Metapone tillyardi

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Metapone tillyardi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Metapone
Species: M. tillyardi
Binomial name
Metapone tillyardi
Wheeler, W.M., 1919



M. tillyardi is apparently a relatively widespread species ranging at least from southeast Queensland to the vicinity of Sunshine Bay on the south shore of Batemans Bay, NSW. Known from rainforest habitat, it appears to have polymorphic workers.


Taylor and Alpert (2016) - Worker. General and diagnostic features as illustrated and keyed here, and in Wheeler’s detailed (1919b) description and figures. Note however that the original description (Wheeler, 1919b) did not mention that some of the worker types have reduced eyes, and less massive propodeal and waist node configuration than that of the lectotype (see above). Clypeus projecting anteriorly less than in Metapone mjobergi; anterior border somewhat obscurely bicuspid, with a pair of blunt projections at approximately its outer quarters, the space between them shallowly excavated, concave and raised almost to their apices. Eyes and waist nodes as discussed above. Subpetiolar process differing from M. mjobergi as in couplet 6 of the key to Australian species. Posterior subpetiolar face as in M. mjobergi. The Sunshine Bay specimens are relatively small and gracile and have reduced petioles. They were taken from a colony which might not have been large enough ergonomically to produce large, less-gracile workers.

Gyne. General features as illustrated. Clypeus and subpetiolar process as in worker. Mesosoma in dorsal view more bulky than in gynes of M. mjobergi.

Keys including this Species


Apparently widespread from at least from southeast Queensland to the vicinity of Sunshine Bay on the south shore of Batemans Bay, NSW (between S latitudes 22 and 35).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -28.142° to -28.227°.

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


Taylor and Alpert (2016) - All Queensland labels from localities except Lords Table indicate collection in rainforest by Malaise or flight intercept trap. Note that the word “pine” on the Banyo labels is given in parentheses. It presumably does not refer to an exotic tree of genus Pinus.

Worker/gyne identity of unassociated specimens is confirmed by a Lords Table series.

Its worker caste is significantly morphologically variable, possibly evidencing incipient caste polymorphism, on the following grounds: (1) The available Dorrigo worker types include specimens with relatively large eyes and robust propodeal, petiolar and postpetiolar structure, along with others which are more gracile, with less robust propodea and petiolar nodes, and with eyes very reduced to absent. Wheeler’s original description and illustrations (Wheeler, 1919b) featured only the former, overlooking this variability in the type-series. (2) Ten workers from Sunshine Bay satisfy the M. tillyardi diagnosis but the specimens are mostly relatively small. They have even less-robust propodeal and waist structure than the gracile, optically-reduced Dorrigo syntypes. They also have small, essentially vestigial eyes similar to those of the more gracile Dorrigo types. This interpretation depends in part on a reasonable assumption that the Dorrigo and Batemans Bay series are genuinely conspecific. The alternative possibility that two species are represented in Wheeler’s type series, with one of them present also at Sunshine Bay, seems improbable.

M. tillyardi and Metapone mjobergi are similar, possibly related species. Congeneric sympatric associations. The Lamington National Park Record implies that M. tillyardi is sympatric there with Metapone leae.



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

  • tillyardi. Metapone tillyardi Wheeler, W.M. 1919h: 187, fig. 6 (w.) AUSTRALIA (New South Wales).
    • Type-material: 10 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Australia: New South Wales, Dorrigo (no collector’s name).
    • Type-depositories: ANIC, MCZC, QMBA, SAMA.
    • Taylor & Alpert, 2016: 538 (q.).
    • Status as species: Gregg, R.E. 1958: 119; Kusnezov, 1960a: 122; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 70; Taylor, 1987a: 40; Taylor, 1991b: 604; Bolton, 1995b: 258; Taylor & Alpert, 2016: 537 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Australia.

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



Taylor and Alpert (2016) - (MCZC Syntype, the 2 intact ANIC syntypes, other specimens not syntypes, Sunshine Bay series: TL ca: 6.3, 6.4, 6.7, 6.9, 5.6, 6.6; HL: 1.30, 1.32, 1.42, 1.47, 1.24, 1.45; HW: 1.01, 1.04, 1.11, 1.17, 0.99, 1.14; CI: 78, 79, 78, 79, 80, 79; CpL: 0.42, 0.40, - , 0.48, 0.40, 0.48; CpI: 32, 30, - , 33, - , - ; MSL: 1.83, 1.86, 2.05, 2.00, 1.56, 1.85; PML: 1.02, 1.08, 1.15, 1.27, 1.00, 1.00; PMW: 0.91, 0.93, 0.98, 0.96, 0.75, 0.85; PMI: 56, 58, 56, 63, 64, 54; PDW: 0.84, 0.88, 0.94, - , 0.65, 0.72; PetL: 0.56, - , 0.61, 0.53, 042, 0.49; PetW: 0.83, 0.91, 0.89, 0.78, 0.57, 0.68; PetH: -, - , - , - , 0.70, 0.84 PpetL: 0.51, - , 0.55, 0.52, 0.37, 0.42; PpetW: 0.78, 0.81; 0.86, 0.77, 0.58, 0.67; PpetH: -, -; - , - ; 0.59, 0.70; GW: 1.20, 1.21, 1.33, 1.45, 1.01, 1.1.

Two damaged, otherwise unmeasured ANIC syntypes lacking waist nodes and gasters have HW 1.01 and 1.11 mm. Some syntype measurements were not possible due to glue or anatomical obstruction. Note also the differences in petiole and postpetiole dimensions in the two ANIC syntypes. The larger specimen has a relatively small petiole and postpetiole and virtually imperceptible, vestigial eyes, while the smaller specimen has large eyes and more massive propodeal and waist node structure. Possible significance of these details is unknown.


Taylor and Alpert (2016) - The available gynes vary little in size (HW 1.11–1.19 mm, N = 17). One from Banyo with mean HW has: TL: ca 8.4, HL: 1.47, HW: 1.13, CI: 77, CpL: 0.42, CpI: 29, MSL: 2.38, PetL: 0.58, PetW: 0.64, PetH: 0.72, PpetL: 0.48, PpetW: 0.66, PpetH: 0.67, GW: 1.21.

Type Material

Taylor and Alpert (2016) - Worker: Dorrigo, New South Wales.

The types were almost certainly collected in rainforest at Dorrigo National Park (30°22'S, 152°45'E).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Taylor R. W. 1991. Nomenclature and distribution of some Australasian ants of the Myrmicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 30: 599-614.