Difference between revisions of "Myrmeciinae"

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{{SubfamilyStatistics|{{Baltic amber}}, {{Bol’shaya Svetlovodnaya}}, {{Green River Formation}}, {{Horsefly River, British Columbia}}, {{McAbee}}, {{Messel}}, {{Mo-Clay}}, {{Pilcaniyeu, Argentina}}, {{Rott, Germany}}, {{Ventana Formation}}}}
{{SubfamilyStatistics|{{Baltic amber}}, {{Bol’shaya Svetlovodnaya}}, {{Green River Formation}}, {{Horsefly River, British Columbia}}, {{McAbee}}, {{Messel}}, {{Mo-Clay}}, {{Rott, Germany}}, {{Ventana Formation}}}}

Revision as of 08:19, 29 May 2020

Myrmecia gulosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Emery, 1877
2 genera
94 species
8 fossil genera
21 fossil species
Evolutionary Placement



Amblyoponinae - see relationships



Ponerinae - see relationships



Dorylinae - see relationships


Dolichoderinae - see relationships

Myrmeciinae - see relationships within Myrmecia

Pseudomyrmecinae - see relationships

Formicinae - see relationships

Myrmicinae - see relationships



See Phylogeny of Formicidae for details.

These large, conspicuous ants are only found in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia they are most abundant and diverse in the southern regions and rare in the tropics.

The subfamily contains two genera (with three additional genera known only from fossils): Myrmecia with its 89 described species and subspecies are limited to Australia and New Caledonia while Nothomyrmecia with a single species is restricted to mallee of southern Australia. Species of Myrmecia are often abundant and can be found in a range of habitats including parks and gardens while Nothomyrmecia are rarely encountered although it appears that they are more common and widespread than the known material would suggest. This is largely because of their inconspicuous nests and cryptic foraging behaviour.


This subfamily contains two highly distinctive genera, Myrmecia and Nothomyrmecia. Myrmecia have long, straight mandibles, large eyes and often bright colours. Nothomyrmecia can be recognised by their pale yellow colour, large eyes, elongate mandibles, lack of a postpetiole and the presence of a sting. These genera are unlikely to be confused with any other Australian ant.

Heterick (2009) - Members of this subfamily are now placed in two tribes. The tribe Myrmeciini contains the well-known bulldog ants. These ants are easily recognised by their combination of slightly curved, elongate mandibles with at least vestigial teeth on the inner margin, two distinct waist segments, and large eyes placed very near the mandibular insertions.

The monotypic tribe Prionomyrmecini contains one extant genus and species Nothomyrmecia macrops, though the tribe is more diverse in the fossil record. Nothomyrmecia macrops is superficially similar to bulldog ants. However, there is only one waist segment, the eyes are well separated from the mandibular insertions and the mandibles themselves have more than 15 intermeshing teeth.

Males: Boudinot (2015) - Uniquely identified by the combination of petiolation of abdominal segment III (Myrmeciini), retention of the jugal lobe and of two ventroapical spurs on each meso- and metatibia, and complete fusion of the petiolar tergum and sternum anteriorly (Prionomyrmecini). The third abdominal segment of the male of Nothomyrmecia (Prionomyrmecini) is incompletely petiolated, although it is still recognizable by the other states indicated above.

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of genera within this subfamily

Keys including this Subfamily

Keys to Genus in this Subfamily


Distribution and Species Richness based on AntMaps


Extant Taxa

Tribes Valid Genera % World Genera Invalid Genera Valid Species/Subsp. % World Species Invalid Species/Subsp.
2 2 0.4% 5 94 0.63% 64

Fossil Taxa

Fossil Genera % World Fossil Genera Valid Fossil Species/Subsp. % World Fossil Species/Subsp.
8 4.9% 21 2.44%

Fossils known from: Baltic amber (Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene), Bol’shaya Svetlovodnaya, Sikhote-Alin, Russia (Priabonian, Late Eocene), Green River Formation, Colorado, United States (Lutetian, Middle Eocene), Horsefly River, British Columbia, Canada (Ypresian, Early Eocene), McAbee, British Columbia, Canada (Ypresian, Early Eocene), Messel, Germany (Lutetian, Middle Eocene), Ølst and Fur Formations, Stolleklint and Manhøj, Isle of Fur, Denmark (earliest Ypresian, Eocene), Rott, Westphalia, Germany (Late Oligocene), Ventana Formation, Confluencia, Neuquen region, Argentina (Early Lutetian, Middle Eocene).

