Leptomyrmex garretti

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

Leptomyrmex garretti side view

Leptomyrmex garretti top view

This rainforest species nests under rocks. It forages on the ground and on vegetation.


Scapes long (SI > 174, Fig. 20); pubescence short sparse and adpressed; petiolar node weakly convex in anterior view; anterior mesonotum without a raised hump. Sympatric with Leptomyrmex dolichoscapus and Leptomyrmex pilosus it is more widespread than these and readily separated from them by the combination of normal length scapes and normal pilosity. (Smith and Shattuck 2009)

Identification Keys including this Taxon


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -16.05° to -16.60000038°.

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.



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.

  • garretti. Leptomyrmex garretti Smith, D.J. & Shattuck, 2009: 63, figs. 10-12, 19, 20, 22 (w.) 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 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 just beyond the length of the head capsule. Posterior of pronotum slightly higher than the promesonotal suture, posterior margin of pronotum rounding to the suture; anterior portion of the mesonotum below the promesonotal suture then without an anterior mesonotal “bump”. Legs long; hind tibial spurs with reduced barbules, barbules absent from basal ¼. Honey brown colour, covered with dense short appressed pilosity, setae present on clypeus and sternites of gaster only.

(n = 25) - CI 69–80; EL 0.17–0.22; HL 0.84–0.97; HW 0.61–0.75; MTL 0.86–1.08; SI 175–214; SL 1.29–1.48; WL 1.35–1.58.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Smith D. J., and S. Shattuck. 2009. Six new, unusually small ants of the genus Leptomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2142: 57-68.