Monomorium tambourinense

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Monomorium tambourinense
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Monomorium
Species: M. tambourinense
Binomial name
Monomorium tambourinense
Forel, 1915

Monomorium tambourinense casent0908677 p 1 high.jpg

Monomorium tambourinense casent0908677 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


This species is a cryptic forager in cool temperate and tropical montane forests. Habitats include moss, rotten logs and leaf litter. Specimens taken from Lord Howe Island in 1972 were found nesting in subfossil bird bones.


Heterick (2001) - A member of the kilianii group. Monomorium tambourinense can be distinguished from the similar Monomorium kiliani on the basis of the characters mentioned in the key to Monomorium species based on workers. This species also resembles Monomorium leae, from which it differs chiefly in the length of the petiolar peduncle and the shape of the postpetiole. Monomorium tambourinense is very variable in colour, but is more uniform in morphology than either M. leae or M. rubriceps, the other widespread east coast Monomorium.

Monomorium howense has a yellow or orange head and gaster, and reddish-orange alitrunk, while the type of M. kilianii tambourinense is brown with a yellow gaster and pale appendages. The M. tambourinense colour morph is more common in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, though it occurs elsewhere. Other colour patterns forming a continuum between these two extremes are common, and a pale yellow morph occurs on the Bellenden Ker range, thus there is no justification for M. howense and M. tambourinense to be considered as anything other than colour varieties of a widespread species. Consequently, M. howense is here synonymised under the senior name M. tambourinense.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality), Lord Howe Island.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




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

  • tambourinense. Monomorium kiliani var. tambourinensis Forel, 1915b: 71 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1960b: 17 (l.). Combination in M. (Notomyrmex): Emery, 1922e: 169; in Chelaner: Ettershank, 1966: 97; in Monomorium: Taylor, 1987b: 3. Raised to species: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1960b: 17. Subspecies of kiliani: Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 57. Revived status as species and senior synonym of howense: Heterick, 2001: 389.
  • howense. Monomorium (Notomyrmex) howense Wheeler, W.M. 1927i: 138, fig. 5 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA. Combination in Chelaner: Ettershank, 1966: 97; in Monomorium: Taylor, 1987b: 2. Junior synonym of tambourinense: Heterick, 2001: 389.

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



Heterick (2001) - HML 1.41-2.48; HL 0.50-0.81; HW 0.40-0.72; Cel 76-90; SL 0.36-0.67; SI 86-102; PW 0.28-0.50 (54 measured).

As for the worker of Monomorium kiliani, but with the following apomorphies.

Head. Head square or rectangular; vertex slightly concave to planar. (Viewed laterally) compound eyes set at midline of head capsule. Anteromedial clypeal margin straight or slightly emarginate, median clypeal carinae not produced as teeth or denticles. Posteromedial clypeal margin level with posterior surface of antennal fossae. Palp formula 2,2. Maximum number of mandibular teeth and denticles: five; mandibles (viewed from front) triangular and smooth, with piliferous punctures.

Alitrunk. Mesonotal suture absent. Propodeal sculpture present as faint microreticulation with few striae, mainly on lower lateral surface, or present as uniform rugosity, with well defined costulae on declivitous face of propodeum. Propodeal angle absent; declivitous face of propodeum longitudinally concave between its lateral margins.

Petiole and postpetiole. Petiolar node conical, dorsally rounded, or tumular and inclined posteriad; sculpture absent, petiolar node smooth and shining. Ratio of greatest node breadth (viewed from front) to greatest node width (viewed in profile) near 1:1, or near 3:4. Height-length ratio of postpetiole near 4:3 to near 3:4.

General characters. Colour very variable: two distinctive colour morphs: 1. head, alitrunk, petiole and postpetiole shining russet, gaster bright tawny yellow to russet, often with one or more brown bands, appendages a creamy yellow to amber; 2. head tawny yellow, alitrunk, petiole and postpetiole yellow, reddish-orange or fulvous, gaster as for 1., legs tawny yellow: other series yellowish, orange or dull brown with varying degrees of infuscation, particularly of propodeum. Worker caste monomorphic.


Heterick (2001) - HML 2.00-2.77; HL 0.62-0.82; HW 0.55-0.72; Cei 86-93; SL 0.45-0.64; SI 78-79; PW 0.48-0.71 (12 measured).

As for the queen of Monomorium kiliani, but with the following apomorphies.

Head. Head square or rectangular; vertex planar; frons smooth and shining with combination of incurved decumbent and subdecumbent setulae and erect and suberect setae

Alitrunk. Mesoscutum in profile evenly convex, or convex anteriad; thereafter flattened. Mesoscutal pilosity consisting of dense incurved setulae and setae. Propodeal processes absent (propodeum angulate in profile). Propodeal spiracle lateral and about midway between metanotal groove and declivitous face of propodeum.

Petiole and postpetiole. Petiolar node cuneate, dorsally rounded; sculpture absent, petiolar node smooth and shining. Height ratio of petiole to postpetiole near 1:1, or near 4:3; height-length ratio of postpetiole near 2:1, or near 4:3.

General characters. Colour variable: often tawny yellow or shining russet, alone or in combination. If alitrunk infuscated, head and gaster usually of lighter colour, gaster sometimes with transverse brown banding. Brachypterous alates not seen. Ergatoid or worker-female intercastes seen and examined.

Type Material

  • Monomorium (Notomyrmex) howense Wheeler, 1927: Syntype, 6 workers, 2 queens, 1 intercaste, Lord Howe Island, Australia, Museum of Comparative Zoology.
  • Monomorium (Notomyrmex) howense Wheeler, 1927: Syntype, 10 workers, 2 queens, Lord Howe Island, Australia, South Australian Museum.
  • Monomorium kiliani tambourinensis Forel, 1915: Syntype, 1 worker, Tamborine Mt. (as Mt. Tambourine), Queensland, Australia, Australian National Insect Collection.


  • Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 169, Combination in M. (Notomyrmex))
  • Ettershank, G. 1966. A generic revision of the world Myrmicinae related to Solenopsis and Pheidologeton (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Aust. J. Zool. 14: 73-171 (page 97, Combination in Chelaner)
  • Forel, A. 1915b. Results of Dr. E. Mjöbergs Swedish Scientific Expeditions to Australia 1910-13. 2. Ameisen. Ark. Zool. 9(1 16: 1-119 (page 71, worker, queen described)
  • Heterick, B. E. 2001. Revision of the Australian ants of the genus Monomorium (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Taxonomy. 15:353-459. PDF (page 389, Revived status as species and senior synonym of howense)
  • Taylor, R. W. 1987b. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). First supplement, 10 July, 1987. CSIRO Div. Entomol. Rep. 41(Suppl. .1: 1-5 (page 3, Combination in Monomorium)
  • Taylor, R. W.; Brown, D. R. 1985. Formicoidea. Zool. Cat. Aust. 2:1- 149: 1-149, 30 (page 57, Revived status as subspecies of kiliani)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1960b. Supplementary studies on the larvae of the Myrmicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 62: 1-32 (page 17, larva described, Raised to species)