List of Tribes and Genera



Extant Genera


Fossil Genera



Boudinot (2015) - Extant Myrmeciinae are restricted to Australia and New Caledonia, and are comprised of two monogeneric tribes, Myrmeciini (Myrmecia) and Prionomyrmecini (Nothomyrmecia). Ward & Brady (2007) provided keys to the extant and extinct genera of Myrmeciinae, including males, although the two extant genera may also be separated by the worldwide key to subfamilies for males.


Karyotype Data

Explore Karyotype Data: All, Drilldown
Click here to show/hide karyotype count data.

Known Haploid Counts: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 27, 28, 30, 32, 35, 41.

Haploid Count Details: 1 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 1 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 1 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 10 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 10 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 10 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 11 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 11 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 13 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 15 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 15 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 16 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 17 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 2 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 2 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 2 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 2 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 27 (Taxon: Myrmecia mandibularis), 28 (Taxon: Myrmecia mandibularis), 30 (Taxon: Myrmecia fulvipes), 32 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 35 (Taxon: Myrmecia simillima), 41 (Taxon: Myrmecia pyriformis), 5 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 6 (Taxon: Myrmecia), 9 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula).

Known Diploid Counts: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 32, 34, 38, 44, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 64, 66, 68, 70, 74, 76, 81, 84, 94.

Diploid Count Details: 10 (Taxon: Myrmecia banksi), 10 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 12 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 12 (Taxon: Myrmecia), 15 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 16 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 17 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 18 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 18 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 19 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 19 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 2 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 2 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 20 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 20 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 21 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 22 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 22 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 23 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 23 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 23 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 23 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 23 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 24 (Taxon: Myrmecia haskinsorum), 24 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 24 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 24 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 25 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 26 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 26 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 27 (Taxon: Myrmecia michaelseni), 27 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 27 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 27 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 3 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 3 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 30 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 31 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 32 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 32 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 32 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 34 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 38 (Taxon: Myrmecia gulosa), 4 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 4 (Taxon: Myrmecia croslandi), 4 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 44 (Taxon: Myrmecia pavida), 47 (Taxon: Myrmecia chasei), 48 (Taxon: Myrmecia fulvipes), 50 (Taxon: Myrmecia fulvipes), 50 (Taxon: Myrmecia forficata), 51 (Taxon: Myrmecia forficata), 52 (Taxon: Myrmecia forficata), 52 (Taxon: Myrmecia forficata), 53 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 54 (Taxon: Myrmecia forficata), 55 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 56 (Taxon: Myrmecia mandibularis), 56 (Taxon: Myrmecia mandibularis), 57 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 59 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 6 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 6 (Taxon: Myrmecia imaii), 60 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 60 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 60 (Taxon: Myrmecia fulvipes), 64 (Taxon: Myrmecia piliventris), 64 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 64 (Taxon: Myrmecia occidentalis), 66 (Taxon: Myrmecia arnoldi), 66 (Taxon: Myrmecia cephalotes), 68 (Taxon: Myrmecia), 70 (Taxon: Myrmecia simillima), 70 (Taxon: Myrmecia tepperi), 74 (Taxon: Myrmecia vindex), 76 (Taxon: Myrmecia vindex), 8 (Taxon: Myrmecia imaii), 81 (Taxon: Myrmecia pyriformis), 84 (Taxon: Myrmecia brevinoda), 9 (Taxon: Myrmecia banksi), 9 (Taxon: Myrmecia pilosula), 94 (Taxon: Nothomyrmecia macrops).


