Monomorium subapterum

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Monomorium subapterum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Monomorium
Species: M. subapterum
Binomial name
Monomorium subapterum
Wheeler, W.M., 1917

Specimens of this species have been observed feeding at flowers of Melelauca sp. in the northwest of Australia. M. subapterum is the most commonly found species in the M. rothsteini complex in the arid centre of the country.

At a Glance • Brachypterous Queen  


Sparks et al. (2015) - A member of the M. rothsteini species group. A small, glossy dark brown species with large eyes and a slightly concave to sinuous clypeus. The mesonotum is without sculpture except in the posterior region, the propodeal dorsolateral angles clearly form an obtuse angle or are rounded and the petiole node is narrow.

This species cannot be separated from Monomorium stagnum using morphology alone. Evidence for its separation from M. subapterum comes from a species delimitation study undertaken by (Sparks et al. 2014).

Keys including this Species


This species has the broadest distribution of all the species dealt with here and can be found throughout most of the arid interior of Australia.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -16.1167° to -29.5063°.

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.



COI sequences. Genbank accession numbers for this species are KC572878, KC572885–KC572888, KC572895–KC572897, KC572901, KC572907, KC572909, KC572910, KC572922, KC572940, KC572946, KC572954, KC572960–KC572965, KC572967–KC572969, KC572971–KC572976, KC572984, KC572987–KC572991 and KC572993–KC572996.


M.subapterum BQ.jpg


Sparks et al. 2015 Fig 9 m-o Monomorium subapterum.jpg


Sparks et al. 2015 Fig 10 a-c Monomorium subapterum.jpg


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

  • subapterum. Monomorium subapterum Wheeler, W.M. 1917b: 112 (in text), fig. 2 (w.q.m.) AUSTRALIA (Western Australia).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designtion of Sparks, et al. 2014: 520), 2 paralectotype workers, 2 paralectotype queens, 3 paralectotype males.
    • Type-locality: lectotype Australia: Western Australia (“North West Australia”), Harding River (W.D. Dodd); paralectotypes with same data.
    • [Note: original description mentions “numerous” workers, 10 queens, 10 males from Harding River, together with “several” workers, 1 queen from Derby, “in the same region”.]
    • Type-depositories: MCZC (lectotype); MCZC, SAMA (paralectotypes).
    • Combination in M. (Notomyrmex): Emery, 1922e: 170;
    • combination in Chelaner: Ettershank, 1966: 97;
    • combination in Monomorium: Taylor, 1987b: 4.
    • Junior synonym of rothsteini: Heterick, 2001: 408.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1922e: 170; Ettershank, 1966: 97; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 59; Taylor, 1987a: 21; Bolton, 1995b: 267; Sparks, et al. 2014: 520 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Australia.

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



Sparks et al. (2015) - (n=9). HW 0.68–0.82, HL 0.74–0.86, EL 0.14–0.2, PMH 0.27–0.35, PH 0.21–0.31, PNH 0.17–0.18, LHW 0.43–0.49, EW 0.10–0.12, PML 0.43–0.53, ML 0.64–0.88, PL 0.27–0.39, PNWdv 0.16–0.20.

Small species with a small, rectangular head; posterior cephalic margin shallowly depressed medially. Anterodorsal margin of the clypeus sinuous to almost straight, frontolateral carinae forming smooth ridges; anteroventral margin with or without a small median projection. Frons strigate, restricted to antennal lobes and area in between or with a few strigae only present on antennal lobes; coarse lateral cephalic strigae reach anterior eye margin or if not reaching then a few very fine strigae may reach eye margin. Eyes large, EW > 0.23 x LHW, 12–13 ommatidia in longest vertical axis, 11 in longest horizontal axis.

Mesonotum smooth and shining, metanotal groove sculpture extending just into lateral portion of posterior region in some specimens, in others with posterior mesonotum rugulose strigulate. Mesopleuron and lateral surface of propodeum alveolate, strigae restricted to metapleural gland bulla. Propodeum in lateral view with dorsolateral angles clearly forming an obtuse angle; dorsally with anterior transverse carinae weakly present, transverse and longitudinal strigae absent. Petiole node narrow, less than 2 x eye width when viewed from above; shape in posterior view tapering to a narrow point, in lateral view anterior and posterior faces converging to a narrowly rounded point. Petiole node smooth and shining, some specimens with fine reticulate sculpture along posterior basal margin, postpetiole without sculpture.T1 completely smooth and without sculpture.

Head and mesosoma brown to very dark brown, dorsally infuscated in lighter specimens; mandibles light brown, legs brown to dark brown, trochanters and apical margins of femur and tibia distinctly lighter in colour than remainder of legs, antennal scapes and metasoma dark brown to very dark brown, lighter in colour than flagellum, cuticle with a high gloss.


Sparks et al. (2015) - (n=2). HW 1.5–1.52, HL 1.35, EW 0.25–0.27, EL 0.35, ML 2.40–2.42, PeH 0.62–0.66, PNWdv 0.55–0.57, PPH 0.57.

