Zasphinctus steinheili

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Zasphinctus steinheili
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Zasphinctus
Species: Z. steinheili
Binomial name
Zasphinctus steinheili
(Forel, 1900)

Sphinctomyrmex steinheili casent0173064 profile 1.jpg

Sphinctomyrmex steinheili casent0173064 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

At a Glance • Ergatoid queen  


Brown (1975) - A raid of Zasphinctus steinheili observed by me in Victoria, Australia (Wilson, 1958: 136) was waged against a small Stigmacros (Formicinae) species during the afternoon the Zasphinctus ran over bare soil, but took advantage of cracks in the earth where they could. The Stigmacros workers were seen' scattering and hiding on pieces of eucalypt bark and dead leaves lying on the ground, often carrying their own larvae. Their behavior recalled that of Formica fusca- or pallidefulva group species raided by F. sanguinea-group slavemakers in the Northern Hemisphere, and may imply the use of “propaganda” allomones such as those sprayed by the slavemakers to spread panic in the slave Formica colonies they are attacking (Wilson and Regnier, 1971).



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



A total of 20 ergatoid queens from 3 colonies were dissected mostly soon after collecting, during an egg-laying period (Buschinger et al. 1989). Sixteen females were all mated and fully fertile, having long ovarioles (when straightened out, as long as both gaster and petiole) with developing as well as mature oocytes. Presence of "yellow bodies" in most of the ovarioles indicated previous egg-laying. Colonies are thus polygynous.


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

  • steinheili. Sphinctomyrmex (Eusphinctus) steinheili Forel, 1900b: 72 (q., not w. as stated) AUSTRALIA.
    • [Note: holotype is a q., not a w. as stated; see Clark, 1925a: 62.]
    • Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 225 (w.l.); Wheeler, G.C. 1950: 104 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 348 (k.).
    • Combination in Eusphinctus (Eusphinctus): Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 225;
    • combination in Sphinctomyrmex: Brown, 1975: 33;
    • combination in Zasphinctus: Borowiec, M.L. 2016: 243.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 7; Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 225 (redescription); Clark, 1925a: 62; Wilson, 1958c: 136; Brown, 1975: 33, 79; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 51; Buschinger, Peeters & Crozier, 1990: 287; Bolton, 1995b: 392.
    • Senior synonym of fallax: Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 225; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 51.
    • Senior synonym of fulvipes: Brown, 1975: 33; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 51.
    • Senior synonym of hedwigae: Brown, 1975: 33; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 51.
    • Senior synonym of hirsutus: Brown, 1975: 33; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 51.
  • fallax. Sphinctomyrmex (Eusphinctus) fallax Forel, 1900b: 73 (w.) AUSTRALIA.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 7.
    • Junior synonym of steinheili: Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 225.
  • hedwigae. Sphinctomyrmex (Eusphinctus) fallax subsp. hedwigae Forel, 1910b: 21 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA.
    • Combination in Eusphinctus (Eusphinctus): Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 228.
    • Subspecies of fallax: Emery, 1911d: 7; Emery, 1914b: 179.
    • Subspecies of steinheili: Wheeler, W.M. 1918a: 228; Clark, 1925a: 63.
    • Junior synonym of steinheili: Brown, 1975: 33.
  • hirsutus. Eusphinctus hirsutus Clark, 1929: 118, pl. 1, figs. 1, 2 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA.
    • Junior synonym of steinheili: Brown, 1975: 33.
  • fulvipes. Eusphinctus fulvipes Clark, 1934c: 49, pl. 4, fig. 1 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA.
    • Junior synonym of steinheili: Brown, 1975: 33.

Type Material



  • Borowiec, M.L. 2016. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dorylinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 608: 1-280 (doi: 10.3897/zookeys.608.9427).
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1975. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. V. Ponerinae, tribes Platythyreini, Cerapachyini, Cylindromyrmecini, Acanthostichini, and Aenictogitini. Search Agric. (Ithaca N. Y.) 5(1 1: 1-115 (page 33, Combination in Sphinctomyrmex, page 33, senior synonym of fulvipes, hedwigae and hirsutus)
  • Buschinger, A., Peeters, C. & Crozier, R.H. 1990. Life-pattern studies on an Australian Sphinctomyrmex: functional polygyny, brood periodicity and raiding behavior. Psyche 96 (1989): 287-300. [1990.] PDF (page 287, see also)
  • Clark, J. (1925). The ants of Victoria. Part I. Victorian Naturalist (Melbourne). 42: 58–64.
  • Clark, J. (1929). Results of a collecting trip to the Cann River, East Gippsland. Victorian Naturalist (Melbourne). 46: 115–123.
  • Clark, J. (1934). Ants from the Otway Ranges. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria. 8: 48–73.
  • Forel, A. 1900b. Ponerinae et Dorylinae d'Australie récoltés par MM. Turner, Froggatt, Nugent, Chase, Rothney, J.-J. Walker, etc. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 44: 54-77 (page 72, queen described)
  • Forel, A. (1910). Formicides australiens reçus de MM. Froggatt et Rowland Turner. Revue Suisse de Zoologie. 18: 1–94.
  • Imai, H. T.; Crozier, R. H.; Taylor, R. W. 1977. Karyotype evolution in Australian ants. Chromosoma (Berl.) 59: 341-393 (page 348, karyotype described)
  • Wheeler, G. C. 1950. Ant larvae of the subfamily Cerapachyinae. Psyche (Camb.) 57: 102-113 (page 104, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1918a. The Australian ants of the ponerine tribe Cerapachyini. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 53: 215-265 (page 225, worker described, Combination in Eusphinctus (Eusphinctus), senior synonym of fallax)
  • Wilson, E. O. 1958c. Studies on the ant fauna of Melanesia. I. The tribe Leptogenyini. II. The tribes Amblyoponini and Platythyreini. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 118: 101-153 (page 136, see also)