Brachyponera lutea

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Brachyponera lutea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Brachyponera
Species: B. lutea
Binomial name
Brachyponera lutea
(Mayr, 1862)

Pachycondyla lutea casent0217564 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla lutea casent0217564 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Easily the most abundant species in the group, and occurs throughout Australia. Typically this species can be found cohabiting with termites under stones or rotting logs, and the latter are a prey item. As well as being widespread in native woodlands, B. lutea is common in suburban areas, where anecdotal reports suggest it not infrequently stings people tending their gardens. (Heterick 2009)

Photo Gallery

  • Brachyponera lutea worker found descending the trunk of a tree on a rainy day. Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 19 July 2009.


Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Size difference between queens and workers is the highest among all Ponerinae. This is associated with the ability of newly mated queens to start new colonies without foraging outside the nest ('claustral') (Haskins & Haskins 1950).

Dealate queen, male and worker, showing the very pronounced dimorphism in female body size. From Wheeler 1933
Larvae and cocoons from a nest of B. lutea excavated in New South Wales, Australia. The two sizes of cocoons show the very pronounced dimorphism in body size between queens and workers. Photograph by C. Peeters.



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

  • lutea. Ponera lutea Mayr, 1862: 721 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA (New South Wales).
    • Mayr, 1865: 67 (m.); Crawley, 1918: 86 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971b: 1207 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 347 (k.).
    • Combination in Euponera (Brachyponera): Emery, 1901a: 47;
    • combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 307;
    • combination in Brachyponera: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971b: 1207; Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, 2014: 80.
    • Status as species: Roger, 1863b: 16; Mayr, 1863: 449; Mayr, 1865: 66 (redescription); Mayr, 1876: 88; Mayr, 1879: 662 (in key); Emery, 1887b: 433; Dalla Torre, 1893: 40; Forel, 1907h: 271; Emery, 1911d: 84; Emery, 1914b: 180; Forel, 1915b: 22; Crawley, 1915b: 232; Crawley, 1918: 86; Poulton & Crawley, 1922: 120; Wheeler, W.M. 1933i: 93 (redescription); Wheeler, W.M. 1934d: 140; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 23; Taylor, 1987a: 9; Bolton, 1995b: 307; Heterick, 2009: 135.
    • Senior synonym of clara: Bolton, 1995b: 307.
    • Senior synonym of socialis: Emery, 1911d: 84; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 23; Taylor, 1987a: 9; Bolton, 1995b: 307.
  • clara. Euponera (Brachyponera) lutea var. clara Crawley, 1915a: 133 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Northern Territory).
    • Combination in Brachyponera: Taylor & Brown, 1985: 23.
    • Subspecies of lutea: Taylor & Brown, 1985: 23; Taylor, 1987a: 10.
    • Junior synonym of lutea: Bolton, 1995b: 304.
  • socialis. Ectatomma socialis MacLeay, 1873: 369 (w.) AUSTRALIA (New South Wales).
    • Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 26.
    • Junior synonym of lutea: Emery, 1911d: 84; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 23; Taylor, 1987a: 9; Bolton, 1995b: 309.
  • solitaria. Ponera solitaria Smith, F. 1874: 404 (w.) JAPAN.
    • [Junior primary homonym of Ponera solitaria Smith, 1860b: 103.]
    • Forel, 1900e: 267 (q.).
    • Combination in Euponera (Brachyponera): Emery, 1901a: 47;
    • combination in Euponera (Trachymesopus): Santschi, 1937h: 363.
    • Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 42; Forel, 1900e: 267, 284; Wheeler, W.M. 1906c: 306; Emery, 1909c: 366; Yano, 1910: 418; Emery, 1911d: 84; Forel, 1912l: 339; Santschi, 1925f: 82; Wheeler, W.M. 1928c: 6; Wheeler, W.M. 1928d: 98; Wheeler, W.M. 1929f: 2; Wheeler, W.M. 1930h: 60; Santschi, 1937h: 363; Teranishi, 1940: 7; Azuma, 1950: 24; Creighton, 1950a: 45; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 786; Azuma, 1951: 86; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 64; Azuma, 1953: 1; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 111; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1341; Guénard & Dunn, 2012: 61 (error).
    • Senior synonym of chinensis: Brown, 1958h: 22; Onoyama, 1980: 196; Bolton, 1995b: 309.
    • Replacement name: Ponera nigrita subsp. chinensis Emery, 1895k: 460.
    • [Note: chinensis junior synonym of solitaria Smith, F. 1874 (synonymy by Brown, 1958h: 22); hence chinensis first available replacement name.]

Type Material



  • n = 8, 2n = 16, karyotype = 8M + 8A (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977; Mariano et al., 2015).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Andersen A. N., B. D. Hoffman, and J. Somes. 2003. Ants as indicators of minesite restoration: community recovery at one of eight rehabilitation sites in central Queensland. Ecological Management and Restoration 4: 12-19.
  • Andersen A. N., J. Lanoue, and I. Radford. 2010. The ant fauna of the remote Mitchell Falls area of tropical north-western Australia: Biogeography, environmental relationships and conservation significance. Journal of Insect Conservation 14: 647-661.
  • Emery C. 1914. Formiche d'Australia e di Samoa raccolte dal Prof. Silvestri nel 1913. Bollettino del Laboratorio di Zoologia Generale e Agraria della Reale Scuola Superiore d'Agricoltura. Portici 8: 179-186.
  • Forel A. 1893. Nouvelles fourmis d'Australie et des Canaries. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 454-466.
  • Heterick B. E., B. Durrant, and N. R. Gunawardene. 2010. The ant fauna of the Pilbara Bioregion, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 78: 157-167.
  • Heterick B. E., M. Lythe, and C; Smithyman. 2012. Urbanisation factors impacting on ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) biodiversity in the Perth metropolitan area, Western Australia: Two case studies. Urban Ecosyst. DOI 10.1007/s11252-012-0257-23
  • Read J. L., and A. N. Andersen. 2000. The value of ants as early warning bioindicators: responses to pulsed cattle grazing at an Australian arid zone locality. Journal of Arid Environments 45: 231-251.
  • Schnell M. R., A. J. Pik, and J. M. Dangerfield. 2003. Ant community succession within eucalypt plantations on used pasture and implications for taxonomic sufficiency in biomonitoring. Austral Ecology 28: 553–565.
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.