Head triangular, broader behind the eyes that in front, vertex straight sculpture strigulate to smooth over frontal surface, laterally strigulate. Frontal clypeal margin very mildly concave. Mandibles strigate with a large apical and two smaller preapical teeth. When angled towards eye antennal scapes not surpassing dorsal eye margin.

Mesoscutum in profile evenly rounded from pronotum to scutellum, scutellum rounded and raise only slightly above surface of mesoscutum, surface smooth and shining except for pitted setal insertion points and lateral margins which are rugulose strigate. Pronotum finely reticulate, mesopleuron above central groove finely reticulate to smooth, strigate along posterior margin; below central groove medially reticulate, strigate on anterior and posterior third. Propodeum strigate with many raised ridges over entire surface, finely reticulate in between ridges on posterior surface. Petiole node triangular in profile, trapezoidal in posterior view with a rounded dorsal margin, petiole and postpetiole alveolate to reticulate, petiole laterally with transverse ridges on ventral half, postpetiole with irregular ridges on lateral and posterior surfaces. Metasomal tergites and sternites finely reticulate.

Colour entirely dark reddish-brown, head and mesosoma slightly darker than antennal scapes, anterior clypeal margin and metasoma. Head and mesosoma with many long and short, erect, dull setae except for a broad glabrous area of that spans entire length of mesoscutum.


Sparks et al. (2015) - (n=3). HW 1.39–1.40, HL 1.0, EW 0.33, EL 0.45–0.46, ML 2.34–2.40, PeH 0.57–0.6, PNWdv 0.55–0.59, PPH 0.52–0.56.

Head triangular with three ocelli. Eyes large, bulbous, oval in shape and positioned at an angle in lateral view such than longest axis point towards nearest lateral ocellus. Clypeus raised and rounded centrally, anterior margin straight. Mandibles with large apical tooth and two smaller teeth. When angled towards the eye antennal scapes, not surpassing dorsal eye margin. Sculpture coarsely rugose over entire surface, a few raised, transverse strigae present on clypeus and in between antennal insertion points.

Mesoscutum in profile evenly convex from anterior to posterior margin, sculpture coarsely aerolate-rugose tending towards rugulose-strigate anteriorly except for a narrow triangle that runs centrally from anterior margin to approximately one third of length is finely reticulate. Parapsidal lines present. Pronotum reticulate, rugose along dorsal margin. Scutellum large and bulbous with a central depression, sculpture aereolate-rugose. Mesopleuron aereolate, rugose along anterior margin to strigate along posterior margin. Propodeum aereolate laterally to reticulate on dorsal and posterior surfaces, a few raised ridges on ventral third of lateral surfaces. Petiole and postpetiole with a flattened dorsal surface in lateral view, in dorsal view with a small median depression giving a slightly bilobed appearance, sculpture aereolate to reticulate, rugulose strigate on posterior surface of petiole, and posterolateral corners of postpetiole, petiole only slightly taller than postpetiole.

Metasomal tergites and sternites finely reticulate over entire surface.

Head and mesosoma dark brown to black, mandibles, scape and femora and metasoma dark brown, antennal flagellum and remainder of legs and posterior margin of tergites light brown. Head mesosoma and ventral surface of legs and metasomal with large numbers of long, erect light brown setae except for central triangle on mesoscutum which is glabrous.

Type Material

  • Lectotype (designated by Sparks, Andersen & Austin, 2015: 520), worker, Harding River, Western Australia, Australia, Dodd, MCZ—‘Cotype 23234’, Museum of Comparative Zoology.
  • Paralectotype (designated by Sparks, Andersen & Austin, 2015: 520), 2 workers, Harding River, Western Australia, Australia, Dodd, MCZ—‘Cotype 23234’, Museum of Comparative Zoology.
  • Paralectotype (designated by Sparks, Andersen & Austin, 2015: 520), 2 queens, 3 males, Harding River, Western Australia, Australia, Dodd, South Australian Museum.


  • Sparks, K. 2015. Australian Monomorium: Systematics and species delimitation with a focus of the M. rothsteini complex. Ph.D. thesis, University of Adelaide.
  • Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 170, Combination in M. (Notomyrmex))
  • Ettershank, G. 1966. A generic revision of the world Myrmicinae related to Solenopsis and Pheidologeton (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Aust. J. Zool. 14: 73-171 (page 97, Combination in Chelaner)
  • Heterick, B. E. 2001. Revision of the Australian ants of the genus Monomorium (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebr. Taxon. 15: 353-459 (page 408, Junior synonym of rothsteini)
  • Sparks, K.S., Andersen, A.N. and Austin, A.D. 2015. Systematics of the Monomorium rothsteini Forel species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a problematic ant group in Australia. Zootaxa. 3893:489–529. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3893.4.2
  • Taylor, R. W. 1987b. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). First supplement, 10 July, 1987. CSIRO Div. Entomol. Rep. 41(Suppl. .1: 1-5 (page 4, Combination in Monomorium)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1917b. The phylogenetic development of subapterous and apterous castes in the Formicidae. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 3: 109-117 (page 112, fig. 2 worker, queen, male described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Sparks K. S., A. N. Andersen, and A. D. Austin. 2014. Systematics of the Monomorium rothsteini Forel species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a problematic ant group in Australia. Zootaxa 3893(4): 489-529.