Myrmecia desertorum

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Myrmecia desertorum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Tribe: Myrmeciini
Genus: Myrmecia
Species: M. desertorum
Binomial name
Myrmecia desertorum
Wheeler, W.M., 1915

Myrmecia desertorum casent0912436 p 1 high.jpg

Myrmecia desertorum casent0912436 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Heterick (2009) - These ants are visual predators. Typical encounters with even a solitary forager shows that they are a formidable and aggressive species. Nest workers are also always ready to rush out of their mound to attack an intruder. Myrmecia desertorum is possibly the most common bulldog ant in the SWBP. Their nest mounds may be huge, up to 2 m in diameter (Ogata and Taylor 1991).

Photo Gallery

  • Worker from Uluru, Northern Territory. Photo by Steve Shattuck.
  • Queen from South Australia. Photo by Mark Newton.
  • Queen from South Australia. Photo by Mark Newton.
  • Queen from South Australia. Photo by Mark Newton.
  • Myrmecia desertorum from Wandoo National Park, Flynn, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 4 June 2011.


Myrmecia desertorum, Myrmecia fuscipes, Myrmecia gratiosa, Myrmecia nigriceps and Myrmecia vindex are all large to very large, reddish ants with red, brown or black heads and a black gaster.

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


Workers forage during the day, making them an obvious component of the Australian Arid Zone. As with all species of Myrmecia, these are highly visual and aggressive ants, detecting intruders and threats from some distance away, turning towards them and either attaching or retreating, depending primarily on the proximity to the nest (the closer the nest the more aggressive these ants are).

Association with Other Organisms

  • This species is a host for the cricket Myrmecophilus testaceus (a myrmecophile) in Australia.



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

  • desertorum. Myrmecia vindex var. desertorum Wheeler, W.M. 1915g: 805 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Clark, 1925b: 144 (q.m.). Raised to species: Clark, 1930c: 22. Senior synonym of lutea, princeps: Brown, 1953j: 25. See also: Clark, 1951: 59.
  • lutea. Myrmecia lutea Crawley, 1922b: 429 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of desertorum: Brown, 1953j: 25.
  • princeps. Myrmecia princeps Clark, 1951: 46, fig. 24 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of desertorum: Brown, 1953j: 25.

Type Material



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1953. Revisionary notes on the ant genus Myrmecia of Australia. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 111: 1-35.
  • Clark J. 1925. The ants of Victoria. Part II. Victorian Naturalist (Melbourne) 42: 135-144.
  • Gunawardene N.R. and J.D. Majer. 2004. Ants of the southern Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia: an investigation into patterns of association. Records of the Western Australian Museum 22: 219-239.
  • Heterick B. E. 2009. A guide to the ants of south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 76: 1-206. 
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.