Leptomyrmex burwelli

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Leptomyrmex burwelli
Leptomyrmex burwelli
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Leptomyrmex
Species: L. burwelli
Binomial name
Leptomyrmex burwelli
Smith, D.J. & Shattuck, 2009

Leptomyrmex burwelli side view

Leptomyrmex burwelli top view

Specimen labels

Evolutionary Relationships

Leptomyrmex neotropicus (fossil only)

Leptomyrmex relictus


Leptomyrmex burwelli

Leptomyrmex dolichoscapus


Leptomyrmex mjobergi

Leptomyrmex varians

Leptomyrmex unicolor

Leptomyrmex flavitarsus

Leptomyrmex puberulus

Leptomyrmex darlingtoni

Leptomyrmex fragilis

Leptomyrmex niger

Leptomyrmex erythrocephalus

Leptomyrmex wiburdi

Leptomyrmex cnemidatus

Leptomyrmex nigriventris

Leptomyrmex tibialis

Leptomyrmex geniculatus

Leptomyrmex nigriceps

Leptomyrmex pallens

Leptomyrmex rufithorax

Leptomyrmex rufipes

Leptomyrmex rothneyi

Leptomyrmex ruficeps

Based on Barden et al., 2017. Note only selected Leptomyrmex species are included.

Leptomyrmex burwelli is restricted to rainforest where it is known to nest under rocks or less commonly in rotten wood. It forages on the ground as well as on vegetation. This species has so far only been found in the south-eastern corner of Queensland with one record just over the border in NSW.


Scapes long (SI > 170); pubescence of short, sparse adpressed hairs; dorsum of petiolar node strongly convex in anterior view; anterior mesonotum with a strongly raised bump. It can readily be separated from the sympatric Leptomyrmex aitchisoni by the distinctively humped anterior mesonotum. (Smith and Shattuck 2009)

Identification Keys including this Taxon


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -26.78333282° to -28.39999962°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.


Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.



Explore-icon.png Explore Overview of Leptomyrmex biology 
These conspicuous ants are most often encountered individually or as small groups of 2 or 3 foragers on the surface of the ground any time of the day or night. Because of their long legs and thin bodies, they superficially resemble spiders. This is especially true when they are disturbed, as they extend their legs, raise their gasters, and run quickly to escape danger. This has led to their being given the common name "spider ants."

Nests are found in soil or in dead wood, either standing or on the ground, and are often at the base of trees. Colony sizes average a few hundred workers and a single queen. In all but a handful of species, the queen is wingless and worker-like, differing from workers only in being slightly larger and with an enlarged mesosoma. In a few species the queens are fully winged, as they are in most other ants.

When a large source of food is found, workers of Leptomyrmex will return to their nest and recruit additional workers to help utilise the newly found resource. They also use workers as "living storage vessels". These special workers, called repletes, accept liquids from returning foragers who transfer their liquid foods to these selected workers. These special workers continue to accept liquids until their gasters become greatly enlarged and extended. When enlarged, repletes cannot escape the nest and remain inside suspended from the ceiling. They can retain these fluids for extended periods and dispense it on demand when food is in short supply. ‎



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

  • burwelli. Leptomyrmex burwelli Smith, D.J. & Shattuck, 2009: 60, figs. 4-6, 19-21 (w.q.m.) AUSTRALIA.

Type Material

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



In full face view vertex of head weakly convex, rounding into sides of head, sides of head weakly rounded, widest at mid-length, eyes placed at mid-length of head capsule. Palps long extending about ¾ the length of the head capsule. Pronotum even with promesonotal suture, posterior margin of pronotum not rounding sharply to the suture; anterior portion of the mesonotum raised above the promesonotal suture then rounding sharply into descending plane of remainder of mesonotum producing a distinctive strongly raised anterior mesonotal “bump”. Legs long; hind tibial spurs with reduced barbules, barbules absent from basal one-quarter.

(n = 117 ) - CI 69–79; EL 0.20–0.25; HL 0.79–0.97; HW 0.60–0.70; MTL 0.71–0.96; SI 171–200; SL 1.10–1.29; WL 1.2–1.4.


(n = 1) - CI 91; EL 0.38; HL 0.94; HW 1.03; HL 1.13; MTL 1.075; SI 139; SL 1.43; WL 1.95. Male (n = 3) -CI 74–76; EL 0.33–0.36; HL 0.60–0.67; HW 0.53–0.65; MTL 0.75–0.81; SI* 10; SL 0.23–0.25; WL 1.23–1.32.

Paratype Specimen Labels



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Burwell C.J., and A. Nakamura. 2011. Distribution of ant speces along an altitudinal transect in continuous rainforest in subtropical Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum -Nature 55(2): 391-411.
  • Smith D. J., and S. Shattuck. 2009. Six new, unusually small ants of the genus Leptomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2142: 57-68.