Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus

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Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Iridomyrmex
Species: I. viridiaeneus
Binomial name
Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus
Viehmeyer, 1914

Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus side view

Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus top view

Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus is the most widely distributed of the meat ants, and occurs throughout Australia. Its compound nests and habits, at least in Western Australia, approximate those of species like Iridomyrmex purpureus.

Photo Gallery

  • Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus worker, Morgan, South Australia. Photo by Mark Newton.
  • Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus worker, Morgan, South Australia. Photo by Mark Newton.
  • Iridomyrmex viridiaeneus with a bush fly prey item. Morgan, South Australia. Photo by Mark Newton.


This ant is distinguished by its strong green iridescence, in addition to purple or pink iridescence, and its uniformly dark, reddish integument. With older, pinned material, workers of this species may be a little difficult to distinguish from Western Australian workers of I. purpureus with yellowish- to bluish-green humeri and a bluish- green frons, but the green colour in I. viridiaeneus is quite distinct on the sides of the head capsule when the ant is seen in profile, whereas this is not the case with the I. purpureus variant. Other intraspecific variations seen in Western Australian workers (i.e., a tendency to reddish iridescence, and a more arched posterior pronotum), are discussed by Shattuck (1993 a). Shattuck also mentions in his monograph a small form of I. viridiaeneus (called ‘SB’ by the earlier researchers Greenslade and Halliday (1982)), which he considered to be conspecific with the typical, larger form.

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




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

  • viridiaeneus. Iridomyrmex detectus var. viridiaeneus Viehmeyer, 1914b: 41 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, W.M. 1915g: 811 (q.). Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1974b: 400 (l.). Raised to species: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1974b: 400. Subspecies of purpureus: Greenslade, 1974: 247; Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 102. Raised to species: Shattuck, 1993a: 142. See also: Shattuck, 1994: 113; Heterick & Shattuck, 2011: 155.

Type Material


Worker Description. Head. Posterior margin of head 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 above 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 approximately 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 present in some workers. Mesosoma. Pronotum moderately and evenly curved over its length. Erect pronotal setae numerous (12 or more), short and bristly. Mesonotum sinuous. Erect mesonotal setae numerous (12 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, or mesad, more than its diameter away from 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 present. Colour foreparts shades of reddish-brown, head often slightly lighter in colour, gaster dark reddish-brown, iridescence on head and pronotum predominantly bright yellowish-green to emerald green, mesonotum, propodeum and legs also with pink to purple iridescence in pinned material, gaster with iridescence of rainbow hues. Colour of erect setae brown.

Measurements. Worker (n = 71)—CI 89–101; EI 17–22; EL 0.29–0.41; EW 0.18–0.26; HL 1.55–2.37; HW 1.40–2.34; ML 0.73–1.37; PpH 0.19–0.47; PpL 0.73–1.32; SI 84–108; SL 1.5 1–2.05.


  • 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.
  • Shattuck, S. O. 1993a. Revision of the Iridomyrmex purpureus species-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebr. Taxon. 7: 113-149 (page 142, Raised to species)
  • Shattuck, S. O. 1994. Taxonomic catalog of the ant subfamilies Aneuretinae and Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Univ. Calif. Publ. Entomol. 112:i-xix, 1-241. (page 113, see also)
  • Taylor, R. W.; Brown, D. R. 1985. Formicoidea. Zool. Cat. Aust. 2:1- 149: 1-149, 30 (page 102, Subspecies of purpureus)
  • Viehmeyer, H. 1914b [1913]. Neue und unvollständig bekannte Ameisen der alten Welt. Arch. Naturgesch. (A)79(1 12: 24-60 (page 41, worker described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1974b [1973]. Ant larvae of the subfamily Dolichoderinae: second supplement (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 49: 396-401 (page 400, larva described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1974b [1973]. Ant larvae of the subfamily Dolichoderinae: second supplement (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 49: 396-401 (page 400, Raised to species)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1915h. Hymenoptera. [In "Scientific notes on an expedition into the north-western regions of South Australia".]. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 39: 805-823 (page 811, queen described)