Myrmecorhynchus

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Myrmecorhynchus
Temporal range: 23.03–0 Ma Miocene – Recent
Myrmecorhynchus emeryi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Melophorini
Genus: Myrmecorhynchus
André, 1896
Type species
Myrmecorhynchus emeryi
Diversity
3 species
1 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Myrmecorhynchus emeryi side view

Myrmecorhynchus emeryi top view

Specimen labels

Evolutionary Relationships
Formicinae

Myrmelachistini
  (2 genera)




Lasiini
  (10 genera)




Melophorini


Melophorus
  (92 species)



Stigmacros
  (48 species)






Myrmecorhynchus
  (3 species)




Lasiophanes
  (6 species)



Notostigma
  (2 species)







Notoncus
  (6 species)



Pseudonotoncus
  (2 species)





Prolasius
  (20 species)



Teratomyrmex
  (3 species)









Formicini
  (8 genera)





Gesomyrmex, Oecophylla



Plagiolepidini
  (9 genera)





Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella



Camponotini
  (8 genera)








Based on Ward et al. 2016.

These small, inconspicuous ants nest in soil or in twigs and vines on shrubs or trees. They are most often encountered while foraging on vegetation or tree trunks. Although they can be locally common they are often overlooked because of their slow movements and arboreal habits. Very little is known concerning their biology.

Identification

The mandibles usually have 10 to 13 teeth, although some large individuals have as few as 6. The frontal carinae are distinctly arched. The upper surface of mesosoma between the metanotum and propodeum is always low and flat or concave and never expanded upwards. The worker caste is variable in size (strongly polymorphic) and has distinct major and minor workers.

Smaller workers of Myrmecorhynchus are identifiable by the large number of teeth on the mandibles. However larger workers have a reduced number of teeth (down to 6 in some individuals) and are similar to some species of Notoncus. These individuals can be identified by the configuration of the frontal carinae which are curved in Myrmecorhynchus while they are straight in Notoncus, and the polymorphic worker caste with distinct majors and minors (Notoncus is weakly polymorphic and without distinct majors and minors). Additionally, some species of Notoncus have an upwards projection on the upper surface of the mesosoma at the metanotal groove. This region of the mesosoma is always flat or concave in Myrmecorhynchus.

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Keys including this Genus

 

Keys to Species in this Genus

Distribution

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Fossils

Fossils are known from: Foulden Maar diatomite, New Zealand (Aquitanian, Early Miocene).

Biology

Myrmecorhynchus is an endemic Australian genus, known from three species. They occur in forested areas ranging from mallee through rainforest across eastern and southern Australia. All three species are sympatric in Victoria and New South Wales, with M. emeryi extending westward to south-western Western Australia and northward to central Queensland, and with M. carteri occurring in Tasmania. They are small and inconspicuous ants and are most often encountered while foraging on vegetation or tree trunks. Nests are in branches, twigs and vines on shrubs or trees, or in soil. Although they can be locally common they are often overlooked because of their slow movements and arboreal habits.

Castes

Morphology

Worker Morphology

  • Antennal segment count: 12
  • Antennal club: gradual
  • Palp formula: 6,4
  • Total dental count: 6-13
  • Spur formula: 1 simple, 1 simple
  • Eyes: present
  • Scrobes: absent
  • Caste: polymorphic
  • Sting: absent
  • Notes: from literature

Nomenclature

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

  • MYRMECORHYNCHUS [Formicinae: Myrmecorhynchini]
    • Myrmecorhynchus André, 1896b: 253. Type-species: Myrmecorhynchus emeryi, by monotypy.
André 1896b. Page 253
André 1896b. Page 254a

References