Epopostruma quadrispinosa

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Epopostruma quadrispinosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Epopostruma
Species: E. quadrispinosa
Binomial name
Epopostruma quadrispinosa
(Forel, 1895)

Epopostruma quadrispinosa ANIC32-003741 side 50-AntWiki.jpg

Epopostruma quadrispinosa ANIC32-003741 top 50-AntWiki.jpg

Specimen labels


Individuals of this species have been found in rock crevices, Eucalyptus leaf litter, soil and have been swept off low shrubs in the evening. They occur in dry sclerophyll, mallee woodland, saltbush and red soil-box-pine habitats and have been collected from central coastal Queensland south through New South Wales to south-central South Australia. Although they have not been recorded from Victoria it is likely that they do occur in the state. The type locality, Mackay, Queensland, is the northern-most record of this species.


Epopostruma quadrispinosa can be separated from others in the genus by the lack lateral extensions of the postpetiole, the presence of an anterior postpetiolar face which is much shorter than the dorsal face and posterolateral postpetiolar corners which are rounded (rather than angular or toothed), and by having the first gastral tergite delicately but distinctly sculptured and with a matte appearance (rather than being smooth and shiny).

Keys including this Species


Heterick (2009) - In WA, Epopostruma quadrispinosa has been collected from near North Bannister in the JF district, near Shark Bay, at Madura (near the edge of the Nullarbor), and Kambalda (in the goldfields). Elsewhere, it occurs along the east coast of Australia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


While Epopostruma can be fairly common they are often overlooked. Workers are slow-moving and most lie motionless when disturbed. Their nests are small, with up to about 100 workers, and are found in open soil or in soil under rocks, logs or small sticks. They also nest in cracks in large rocks. When nesting in open soil they are often found near the bases of trees. Tree-trunks are clearly an important substrate for foraging workers.

Almost all species forage at night although one species is known to occasionally forage on mallee stems during the day. They are also regularly found in leaf litter. Workers have been attracted to honey baits on trees in the late evening and at night. Their elongate and specialised mandibles form a type of snap-trap which is used to captured soft-bodied prey such as Collembola.



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

  • quadrispinosa. Strumigenys (Epopostruma) quadrispinosa Forel, 1895f: 422 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1973c: 212 (l.). Combination in Epopostruma: Forel, 1910b: 51. Senior synonym of ferruginea: Taylor, 1991b: 602. See also: Brown, 1948e: 120; Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 65.
  • ferruginea. Epopostruma quadrispinosa subsp. ferruginea Forel, 1910b: 51 (q.) AUSTRALIA. Raised to species: Brown, 1948e: 120. Junior synonym of quadrispinosa: Taylor, 1991b: 602.

Type Material

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.


Shattuck (2000) - In full face view the lateral margin of the head between the eye and the posterior corner angular. Pronotal spines present, elongate. Posterior section of metanotum in approximately the same plane as the dorsal face of propodeum, the junction of these plates a very shallow depression. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with thin flanges. Petiolar spines reduced to blunt protuberances or sharp angles, in some cases barely discernable from the surrounding sculpturing. Anterior face of postpetiole much shorter than dorsal face; sides of postpetiole approximately vertical and rounding gradually from dorsal to posterior surfaces; in dorsal view the posterolateral corners rounded. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with short, straight or gently curved erect hairs. First gastral tergite with fine, delicate sculpturing giving a matte appearance; gaster immediately behind attachment with gaster smooth. Body colour dark yellow-red to red-brown; with body lightly coloured, head is darker, red-brown; mandibles lighter, yellow-red; gaster uniformly coloured.

Measurements Worker (n=6): TL 3.1-3.8mm, HL 0.67-0.82mm, HW 0.61-0.74mm, CI 86-91, MandL 0.37-0.43mm, MandI 51-57, SL 0.42-0.52mm, SI 67-71, PronW 0.43-0.57mm, ML 0.80-1.05mm.


  • Bolton, B. 2000. The ant tribe Dacetini. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 65: 1-1028 (page 65, redescription of worker)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1948e. A preliminary generic revision of the higher Dacetini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 74: 101-129 (page 120, taxonomic status)
  • Forel, A. 1895g. Nouvelles fourmis d'Australie, récoltées à The Ridge, Mackay, Queensland, par M. Gilbert Turner. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 39: 417-428 (page 422, worker described)
  • Forel, A. 1910b. Formicides australiens reçus de MM. Froggatt et Rowland Turner. Rev. Suisse Zool. 18: 1-94 (page 51, Combination in Epopostruma)
  • Heterick, B. E. 2009. A guide to the ants of South-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 76:1-206. PDF
  • Shattuck, S. O. 2000. Genus Colobostruma. Genus Mesostruma. Genus Epopostruma. Pp. 31-67 in: Bolton, B. The ant tribe Dacetini. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 65: 1-1028 (page 63, worker, queen described)*Taylor, R. W. 1991b. Nomenclature and distribution of some Australasian ants of the Myrmicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mem. Qld. Mus. 30: 599-614 (page 602, senior synonym of ferruginea)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1973c. The ant larvae of the tribes Basicerotini and Dacetini: second supplement (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 49: 207-214 (page 212, larva described)