Myrmecia brevinoda

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Myrmecia brevinoda
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Tribe: Myrmeciini
Genus: Myrmecia
Species: M. brevinoda
Binomial name
Myrmecia brevinoda
Forel, 1910

Myrmecia brevinoda casent0907079 p 1 high.jpg

Myrmecia brevinoda casent0907079 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

At a Glance • Ergatoid queen  



Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality), New Zealand.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Myrmecia brevinoda (large ant) & Carebara atoma (small ant) SEM.jpg

Myrmecia brevinoda, one of the largest ants, together with one of the smallest, Carebara atoma, photographed using an electron microscope (both from northern Queensland, Australia). One of the reasons ants are so successful is because of their great morphological diversity. This diversity also extends to their life history and ecology.

Nesting Habits

A large nest of Myrmecia brevinoda (with a mound 70cm tall) in north Queensland contained 2576 workers and 1 queen (Higashi & Peeters 1990). Other small ants, termites and various insect larvae were also found in uninhabited parts of the mound. Although workers exhibit considerable size variation (length: 13-36 mm), relative growth (head length versus head width) among workers is not allometric. Thus workers are monomorphic although they fall into 2 obvious size classes which overlap broadly. Small workers were abundant in the lower parts of the nest while larger workers prevailed in the upper parts. Field observations confirmed the occurrence of size polyethism, i.e. larger workers were engaged in hunting, defence and extranidal building, while smaller workers excavated soil from inside the nest.

Another nest identified as M. brevinoda from the vicinity of Armidale (northern NSW) lacked any conspicuous mound. Over 1200 workers were collected together with cocoons enclosing winged queens (C. Peeters unpubl.).

See Nests.

Mound (70 cm-high) built with Casuarina pine needles. From Paluma, north Queensland. Photo by Christian Peeters.


Clark (1951) described both winged and ergatoid queens in this species, together with size-polymorphic workers.

Clark'51 M.brevinoda.jpg


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • brevinoda. Myrmecia forficata var. brevinoda Forel, 1910b: 2 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971d: 247 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 345 (k.). Raised to species: Clark, 1951: 96. Senior synonym of gigas (and its junior synonym eudoxia): Brown, 1953j: 22; of decipians, longinodis: Ogata & Taylor, 1991: 1653. See also: Brown, 1958h: 10.
  • gigas. Myrmecia pyriformis r. gigas Forel, 1913b: 310 (q.) AUSTRALIA. Forel, 1915: 7 (w.); Clark, 1951: 107 (m.). Raised to species and senior synonym of eudoxia: Clark, 1951: 104. Junior synonym of brevinoda: Brown, 1953j: 22.
  • eudoxia. Myrmecia forficata var. eudoxia Forel, 1915b: 8 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Raised to species: Wheeler, W.M. 1933i: 35. Junior synonym of gigas: Clark, 1951: 104.
  • decipians. Myrmecia decipians Clark, 1951: 86, fig. 66 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of brevinoda: Ogata & Taylor, 1991: 1653.
  • longinodis. Myrmecia longinodis Clark, 1951: 87, fig. 67 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of brevinoda: Ogata & Taylor, 1991: 1653.

Type Material



  • 2n = 84 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).


  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1953j. Revisionary notes on the ant genus Myrmecia of Australia. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 111: 1-35 (page 22, senior synonym of gigas (and its junior synonym eudoxia))
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958h. A review of the ants of New Zealand. Acta Hymenopterol. 1: 1-50 (page 10, see also)
  • Clark, J. 1951. The Formicidae of Australia. 1. Subfamily Myrmeciinae: 230 pp. CSIRO, Melbourne. [(31.xii).1951.] PDF
  • Forel, A. 1910b. Formicides australiens reçus de MM. Froggatt et Rowland Turner. Rev. Suisse Zool. 18: 1-94 (page 2, worker, queen described)
  • Higashi, S. & Peeters, C. 1990. Worker polymorphism and nest structure in Myrmecia brevinoda Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. ent. Soc. 29: 327-331.
  • Imai, H. T.; Crozier, R. H.; Taylor, R. W. 1977. Karyotype evolution in Australian ants. Chromosoma (Berl.) 59: 341-393 (page 345, karyotype described)
  • Ogata, K.; Taylor, R. W. 1991. Ants of the genus Myrmecia Fabricius: a preliminary review and key to the named species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmeciinae). J. Nat. Hist. 2 25: 1623-1673 (page 1653, senior synonym of decipians and longinodis)
  • Qian, Z.-Q.; Ceccarelli, F. S.; Carew, M. E.; Schlüns, H.; Schlick-Steiner, B. C.; Steiner, F. M. 2011. Characterization of polymorphic microsatellites in the giant bulldog ant, Myrmecia brevinoda and the jumper ant, M. pilosula. Journal of Insect Science (available online: 11:Article 71.
  • Qian, Zeng-qiang, Schlüns, Helge, Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C., Steiner, Florian M., Robson, Simon K.A., Schlüns, Ellen A., and Crozier, Ross H. (2011) Intraspecific support for the polygyny-vs.-polyandry hypothesis in the bulldog ant Myrmecia brevinoda. Molecular Ecology, 20 (17), 3681-3691.
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1971d. Ant larvae of the subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 47: 245-256 (page 247, larva described)