Metapone mathinnae

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Metapone mathinnae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Metapone
Species: M. mathinnae
Binomial name
Metapone mathinnae
Taylor & Alpert, 2016

Taylor, Alpert 2016 Metapone-42 157.jpg

Taylor, Alpert 2016 Metapone-42 158.jpg

Known only from the holotype worker, collected 29 ii 1952 by the late John H. Calaby of CSIRO Division of Wildlife Research, who regularly collected termite samples for the ANIC.


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


Taylor and Alpert (2016) - Possible termite associations: Available termite distribution records (Watson & Abbey, 1993) imply that M. mathinnae is likely associated with either (or both?) of the termite species known from Flinders Island, namely Porotermes adamsoni (Froggatt) (Termopsidae) and Kalotermes convexus (Walker) (Kalotermitidae), both of which occur also in south-eastern Australia and mainland Tasmania. The only two other recorded Tasmanian termites (and possible hosts) are Stolotermes brunneicornis (Hagen) (Termopsidae) and Bifiditermes improbus (Hagen) (Kalotermitidae). The former is known only from mainland Tasmania and the latter is widespread elsewhere on the Australian mainland.



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

  • mathinnae. Metapone mathinnae Taylor & Alpert, 2016: 542, figs. 156-159 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Tasmania).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Australia: Tasmania, Flinders I., Vinegar Hill, 29.ii.1952 (J.H. Calaby).
    • Type-depository: ANIC.
    • Distribution: Australia.

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



TL: ca 5.4 (mandibular component estimated); HL: 1.08; HW: 0.84; CI: 78; CpL: 0.39; CpI: 36; MSL: 1.36; PML: 0.82; PMW: 0.59; PMI: 60; PDW: 0.49; PetL: 0.34; PetW: 0.44; PetH: 0.61; PpetL: 0.32; PpetW: 0.47; PpetH: 0.53; GW: 0.90. Palpal formula: Maxillary 1: Labial 2 (dissected).

General and diagnostic features as illustrated. Readily identified in the key to Australian species. Smaller than other known Australian Metapone workers (Metapone mjobergi, Metapone hoelldobleri and Metapone tillyardi), and probably those of the gyne-based species (assuming likely relative gyne/worker sizes). Lateral clypeal borders straight, anteriorly convergent. Anterior clypeal border slightly concave, anteroventral corners angular to subdentate in frontal view. Eyes minute, maximum diameter ca 0.04 mm, with minimal surface structure visible in reflected light and several very indistinct minute facets. Subpetiolar process much as in the three species just cited, especially the first two. Subpostpetiolar process distinctive among Australian species and unusual in Metapone at large—a thin semicircular transverse plate, more slender and parallel-sided in profile than those of any other known Australian species.

Type Material

Australia; Tasmania: Flinders Island: Vinegar Hill [40°12'S, 148°15'E]. Australian National Insect Collection (Type No. 32-069960).

The dissected mouthparts including the mandibles are stored in glycerine in a micro vial pinned below the point-mounted specimen.


Named for the martyred native Tasmanian Mathinna (1835–1852), the adopted, Europeanised daughter of 1837–1843 “Van Diemen’s Land” Lieutenant Governor John Franklin (of previous and later Arctic exploration fame) and his wife Lady Jane (Griffin) Franklin. Mathinna was abandoned when the Franklins returned to England from Tasmania in 1843, and died tragically, socially rejected, soon afterwards (see Flanagan, 2008).