. However, numerous intermediate forms between these extremes exist and no other characters could be found which suggest more than a single variable species is present. As such, this colour variation is here considered as being intraspecific.

References

  • André, E. 1896d. Fourmis nouvelles d'Asie et d'Australie. Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 15: 251-265 (page 257, worker described)
  • Clark, J. 1930b. The Australian ants of the genus Dolichoderus (Formicidae). Sugenus Hypoclinea Mayr. Aust. Zool. 6: 252-268 (page 263, see also)
  • Emery, C. 1913a [1912]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Dolichoderinae. Genera Insectorum 137: 1-50 (page 12, Combination in D. (Hypoclinea))
  • Shattuck, S.O. & Marsden, S. 2013. Australian species of the ant genus Dolichoderus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3716, 101–143 (doi 10.11646/zootaxa.3716.2.1).
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1974b [1973]. Ant larvae of the subfamily Dolichoderinae: second supplement (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 49: 396-401 (page 396, larva described)