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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


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.

At a Glance • Haiku  


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.

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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

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 0 10 2 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2840 1735 3042 932 835 4378 1740 2862


Life History Traits

  • Queen type: winged or dealate; gamergate (Peeters, 1997)
  • 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

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 • 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


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

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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



Apomyrma  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Prionopelta  (25 species, 0 fossil species)

Amblyopone  (10 species, 0 fossil species)

Onychomyrmex  (4 species, 0 fossil species)

Fulakora  (25 species, 0 fossil species)

Adetomyrma  (9 species, 0 fossil species), some Stigmatomma

Myopopone  (1 species, 1 fossil species), some Stigmatomma

some Stigmatomma

Xymmer  (2 species, 0 fossil species)

Mystrium  (14 species, 0 fossil species)

some Stigmatomma

See Phylogeny of Amblyoponinae for details.


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.