Smith, D.J. & Shattuck, 2009
|Based on Barden et al., 2017. Note only selected Leptomyrmex species are included.|
Leptomyrmex burwelli is restricted to rainforest where it is known to nest under rocks or less commonly in rotten wood. It forages on the ground as well as on vegetation. This species has so far only been found in the south-eastern corner of Queensland with one record just over the border in NSW.
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
Scapes long (SI > 170); pubescence of short, sparse adpressed hairs; dorsum of petiolar node strongly convex in anterior view; anterior mesonotum with a strongly raised bump. It can readily be separated from the sympatric Leptomyrmex aitchisoni by the distinctively humped anterior mesonotum. (Smith and Shattuck 2009)
Identification Keys including this Taxon
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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These conspicuous ants are most often encountered individually or as small groups of 2 or 3 foragers on the surface of the ground any time of the day or night. Because of their long legs and thin bodies, they superficially resemble spiders. This is especially true when they are disturbed, as they extend their legs, raise their gasters, and run quickly to escape danger. This has led to their being given the common name "spider ants."
Nests are found in soil or in dead wood, either standing or on the ground, and are often at the base of trees. Colony sizes average a few hundred workers and a single queen. In all but a handful of species, the queen is wingless and worker-like, differing from workers only in being slightly larger and with an enlarged mesosoma. In a few species the queens are fully winged, as they are in most other ants.
When a large source of food is found, workers of Leptomyrmex will return to their nest and recruit additional workers to help utilise the newly found resource. They also use workers as "living storage vessels". These special workers, called repletes, accept liquids from returning foragers who transfer their liquid foods to these selected workers. These special workers continue to accept liquids until their gasters become greatly enlarged and extended. When enlarged, repletes cannot escape the nest and remain inside suspended from the ceiling. They can retain these fluids for extended periods and dispense it on demand when food is in short supply.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- burwelli. Leptomyrmex burwelli Smith, D.J. & Shattuck, 2009: 60, figs. 4-6, 19-21 (w.q.m.) AUSTRALIA.
- Holotype, worker, Maiala National Park, Mt. D’Aguilar Range, Queensland, Australia, Taylor,R.W., ANIC32-002908, Australian National Insect Collection.
- Paratype, 2 workers, Maiala National Park, Mt. D’Aguilar Range, Queensland, Australia, Australian Museum.
- Paratype, 2 workers, Maiala National Park, Mt. D’Aguilar Range, Queensland, Australia, Australian National Insect Collection.
- Paratype, 2 workers, Maiala National Park, Mt. D’Aguilar Range, Queensland, Australia, Queensland Museum.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
In full face view vertex of head weakly convex, rounding into sides of head, sides of head weakly rounded, widest at mid-length, eyes placed at mid-length of head capsule. Palps long extending about ¾ the length of the head capsule. Pronotum even with promesonotal suture, posterior margin of pronotum not rounding sharply to the suture; anterior portion of the mesonotum raised above the promesonotal suture then rounding sharply into descending plane of remainder of mesonotum producing a distinctive strongly raised anterior mesonotal “bump”. Legs long; hind tibial spurs with reduced barbules, barbules absent from basal one-quarter.
(n = 117 ) - CI 69–79; EL 0.20–0.25; HL 0.79–0.97; HW 0.60–0.70; MTL 0.71–0.96; SI 171–200; SL 1.10–1.29; WL 1.2–1.4.
(n = 1) - CI 91; EL 0.38; HL 0.94; HW 1.03; HL 1.13; MTL 1.075; SI 139; SL 1.43; WL 1.95. Male (n = 3) -CI 74–76; EL 0.33–0.36; HL 0.60–0.67; HW 0.53–0.65; MTL 0.75–0.81; SI* 10; SL 0.23–0.25; WL 1.23–1.32.
- Lucky, A. 2011. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the spider ants, genus Leptomyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 281-292. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.004
- Lucky, A. & Ward, P.S. 2010. Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Leptomyrmex Mayr. Zootaxa 2688: 1-67. PDF
- Smith, D. J. and S. O. Shattuck. 2009. Six new, unusually small ants of the genus Leptomyrmex(Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2142: 57-68. PDF