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Amblyopone australis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Tribe: Amblyoponini
Genus: Amblyopone
Erichson, 1842
Type species
Amblyopone australis
10 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Amblyopone australis casent0102519 profile 1.jpg

Amblyopone australis

Amblyopone australis casent0102519 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (1 species)

  (25 species)

  (10 species)

  (4 species)

  (25 species)

  (9 species), some Stigmatomma

  (1 species), some Stigmatomma

some Stigmatomma

  (2 species)

  (14 species)

some Stigmatomma

Based on Ward & Fisher, 2016. Note that Stigmatomma is not currently monophyletic and some species are more closely related to those of other genera than to each other.

Species of Amblyopone range from very rare and seldom seen to locally common and regularly encountered. They nest in soil under rocks or logs or in rotten wood on the ground. Colonies often lack central chambers and instead are composed of many small satellite nests each containing a few workers together with a small amount of brood, dispersed over a small area. Workers are cryptic predators in soil and leaf litter and are seldom seen foraging on the surface of the ground. Some species show a strong preference for centipedes while others will feed on a range of soft-bodied arthropods. When disturbed they move slowly underground or remain motionless. In some species queens are known to wound their larvae and feed on haemolymph taken from these non-lethal wounds. This genus was once thought to occur in many regions of the world but a revision by Yoshimura and Fisher (2012) has shown that many species once considered Amblyopone actual belong to the genus Stigmatomma and Xymmer.


The mandibles are long and slender, with at least 5 teeth which vary greatly in size and are scattered along the entire inner margins, and with a sharp, pointed tooth at their tips which is no more than twice as long as the next longest tooth. The frontal lobes extend only slightly forward of the antennal sockets and do not cover the clypeus when viewed from the front. The forward margin of the clypeus is usually armed with a number of small teeth. The petiole has distinct front and upper faces but lacks a rear face, and its attachment to the gaster is broad and approximately the same height as the petiole so that the upper surfaces of petiole and gaster are separated by at most a shallow impression. The tibiae of the hind legs each have a large, comb-like (pectinate) spur at their tips (best viewed from the front).

In Australia species of Amblyopone are most similar to those of Onychomyrmex, but differ in having the tooth at the tip of the mandible smaller and having a distinct comb-like spur on the hind tibia.

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Recent revisionary work (Yoshimura and Fisher, 2012) has reduced the known range of Amblyopone to Australia, New Caledonia, New Guinea, and New Zealand. All records beyond these limits represent locality records for species in the genera Stigmatomma and Xymmer.

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 12 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: predator (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: cooperative (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

 • Eyes: 0-10 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: polymorphic

These characters are collated in the table "WorkerMorphology". View table.


Species Uncertain

  • Amblyopone near fortis: n = 22, 2n = 44, karyotype = 20A + 24M (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977; Mariano et al., 2015) (as Amblyopone cf. fortis).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

Explore Data: All, Drilldown
Click here to show/hide karyotype data.
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Amblyopone 22 44 20A + 24M Australia Imai et al., 1977; Mariano et al., 2015 as ''Amblyopone'' cf. ''fortis''
Amblyopone australis 24 48 22A + 26M Australia Imai et al., 1977; Mariano et al., 2015


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • AMBLYOPONE [Amblyoponinae]
    • Amblyopone Erichson, 1842: 260. Type-species: Amblyopone australis, by monotypy.
    • Amblyopone senior synonym of Amblyopopone: Forel, 1893a: 166; Emery, 1911d: 25.
    • Amblyopone senior synonym of Neoamblyopone, Protamblyopone: Brown, 1949c: 87; Brown, 1960a: 155.
    • Amblyopone senior synonym of Amblyopopona: Bolton, 1994: 164.
  • AMBLYOPOPONA [junior synonym of Amblyopone]
    • Amblyopopona Schulz, W.A. 1906: 154, unjustified emendation of Amblyopone.
    • Amblyopopona junior synonym of Amblyopone: Bolton, 1994: 164.
  • AMBLYOPOPONE [junior synonym of Amblyopone]
    • Amblyopopone Dalla Torre, 1893: 13, unjustified emendation of Amblyopone.
    • Amblyopopone junior synonym of Amblyopone: Forel, 1893a: 166.
  • NEOAMBLYOPONE [junior synonym of Amblyopone]
    • Neoamblyopone Wheeler, W.M. 1927c: 1 [as subgenus of Amblyopone]. Type-species: Amblyopone (Neoamblyopone) clarki, by monotypy.
    • Neoamblyopone junior synonym of Amblyopone: Brown, 1949c: 87.
  • PROTAMBLYOPONE [junior synonym of Amblyopone]
    • Protamblyopone Wheeler, W.M. 1927c: 1 [as subgenus of Amblyopone]. Type-species: Amblyopone (Protamblyopone) aberrans, by monotypy.
    • Protamblyopone junior synonym of Amblyopone: Brown, 1949c: 87.


