Epopostruma mercurii

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Epopostruma mercurii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Epopostruma
Species: E. mercurii
Binomial name
Epopostruma mercurii
Shattuck, 2000

Epopostruma mercurii holotype ANIC32-015344 side 40-AntWiki.jpg

Epopostruma mercurii holotype ANIC32-015344 top 40-AntWiki.jpg

Specimen labels

This species, known from a single Western Australian collection, is very similar to Epopostruma sowestensis, another Western Australian species. They differ in that E. mercurii has spines on dorsum of petiole and flanges on propodeum. Nothing is known of the biology of this species.


This species has expanded, wing-like lateral extensions of the postpetiole. It is similar to Epopostruma sowestensis but differs in that E. mercurii has the petiolar spines well developed and distinct while in E. sowestensis these spines are indistinct and reduced to sharp angles. In addition, E. mercurii lacks flanges between the bases of the propodeal spines and propodeal lobes while E. sowestensis has broad, distinct flanges connecting these structures.

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


While Epopostruma can be fairly common they are often overlooked. Workers are slow-moving and most lie motionless when disturbed. Their nests are small, with up to about 100 workers, and are found in open soil or in soil under rocks, logs or small sticks. They also nest in cracks in large rocks. When nesting in open soil they are often found near the bases of trees. Tree-trunks are clearly an important substrate for foraging workers.

Almost all species forage at night although one species is known to occasionally forage on mallee stems during the day. They are also regularly found in leaf litter. Workers have been attracted to honey baits on trees in the late evening and at night. Their elongate and specialised mandibles form a type of snap-trap which is used to captured soft-bodied prey such as Collembola.



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

  • mercurii. Epopostruma mercurii Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 58, figs. 60, 70, 85 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

Type Material

Holotype Specimen Labels

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.


Holotype worker. TL 4.4mm, HL 0.94mm, HW 0.88mm, CI 94, MandL 0.51mm, MandI 54, SL 0.62mm, SI 70, PronW 0.54mm, ML 1.09mm.

In full face view the lateral margin of the head between the eye and the posterior corner generally angular, sometimes weakly so. Pronotal spines present, distinct. Posterior section of metanotum in approximately the same plane as the dorsal face of propodeum, the junction of these plates either indistinct or in the form of a shallow trough or depression. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with rugose sculpturing, flanges absent. Petiolar spines present, distinct. Anterior face of postpetiole much shorter than the dorsal face; sides of postpetiole expanded laterally in the form of thin, solid wings, their lateral margins weakly concave to weakly convex; posterolateral margin of postpetiole (immediately anterior of gaster) varying from flat to concave. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with straight erect hairs. First gastral tergite smooth, area immediately behind attachment with gaster with weak, indistinct rugae. Body colour yellow-red; dorsal surface of head generally with a weak infuscated spot; gaster uniform golden brown or indistinctly banded with light and dark golden brown.