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The only species of the genus, Nothomyrmecia macrops was a myrmecological enigma for many decades after its description in 1934. The types were the only samples collected until the ant was rediscovered in the 1977. Besides some vague locality data and Clark's statement about a 2,500 km stretch of southern Australia: "beyond those collected by Miss Baesjou very few species of ants have been seen from the great stretch of country lying between Albany, Western Australia, and Port Lincoln, South Australia" it had not even been clear where the types were found. Taylor (1978) was finally able to report - Nothomyrmecia was rediscovered on 22 October 1977 southeast of Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia by a CSIRO field party that had camped overnight en route from Canberra to Western Australia. Workers and dealate queens were collected while foraging nocturnally on the ground and tree trunks in disturbed roadside mallee woodland, but colonies were not located. The collection site is about 1000 kilometers east of the Balladonia-Thomas River Track, which the party later surveyed without finding the ant, despite knowledge of its likely habitat preferences. Another well-informed party has since worked the area south of Balladonia, without success. In a visit in mid-November to Eyre Peninsula Philip S. Ward and I began systematic field studies and secured several colonies, complete with queens, larvae, and pupae. These colonies have since yielded alate females and males.

At a Glance • Monotypic  


Taylor's (1978) description of the general morphology of Nothomyrmecia macrops provides a helpful means of identifying the lone species of this genus.

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Keys including this Genus



Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2840 1735 3042 932 835 4378 1740 2862


Ajay IMG 3242.jpg Ajay IMG 3666.jpg Nothomyrmecia macrops Queen.jpeg

Taylor (1978) - The resistance to collection for 46 years by Nothomyrmecia is explained by its apparently patchy, locally limited distribution, its nonspecific, insignificant nest entrances, its strict nocturnality of foraging, the likely restriction or cessation of aboveground activity in winter (correlating negatively with that of most insect collectors in Australian areas of severe summer climate), and the unlikely collection at light traps of the brachypterous queens (males in this context would probably not have been recognized). Doubts have been expressed about the true provenance of the original specimens, which I believe were very likely collected in mallee woodland south of Balladonia. The previously almost exclusive emphasis by would-be collectors in this area on heath rather than mallee sites could have been misdirected.

Life History Traits

  • Queen type: brachypterous (Peeters, 1997)
  • Mean colony size: 50-70 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary (Greer et al., 2021)


Queens are 'brachypterous', i.e. short-winged and incapable of flight. Caste divergence in body size is very slight.


Worker Morphology

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• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: absent • Palp formula: 6,4 • Total dental count: 27-32 • Spur formula: 2 (1 simple, 1 pectinate), 2 (1 simple, 1 pectinate) • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Scrobes: absent • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present


All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Nothomyrmecia macrops 94 Australia Imai et al., 1990



Archimyrmex  (4 species)


Myrmecia  (93 species, 0 fossil species)


Prionomyrmex  (4 species)

Avitomyrmex  (3 species)

Macabeemyrma  (1 species)

Nothomyrmecia  (1 species, 0 fossil species)

Ypresiomyrma  (4 species)

See Phylogeny of Myrmeciinae for details.


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

  • NOTHOMYRMECIA [Myrmeciinae: Prionomyrmecini]
    • Nothomyrmecia Clark, 1934a: 17. Type-species: Nothomyrmecia macrops, by original designation.
    • Nothomyrmecia junior synonym of †Prionomyrmex: Baroni Urbani, 2000: 479.
    • Nothomyrmecia revived from synonymy: Bolton, 2003: 30, 133; Ward & Brady, 2003: 375.

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

Worker - Slender. Head broader behind than in front. Mandibles elongate, not as long as head, broad and rather flattened; inner borders straight to basal fourth then abruptly reduced to base, forming a short, concave, edentate, basal border, inner border furnished with ten or twelve small sharp teeth equally spaced from the very sharp apex to basal angle, between these teeth are minute denticles. Maxillary palpi with six segments. Labial palpi with four segments. Clypeus large, convex, produced and convex in front. Labrum produced beyond clypeus, sharply pointed in front. Frontal area large. Frontal carinae erect, narrow and almost parallel, not covering the antennal insertions: Antennae long and slender, twelve segments; scapes longer than head, slightly thickened toward apex; funiculus filiform, second segment longest. Eyes large and convex, placed at middle of sides of head. No ocelli. Thorax not margined. Pro-mesonotal suture sharply impressed. Meso-epinotal suture deep and wide. Petiole elongate, with a large node behind; ventral surface with a strong sharp tooth-like projection in front. Post petiole united with gaster without traces of a constriction, bell-shaped in front; the ventral surface with a long sharp tooth-like projection in front. Gaster ovate, longer than broad. Sting very long and stout. Legs rather long and robust. Anterior tibiae with one long broad pectinate spur and two short stout bristles. Middle tibiae with two long sharp bristle-like spurs. Posterior tibiae with one long broad pectinate spur and one long thin bristlelike spur. Fourth segment of all tarsi bilobed. Claws stout, bidentate.