This extremely rare species has been collected only twice, many years ago when the type material was collected and more recently on the Isle of Pines (a small island to the south-east of the main island of New Caledonia). It forages on the ground and in vegetation, including small trees, returning to its nest at dusk. It has been observed foraging on caterpillars.
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Dr. Emery, dealing with the ants in the Zoology of New Caledonia (1914), in a footnote expressed a doubt as to this species having been captured there. However, its recent recollection on the Isle of Pines confirms that it is indeed a native of New Caledonia. This is further supported by the fact that this species has no near allies in Australia. The apparent rareness of M. apicalis is not unusual within Myrmecia as only single examples of several species have been found, and then at long intervals. This particularly applies to species living in heavily-timbered country. It is interesting to note that this is not the only typically Australian genus represented in New Caledonia. Notable amont the other genera are Amblyopone with one species and Rhytidoponera (Chalcoponera) with four species.
Known from workers only.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- apicalis. Myrmecia apicalis Emery, 1883: 150 (w.) NEW CALEDONIA. See also: Clark, 1951: 111.
Type in K. Museum, Paris
Redescribed from a cotype received many years ago from the late Dr. Emery.
Length: 13 mm
Black, mandibles and labrum yellow, antennae and legs ferruginous, posterior margin of first and second, and whole of two apical segments testaceous.
Head very finely striate longitudinally, striae obsolete behind. Pronotum and mesonotum smooth and shining with faint traces of fine longitudinal striae, stronger and more clearly defined on sides of pronotum; epinotum and declivity striate-rugose transversely. Node, postpetiole, and gaster smooth, microscopically punctate.
Hair white, very sparse, short and erect, longer on mandibles and apical segments of gaster, very short and suberect on antennae and legs. Pubescence white, very fine and adpressed, forming a distinct covering on postpetiole and first segments of gaster, yellowish, more abundant, and longer on apical segments of gaster.
Head as long as broad, sides and occipital border convex. Mandibles as long as head, outer border concave, inner border with fourteen teeth, third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth large and broad, twelfth forming a strong angle, two small teeth between angle and base. Scapes exceed occiptial border by one-fourth their length, first and third segments of funiculus equal length, one-fourth shorter than second. Thorax two and one-half times longer than broad; pronotum almost twice as broad as long, strongly convex in all directions, mesonotum circular, as long as broad, strongly convex above, epinotum one-fourth longer than broad. Node as long as broad, broadest behind; in profile slightly higher than long, dome-shaped, stalk short, ventral spine short and slender. Postpetiole one-third broader than long, broadest behind middle, constriction deep and wide. First segment of gaster one-sixth broader than long.
- Clark, J. 1951. The Formicidae of Australia. Vol. 1. Subfamily Myrmeciinae. Melbourne: CSIRO, 230 pp. (page 111, see also)
- Emery, C. 1883. Alcune formiche della Nuova Caledonia. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 15: 145-151 (page 150, worker described)