AntWiki: The Ants --- Online

Nests of these common ants are found in open soil or under stones and logs on the ground. They are general predators, foraging on the ground surface. Although active all year, in some areas they can be more active during the winter. They are frequently seen in urban gardens and parks.

Photo Gallery

  • Notoncus workers at their nest entrance. New South Wales, Australia. Photo by Steve Shattuck.


The mandibles have 6 or 7 teeth. The frontal carinae are weakly arched or straight along their entire length (except the extreme forward ends near the antennal sockets, which are curved). The worker caste is only slightly variable in size (weakly polymorphic) and without distinct major and minor workers. The upper surface of the mesosoma between the mesonotum and propodeum is sometimes expanded upwards into a rounded or angular process, or it may be flat.

Notoncus contains two distinct sets of species. One set has a distinct rounded or angular projection extending upwards from the area between the mesonotum and propodeum. This configuration is unique within the Australian formicines (with the exception of a single species of Melophorus) and can be used to identify these species. The other set of species has the upper surface of the mesosoma flat or weakly concave and not set off from the surrounding regions of the mesosoma. These species are similar to Myrmecorhynchus in overall shape and size and can be separated from them by having the frontal carinae straight, and by being only weakly polymorphic and without distinct major and minor workers. They also have only 6 or 7 teeth on the mandibles while all but the largest Myrmecorhynchus workers have between 10 and 13 teeth.

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in 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 6 1 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: ? (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: predator (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

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• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: gradual • Palp formula: 6,4 • Total dental count: 6-7 • Spur formula: 1 simple, 1 simple • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Scrobes: absent • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent; dentiform • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: absent • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present


All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Notoncus ectatommoides 22 44 Australia Imai et al., 1977



Gesomyrmex  (7 species, 12 fossil species)


Oecophylla  (15 species, 16 fossil species)


Gigantiops  (1 species, 0 fossil species)


Santschiella  (1 species, 0 fossil species)


Myrmoteras  (41 species, 0 fossil species)


See Phylogeny of Formicinae for details.


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

  • NOTONCUS [Formicinae: Myrmecorhynchini]
    • Notoncus Emery, 1895g: 352. Type-species: Camponotus ectatommoides, by original designation.
    • Notoncus senior synonym of Diodontolepis: Brown, 1955d: 477.
  • DIODONTOLEPIS [junior synonym of Notoncus]
    • Diodontolepis Wheeler, W.M. 1920: 53. Type-species: Melophorus spinisquamis, by original designation.
    • Diodontolepis junior synonym of Melophorus: Emery, 1925b: 11.
    • Diodontolepis revived status as genus: Wheeler, W.M. 1935c: 71.
    • Diodontolepis junior synonym of Notoncus: Brown, 1955d: 477.


  • Agosti, D. 1991. Revision of the oriental ant genus Cladomyrma, with an outline of the higher classification of the Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 16: 293-310. (page 295, Notoncus in Formicinae, Formica genus group)
  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 384, Notoncus in Formicinae, Plagiolepidini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 110, Notoncus in Formicinae, Myrmecorhynchini)
  • Braby, M. F. (1990). The life history and biology of Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida Crosby (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) . Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, 29: 41–50.
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1955d. A revision of the Australian ant genus Notoncus Emery, with notes on the other genera of Melophorini. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 113: 471-494 (page 477, Notoncus in Formicinae, Melophorini; Notoncus senior synonym of Diodontolepis)
  • Cantone S. 2018. Winged Ants, The queen. Dichotomous key to genera of winged female ants in the World. The Wings of Ants: morphological and systematic relationships (self-published).
  • Clark, J. (1930). Some new Australian Formicidae. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, (n.s.)42: 116–128.
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1943g. A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(10): 617-688 (page 675, Notoncus in Formicinae, Melophorini)
  • Emery, C. 1895h. Descriptions de quelques fourmis nouvelles d'Australie. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 39: 345-358 (page 353, Notoncus as genus)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 772, Notoncus in Camponotinae, Plagiolepidini)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 14, Notoncus in Formicinae, Melophorini)
  • Fiedler, K. (2001). Ants that associate with Lycaeninae butterfly larvae: diversity, ecology and biogeography. Diversity and Distributions, 7: 45–60.
  • Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 88, Notoncus in Camponotinae, Melophorini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 248, Notoncus in Camponotinae, Melophorini)
  • Imai, H. T., Crozier, R. H., Taylor, R. W. (1977). Karyotype evolution in Australian ants. Chromosoma (Berlin), 59: 341–393.
  • Taylor, R. W. (1992). Nomenclature and distribution of some Australian and New Guinean ants of the subfamily Formicinae. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, 31: 57–69.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 143, Notoncus in Camponotinae, Plagiolepidini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 694, Notoncus in Formicinae, Melophorini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1935c. Myrmecological notes. Psyche (Camb.) 42: 68-72 (page 71, Notoncus in Formicinae, Melophorini)
  • Womersley, H. (1937). Studies in Australian Thysanura. No. 2. Lepismatidae. Trans. R. Soc. S.Austr., 61: 96–101.