  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 382, Amblyopone in Pachycondylinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1978a. Contributo alla conoscenza del genere Amblyopone Erichson (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 51: 39-51 (page 41, Key to Mediterranean region)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 164, Amblyopone senior synonym of Amblyopopona)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 154, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1949e. A new American Amblyopone, with notes on the genus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 56: 81-88. (page 87, Amblyopone senior synonym of Neoamblyopone and Protamblyopone)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1953c. Characters and synonymies among the genera of ants. Part I. Breviora 11: 1-13 (page 11, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1960a. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. III. Tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 122: 143-230 (page 155, Amblyopone senior synonym of Arotropus, Ericapelta, Lithomyrmex Clark, Neoamblyopone, Protamblyopone, Stigmatomma (and its junior synonyms Fulakora and Xymmer))
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1960a. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. III. Tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 122: 143-230 (page 155, Revision of genus)
  • 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. Wash (page 183, Amblyopone provisional senior synonym of Paraprionopelta (unconfirmed))
  • Burchill, A.T., Moreau, C.S. 2016. Colony size evolution in ants: macroevolutionary trends. Insectes Sociaux 63, 291–298 (doi:10.1007/s00040-016-0465-3).
  • Cantone S. 2017. Winged Ants, The Male, Dichotomous key to genera of winged male ants in the World, Behavioral ecology of mating flight (self-published).
  • Cantone S. 2018. Winged Ants, The queen. Dichotomous key to genera of winged female ants in the World. The Wings of Ants: morphological and systematic relationships (self-published).
  • Clark, J. 1951. The Formicidae of Australia. Vol. 1. Subfamily Myrmeciinae. Melbourne: CSIRO, 230 pp. (page 15, Amblyopone in Amblyoponinae)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 13, Amblyopone in Ponerinae)
  • 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 621, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C. 1895d. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. (Schluss). Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 257-360 (page 261, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 766, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 34, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 25, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C.; Forel, A. 1879. Catalogue des Formicides d'Europe. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 5: 441-481 (page 455, Amblyopone in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Erichson, W. F. 1842. Beitrag zur Insecten-Fauna von Vandiemensland, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der geographischen Verbreitung der Insecten. Arch. Naturgesch. 8 (1): 83-287 (page 260, Amblyopone as genus)
  • Forel, A. 1893b. Sur la classification de la famille des Formicides, avec remarques synonymiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 161-167 (page 162, Amblyopone in Amblyoponinae)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 235, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Larabee, F.J., Suarez, A.V. 2014. The evolution and functional morphology of trap-jaw ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 20: 25-36.
  • Lattke, J. E. 1991d. Studies of neotropical Amblyopone Erichson (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Contr. Sci. (Los Angel.) 428: 1-7 (page 6, Key to Neotropical region)
  • Lea, A. M. (1910). Australian and Tasmanian Coleoptera inhabiting or resorting to the nests of ants, bees, and termites. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 23: 116–230.
  • Lea, A. M. (1910). The guests of ants, bees, and termites. Vict. Nat. 27: 50–56.
  • Lorite, P., Palomeque, T. 2010. Karyotype evolution in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of the known ant chromosome numbers. Myrmecological News 13: 89-102.
  • Mariano, C.S.F., Santos, I.S., Silva, J.G., Costa, M.A., Pompolo, S.G. 2015. Citogenética e evolução do cariótipo em formigas poneromorfas. In: Delabie, J.H.C., Feitosa, R.M., Serrao, J.E., Mariano, C.S.F., Majer, J.D. (eds) As formigas poneromorfas do Brasil, 1st edn. Ilhéus, Brasil, pp 102–125 (doi:10.7476/9788574554419.0010).
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 714, Amblyopone in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 16, Amblyopone in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Mayr, G. 1887. Südamerikanische Formiciden. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 37: 511-632 (page 546, Amblyopone senior synonym of Stigmatomma)
  • Ohnishi, H., Imai, H. T., Yamamoto, M.-T. (2003). Molecular phylogentic analysis of ant subfamily relationship inferred from rDNA sequences. Genes Genet. Syst. 78: 419–425.
  • Provancher, L. 1887b. Fam. X. - Les Formicides. [part]. Pp. 229-244 in: Provancher, L. 1885-1889. Additions et corrections au Volume II de la Faune entomologique du Canada, traitant des Hyménoptères. Québec: C. Darveau, 477 pp. (page 240, Amblyopone senior synonym of Arotropus)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 108, Amblyopone in Poneridae)
  • Smith, F. 1871a. A catalogue of the Aculeate Hymenoptera and Ichneumonidae of India and the Eastern Archipelago. With introductory remarks by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 11: 285-348 (page 324, Amblyopone in Poneridae)
  • Wheeler, W. M. (1927). Ants of the genus Amblyopone Erichson. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 62: 1–29.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 134, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 641, Amblyopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Yoshimura, M. & Fisher, B.L. 2012. A revision of male ants of the Malagasy Amblyoponinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with resurrections of the genera Stigmatomma and Xymmer. PLoS ONE 7(3):e33325 DOI:[1].