Melophorus argus

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Melophorus argus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Melophorini
Genus: Melophorus
Species group: biroi
Species complex: biroi
Species: M. argus
Binomial name
Melophorus argus
Heterick, Castalanelli & Shattuck, 2017

Melophorus argus side ANIC32-066597.jpg

Melophorus argus top ANIC32-066597.jpg

Specimen labels

Evolutionary Relationships

Melophorus ludius species group

Melophorus potteri species group

Melophorus aeneovirens species group

Melophorus biroi species group (biroi species complex)

Melophorus biroi species group (wheeleri species complex)

Melophorus biroi species group (brevignathus species complex)

Melophorus biroi species group (fieldi species complex)

Based on Heterick et al., 2017. Only selected species groups/complexes are included.

This small, northern species is known from the minor worker only. Specimens from Kakadu were pitfall trapped by Greenslade, but nothing more is known of this ant.


Heterick et al. (2017) - Melophorus argus can be placed in the Melophoprus biroi species-group on the basis of characters of the clypeus, propodeum, mandible and palps. The species is also placed in the Melophoprus biroi species-complex on the basis of a further suite of characters (viz, metatibia of major worker with only one preapical spur [except rarely in the mjobergi clade]; clypeal psammophore placed anteriorly at or just above anterior margin of clypeus in the minor worker and often in the major worker; head dorsoventrally compressed to varying degrees in the minor worker of most species with the eyes placed high on the sides; compact legs, and small body size [(excluding mjobergi clade) HW of smallest minor 0.36 mm, average HW of smallest minors 0.46 mm; HW of largest known major 1.29 mm, average HW of largest majors (where known) 1.05 mm]). The minor worker of Melophorus argus (the major worker is unknown) can be recognized by a combination of a promently scalloped mesopleuron, a thickish, dorsall rounded petiolar node and a glabrous mesosoma that is bimodal when viewed in profile.

Melophorus argus is recognizable by its completely glabrous appearance and its bimodal mesosomal profile.


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Known only from the minor worker.


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

  • argus. Melophorus argus Heterick, Castalanelli & Shattuck, 2017: 159, fig. 30 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

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



(n = 2): CI 87–90; EI 29–32; EL 0.12–0.11; HL 0.42–0.43; HW 0.36–0.39; ML 0.54–0.58; MTL 0.26–0.27; PpH 0.07–0.08; PpL 0.21–0.21; SI 113–116; SL0.37–0.44.

Minor. Head. Head approximately oval with straight sides; posterior margin of head strongly convex; frons shining and smooth except for piliferous pits; frons consisting exclusively or almost exclusively of well-spaced, appressed setae only (small, erect setae, if present, usually confined to ocular triangle or posterior margin of head). Eye moderate (eye length 0.20–0.49 length of side of head capsule); in full-face view, eyes set at about midpoint of head capsule; in profile, eye set anteriad of midline of head capsule; eyes elliptical or slightly reniform. In full-face view, frontal carinae straight, divergent posteriad; frontal lobes curved toward antennal insertion. Anteromedial clypeal margin broadly and evenly convex, or narrowly protrusive anteromedially, the protrusion with a square border; clypeal psammophore set at or just above anterior clypeal margin; palp formula 6,4. Five mandibular teeth in minor worker; mandibles triangular, weakly incurved; third mandibular tooth distinctly shorter than apical tooth and teeth numbers two and four; masticatory margin of mandibles approximately vertical or weakly oblique. Mesosoma. Integument of pronotum, mesonotum and mesopleuron shining and smooth on dorsum, entire lower mesopleuron distinctly striolate-microreticulate; anterior mesosoma in profile pronotum smoothly rounded anteriad and flattened posteriad, mesonotum narrowly convex; erect pronotal setae absent; in profile, metanotal groove deep, ‘V’-shaped; propodeum shining, with multiple hair like striolae; propodeum angulate, propodeal angle blunt; length ratio of propodeal dorsum to its declivity about 1:1; erect propodeal setae always absent; appressed propodeal setulae short, separated by more than own length and inconspicuous; propodeal spiracle situated on or beside declivitous face of propodeum, and shorter (length < 0.50 × height of propodeum). Petiole. In profile, petiolar node broadly squamiform, almost a tubercle; in full-face view, shape of petiolar node uniformly rounded; node shining and smooth throughout. Gaster. Gaster smooth and glossy; pilosity of first gastral tergite consisting of well-spaced short, inconspicuous, appressed setae only, erect setae always absent. General characters. Colour concolorous brown.

Type Material

Holotype minor worker (top ant) from Kapalga, Alligator Rivers area, Northern Territory, 7-9 September 1983, P.J.M. Greenslade, 8 i traps, [ANIC32-066597] (Australian National Insect Collection). Paratypes: minor worker on same pin and with same details as holotype (ANIC); two minor workers from Kapalga, Alligator Rivers area, Northern Territory, 7-9 September 1983, P.J.M. Greenslade, 8 ii traps, (13), (Museum of Comparative Zoology).


Latinized Greek argus (Greek argos ‘shining’); participle in the nominative singular.