Iridomyrmex sanguineus

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Iridomyrmex sanguineus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Iridomyrmex
Species: I. sanguineus
Binomial name
Iridomyrmex sanguineus
Forel, 1910

Iridomyrmex sanguineus side view

Iridomyrmex sanguineus top view

Iridomyrmex sanguineus occurs in the same climatic zone as I. reburrus and is the most common northern meat ant (Andersen, 2000).


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


Yamada et al. (2007): Mounds of the termite Amitermes laurensis in northern Queensland, Australia, are frequently invaded and occupied by the meat ant Iridomyrmex sanguineus, but their interactions remain unclear. In 1999, 68 A. laurensis mounds that were mapped and examined for the presence of the meat ants in 1998 were studied by destructive sampling, and the occupancy percentages of the termites were compared during the 2 years of meat ant occupation. The results indicate that the occupancy percentages of the termites in the intact mounds (79%) are significantly different from those in the mounds that were occupied by the meat ants in 1998 (58%), 1999 (42%), or both (20%). Although the mean vales showed apparent differences, no significant difference was observed in the occupancy percentages among the latter three cases. Our results suggest that the meat ants are not lethal invaders of the termite mounds and that the recovery of the termite populations occurs after the meat ants abandon the mounds.




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

  • sanguineus. Iridomyrmex detectus var. sanguinea Forel, 1910b: 53 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Forel, 1915b: 79 (q.). Subspecies of purpureus: Greenslade, 1974: 247; Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 102. Raised to species: Shattuck, 1993a: 134. See also: Heterick & Shattuck, 2011: 136.

Type Material


Worker Description. Head. Posterior margin of head planar to weakly concave; erect setae on posterior margin in full-face view set in a row; sides of head noticeably convex; erect genal setae absent from sides of head in full-face view (one to a few small setae may be present near mandibular insertion). Ocelli absent; in full-face view, eyes set at about midpoint of head capsule; in profile, eye set anteriad of head capsule; eye semi-circular. Frontal carinae convex; antennal scape surpassing posterior margin of head by 1-2 x its diameter. Erect setae on scape present and abundant; prominence on anteromedial clypeal margin projecting as triangular spur; mandible elongate triangular with oblique basal margin; long, curved setae on venter of head capsule absent. Mesosoma. Pronotum moderately and evenly curved over its length. Erect pronotal setae numerous (12 or more), short and bristly. Mesonotum sinuous. Erect mesonotal setae moderate in number to numerous (6 or more), short and bristly. Mesothoracic spiracles always prominent as small, vertical protuberances; propodeal dorsum smoothly and evenly convex; placement of propodeal spiracle posteriad and near propodeal declivity; propodeal angle weakly present or absent, the confluence of the dorsal and declivitous propodeal faces indicated, if at all, by an undulation. Erect propodeal setae numerous (12 or more), short and bristly. Petiole. Dorsum of node acuminate, or convex; node thin, scale-like, orientation more-or-less vertical. Gaster. Non-marginal erect setae of gaster present on first gastral tergite; marginal erect setae of gaster present on first tergite. General characters. Allometric differences between workers of same nest absent. Colour brick red, gaster dark brown, legs dull brown, bluish green iridescence on gaster, purplish iridescence on legs, very weak pinkish iridescence on head and mesosoma. Colour of erect setae black.

Measurements. Worker (n = 55)—CI 88–100; EI 17–2 1; EL 0.30–0.40; EW 0.17–0.24; HL 1.66–2.32; HW 1.49–2.23; ML 0.7 1–1.13; PpH 0.19–0.33; PpL 0.75–1.19; SI 85–106; SL 1.45–1.92.


  • Forel, A. 1910b. Formicides australiens reçus de MM. Froggatt et Rowland Turner. Rev. Suisse Zool. 18: 1-94 (page 53, worker described)
  • Forel, A. 1915b. Results of Dr. E. Mjöbergs Swedish Scientific Expeditions to Australia 1910-13. 2. Ameisen. Ark. Zool. 9(1 16: 1-119 (page 79, queen described)
  • Greenslade, P. J. M. 1974a. The identity of Iridomyrmex purpureus form viridiaeneus Viehmeyer (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. Entomol. Soc. 13: 247-248 (page 247, Subspecies of purpureus)
  • Heterick, B.E. & Shattuck, S.O. 2011. Revision of the ant genus Iridomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2845: 1-175. PDF
  • Shattuck, S. O. 1993a. Revision of the Iridomyrmex purpureus species-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebr. Taxon. 7: 113-149 (page 134, Raised to species)
  • Taylor, R. W.; Brown, D. R. 1985. Formicoidea. Zool. Cat. Aust. 2:1- 149: 1-149, 30 (page 102, Subspecies of purpureus)
  • Yamada, A., Inoue, T., Hyodo, F., Tayasu, I., Abe, T. 2007. Effects of mound occupation by the meat ant Iridomyrmex sanguineus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on the termite Amitermes laurensis (Isoptera: Termitidae) in an Australian woodland. Sociobiology 50(1): 1-9.