The only species of the genus, Nothomyrmecia macrops was a myrmecological enigma for many decades after its description in 1934. The types were the only samples collected until the ant was rediscovered in the 1977. Besides some vague locality data and Clark's statement about a 2,500 km stretch of southern Australia: "beyond those collected by Miss Baesjou very few species of ants have been seen from the great stretch of country lying between Albany, Western Australia, and Port Lincoln, South Australia" it had not even been clear where the types were found. Taylor (1978) was finally able to report - Nothomyrmecia was rediscovered on 22 October 1977 southeast of Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia by a CSIRO field party that had camped overnight en route from Canberra to Western Australia. Workers and dealate queens were collected while foraging nocturnally on the ground and tree trunks in disturbed roadside mallee woodland, but colonies were not located. The collection site is about 1000 kilometers east of the Balladonia-Thomas River Track, which the party later surveyed without finding the ant, despite knowledge of its likely habitat preferences. Another well-informed party has since worked the area south of Balladonia, without success. In a visit in mid-November to Eyre Peninsula Philip S. Ward and I began systematic field studies and secured several colonies, complete with queens, larvae, and pupae. These colonies have since yielded alate females and males.
Taylor's (1978) description of the general morphology of Nothomyrmecia macrops provides a helpful means of identifying the lone species of this genus.
Keys including this Genus
Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps
Taylor (1978) - The resistance to collection for 46 years by Nothomyrmecia is explained by its apparently patchy, locally limited distribution, its nonspecific, insignificant nest entrances, its strict nocturnality of foraging, the likely restriction or cessation of aboveground activity in winter (correlating negatively with that of most insect collectors in Australian areas of severe summer climate), and the unlikely collection at light traps of the brachypterous queens (males in this context would probably not have been recognized). Doubts have been expressed about the true provenance of the original specimens, which I believe were very likely collected in mallee woodland south of Balladonia. The previously almost exclusive emphasis by would-be collectors in this area on heath rather than mallee sites could have been misdirected.
Queens are 'brachypterous', i.e. short-winged and incapable of flight. Caste divergence in body size is very slight.
• Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club absent • Palp formula 6,4 • Total dental count 27-32 • Spur formula 2 (1 simple, 1 pectinate), 2 (1 simple, 1 pectinate) • Eyes present • Scrobes absent • Sting present
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- NOTHOMYRMECIA [Myrmeciinae: Prionomyrmecini]
- Nothomyrmecia Clark, 1934a: 17. Type-species: Nothomyrmecia macrops, by original designation.
- Nothomyrmecia junior synonym of †Prionomyrmex: Baroni Urbani, 2000: 479.
- Nothomyrmecia revived from synonymy: Bolton, 2003: 30, 133; Ward & Brady, 2003: 375.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Worker - Slender. Head broader behind than in front. Mandibles elongate, not as long as head, broad and rather flattened; inner borders straight to basal fourth then abruptly reduced to base, forming a short, concave, edentate, basal border, inner border furnished with ten or twelve small sharp teeth equally spaced from the very sharp apex to basal angle, between these teeth are minute denticles. Maxillary palpi with six segments. Labial palpi with four segments. Clypeus large, convex, produced and convex in front. Labrum produced beyond clypeus, sharply pointed in front. Frontal area large. Frontal carinae erect, narrow and almost parallel, not covering the antennal insertions: Antennae long and slender, twelve segments; scapes longer than head, slightly thickened toward apex; funiculus filiform, second segment longest. Eyes large and convex, placed at middle of sides of head. No ocelli. Thorax not margined. Pro-mesonotal suture sharply impressed. Meso-epinotal suture deep and wide. Petiole elongate, with a large node behind; ventral surface with a strong sharp tooth-like projection in front. Post petiole united with gaster without traces of a constriction, bell-shaped in front; the ventral surface with a long sharp tooth-like projection in front. Gaster ovate, longer than broad. Sting very long and stout. Legs rather long and robust. Anterior tibiae with one long broad pectinate spur and two short stout bristles. Middle tibiae with two long sharp bristle-like spurs. Posterior tibiae with one long broad pectinate spur and one long thin bristlelike spur. Fourth segment of all tarsi bilobed. Claws stout, bidentate.
- Baroni Urbani, C. 2000. Rediscovery of the Baltic amber ant genus Prionomyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) and its taxonomic consequences. Eclogae Geol. Helv. 93: 471-480 (page 479, Nothomyrmecia as junior synonym of Prionomyrmex)
- Baroni Urbani, C.; Bolton, B.; Ward, P. S. 1992. The internal phylogeny of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 17: 301-329 (page 317, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Bolton, B. 1990e. Army ants reassessed: the phylogeny and classification of the doryline section (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). J. Nat. Hist. 2 24: 1339-1364 (page 1362, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 152, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae, Nothomyrmeciini)
- Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 30, 133, Nothomyrmecia as genus; taxonomic synopsis)
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1953j. Revisionary notes on the ant genus Myrmecia of Australia. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 111: 1-35 (page 3, Nothomyrmecia in Myrmeciinae, Nothomyrmeciini)
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1973b. A comparison of the Hylean and Congo-West African rain forest ant faunas. Pp. 161-185 in: Meggers, B. J., Ayensu, E. S., Duckworth, W. D. (eds.) Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, viii + 350 pp. (page 165, Nothomyrmecia in Myrmeciinae, Nothomyrmeciini)
- Clark, J. 1934a. Notes on Australian ants, with descriptions of new species and a new genus. Mem. Natl. Mus. Vic. 8: 5-20 (page 8, 17, Nothomyrmecia as genus; Nothomyrmecia in Ponerinae, Nothomyrmecii)
- Clark, J. 1951. The Formicidae of Australia. Vol. 1. Subfamily Myrmeciinae. Melbourne: CSIRO, 230 pp. (page 16, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Dlussky, G. M.; Fedoseeva, E. B. 1988. Origin and early stages of evolution in ants. Pp. 70-144 in: Ponomarenko, A. G. (ed.) Cretaceous biocenotic crisis and insect evolution. Moskva: Nauka, 232 pp. (page 78, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Donisthorpe, H. 1943g. A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(10): 617-688 (page 675, Nothomyrmecia in Myrmicinae, Myrmeciini)
- Donisthorpe, H. 1944b. Notes arising out of Mr. W. D. Hincks's review of Mr. Donisthorpe's "A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae". Entomol. Mon. Mag. 80: 59 (page 59, Nothomyrmecia in Ponerinae, Myrmeciini)
- Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 11, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Snelling, R. R. 1981. Systematics of social Hymenoptera. Pp. 369-453 in: Hermann, H. R. (ed.) Social insects. Volume 2. New York: Academic Press, xiii + 491 pp. (page 399, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Taylor, R. W. 1978a. Nothomyrmecia macrops: a living-fossil ant rediscovered. Science (Wash. D. C.) 201: 979-985 (page 982, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Taylor, R. W.; Brown, D. R. 1985. Formicoidea. Zool. Cat. Aust. 2:1- 149: 1-149, 30 (page 5, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)
- Ward, P., and Brady, S. 2003. Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17(3): 361-386 (page 375, Nothomyrmecia as genus)
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1985b. A simplified conspectus of the Formicidae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 111: 255-264 (page 256, Nothomyrmecia in Myrmeciinae, Nothomyrmeciini)
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J.; Taylor, R. W. 1980. The larval and egg stages of the primitive ant Nothomyrmecia macrops Clark (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. Entomol. Soc. 19: 131-137 (page 136, Nothomyrmecia in Nothomyrmeciinae)