| Myrmecia pyriformis|
Smith, F., 1858
Myrmecia pyriformis is a nocturnal forager whose activity outside the nest is largely restricted to night. Most foragers make only one foraging journey per night, leaving the nest individually at dusk to forage on nest-specific Eucalyptus trees. The majority of foragers return to the nest in the morning twilight, but individuals who capture prey often make multiple trips during the night. Foragers imbibe liquid food while abroad and likely share these resources via trophallaxis once within the nest. (Reid et al., 2013; Narendra et al., 2013)
Colonies can have either a normal, dealate queen or survive without a morphological queen (Dietemann et al., 2004). When the queen is absent selected workers (gamergates) are able to reproduce and maintain the colony. A colony collected in 1998 without a queen continued to produce workers for the next three years (Sanetra, 2011). Queens generally mate with multiple males, estimated to be 2.6 on average, and when gamerates are present there are generally more than one (Sanetra, 2011).
|At a Glance||• Gamergate|
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Myrmecia pyriformis is a nocturnal forager. Most foragers make only one foraging journey per night, leaving the nest individually in a narrow light-window in the evening twilight to forage on nest-specific Eucalyptus trees. The majority of foragers return to the nest in the morning twilight, while few attempt to return to the nest throughout the night (mainly those that are returning with prey). Activity during the night varies with moon illumination, likely due to changes in light levels which influence navigation to and from the nest. As light levels drop, ants pause for longer, walk more slowly, the success in finding the nest is reduced and their paths became less straight. In both bright and dark conditions ants rely predominantly on visual landmark information for navigation and landmark guidance becomes less reliable at low light conditions. It is likely that poor navigational efficiency at low light levels cause the majority of foragers to restrict navigational tasks to the twilight periods, where sufficient navigational information is available (Reid et al., 2013; Narendra et al., 2013)
Myrmecia pyriformis workers are markedly polymorphic in size; minor workers are almost half the size of majors. All workers have a spermatheca, and 3 gamergates (intermediate in size) were found in one orphaned colony (Dietemann et al. 2004).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- pyriformis. Myrmecia pyriformis Smith, F. 1858b: 144, pl. 10, figs. 1-6 (w.q.m.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971d: 252 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 345 (k.). Subspecies of forficata: Forel, 1910b: 2. Revived status as species: Clark, 1927: 36. Senior synonym of sanguinea: Brown, 1953j: 9. See also: Crawley, 1926: 377; Clark, 1951: 99.
- sanguinea. Myrmecia sanguinea Smith, F. 1858b: 148 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Tasmania). Mayr, 1876: 94 (q.); Forel, 1910b: 3 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1952a: 112 (l.). Junior synonym of forficata: Clark, 1951: 93; of pyriformis: Brown, 1953j: 9. See also: Crawley, 1926: 378.
- Myrmecia pyriformis: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s), male(s), Melbourne, Victoria and Hunter River, New South Wales, Australia, The Natural History Museum.
- Myrmecia sanguinea: Syntype, worker(s), Tasmania, Australia, The Natural History Museum.
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1953j. Revisionary notes on the ant genus Myrmecia of Australia. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 111: 1-35 (page 9, Senior synonym of sanguinea)
- Clark, J. 1927. The ants of Victoria. Part III. Vic. Nat. (Melb.) 44: 33-40 (page 36, Revived status as species)
- Clark, J. 1951. The Formicidae of Australia. 1. Subfamily Myrmeciinae: 230 pp. CSIRO, Melbourne. [(31.xii).1951.] PDF
- Crawley, W. C. 1926. A revision of some old types of Formicidae. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1925: 373-393 (page 377, see also)
- Dietemann, V.; Peeters, C; Hölldobler, B. (2004). "Gamergates in the Australian ant subfamily Myrmeciinae". Naturwissenschaften, 91, 432–435 (doi:10.1007/s00114-004-0549-1).
- Forel, A. 1910b. Formicides australiens reçus de MM. Froggatt et Rowland Turner. Rev. Suisse Zool. 18: 1-94 (page 2, Race of forficata)
- Imai, H. T.; Crozier, R. H.; Taylor, R. W. 1977. Karyotype evolution in Australian ants. Chromosoma (Berl.) 59: 341-393 (page 345, karyotype described)
- Jayatilaka,P., Narendra,A., Reid,S.F., Cooper,P., Zeil,J. 2011. Different effects of temperature on foraging activity schedules in sympatric Myrmecia ants. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 214, 2730-2738 (doi:10.1242/jeb.053710).
- Narendra,A., Reid,S.F., Greiner,B., Peters,R.A., Hemmi,J.M., Ribi,W.A., Zeil,J. 2011. Caste-specific visual adaptations to distinct daily activity schedules in Australian Myrmecia ants. Proc. R. Soc. B vol. 278 no. 1709, 1141-1149 (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1378).
- Narendra,A., Reid,S.F., Hemmi,J.M. 2010. The twilight zone: ambient light levels trigger activity in primitive ants. Proc. R. Soc. B vol.277 no.1687, 1531-1538 (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.2324).
- Narendra A, Reid SF, Raderschall CA (2013) Navigational Efficiency of Nocturnal Myrmecia Ants Suffers at Low Light Levels. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58801. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058801
- Ramirez-Esquivel, F., Zeil, J. & Narendra, A. 2014. The antennal sensory array of the nocturnal bull ant Myrmecia pyriformis. Arthropod Structure & Development, 43, 543e558.
- Reid,S.F., Narendra,A., Hemmi,J.M., Zeil,J. 2011. Polarised skylight and the landmark panorama provide night-active bull ants with compass information during route following. Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 363-370 (doi:10.1242/jeb.049338).
- Reid, S.F., Narendra, A., Taylor, R.W. & Jochen Zeil, J. 2013. Foraging ecology of the night-active bull ant Myrmecia pyriformis. Australian Journal of Zoology, 61, 170–177 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ZO13027).
- Sanetra, M. (2011) Nestmate relatedness in the Australian ant myrmecia pyriformis smith, 1858 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News, 15, 77-84.
- Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 144, pl. 10, figs. 1-6 worker, queen, male described)
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1971d. Ant larvae of the subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 47: 245-256 (page 252, larva described)