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

  • MYRMECIINAE [subfamily of Formicidae]
    • Myrmeciidae Emery, 1877a: 71. Type-genus: Myrmecia Fabricius, 1804: 423.

Taxonomic History

  • Myrmeciinae as group of Myrmicidae: Emery, 1877a: 71 [Myrmeciidae].
  • Myrmeciinae as tribe of Ponerinae: Forel, 1893a: 162 [Myrmecii].
  • Myrmeciinae as subfamily of Poneridae: Ashmead, 1905b: 382.
  • Myrmeciinae as subfamily of Formicidae: Clark, 1951: 17; Brown, 1954e: 22; subsequent authors.
  • Myrmeciinae as myrmeciomorph subfamily of Formicidae: Bolton, 2003: 29, 132.
  • Myrmeciinae as formicoid subfamily of Formicidae: Brady, et al. 2006: 18173; Moreau, et al. 2006: 102.
  • Myrmeciinae as formicoid myrmeciomorph subfamily of Formicidae: Ward, 2007a: 556.

Taxonomic References

Smith, F. 1858b: 143 (diagnosis); Mayr, 1862: 723 (all species key); Mayr, 1865: 18 (diagnosis); Forel, 1893a: 162 (diagnosis); Emery, 1895j: 766 (diagnosis); Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 134 (diagnosis); Emery, 1911d: 17 (diagnosis, subgenera key); Forel, 1917: 235 (synoptic classification); Clark, 1943: 85 (Promyrmecia species key); Clark, 1951: 21, 119 (Myrmecia, Promyrmecia all species revisions, keys); Brown, 1953j: 1 (revisionary notes); Brown, 1954e: 22 (diagnosis, phylogeny); Eisner, 1957: 449 (proventriculus morphology); Brown, 1958h: 10 (New Zealand); Gotwald, 1969: 113 (mouthparts morphology); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1972a: 38 (diagnosis); Brown, 1973b: 165 (genera, distribution); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1976b: 46 (larvae, review and synthesis); Greenslade, 1979: 11 (South Australia, review); Kugler, C. 1980b: 263 (sting structure); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1985: 256 (synoptic classification); Billen, 1986: 170 (Dufour's gland); Dlussky & Fedoseeva, 1988: 77 (synoptic classification); Billen, 1988: 27 (comparison of genera); Billen, 1990: 133 (sting bulb gland); Ogata, 1991a: 353 (species groups review, phylogeny); Ogata & Taylor, 1991d: 1623 (all species review, key); Brandão, 1991: 390 (Neotropical *fauna, synoptic classification); Baroni Urbani, et al. 1992: 317 (phylogeny); Bolton, 1994: 73 (diagnosis, synoptic classification); Bolton, 1995a: 1050 (census); Shattuck, 1999: 119 (Australia, synopsis); Baroni Urbani, 2000: 480 (phylogeny); Dlussky & Rasnitsyn, 2002: 418 (*fossil taxa, diagnosis for impression fossils); Ward & Brady, 2003: 361 (phylogeny, classification); Bolton, 2003: 29, 131 (diagnosis, synopsis); Brady, et al. 2006: 18173 (phylogeny); Moreau, et al. 2006: 102 (phylogeny); Archibald, et al. 2006: 505 (*fossil taxa, morphology, systematics, discussion); Heterick, 2009: 119 (south-western Australia species key); Keller, 2011: 1 (morphology, phylogeny); Boudinot, 2015: 49 (diagnosis).

Taxonomic Notes

Bolton 2003:

The myrmeciomorph subfamilies

Subfamilies Myrmeciinae, Pseudomyrmecinae.

Diagnosis Antennal sockets inclined upward toward midline of head (note 1). Sensilla basiconica of antenna with socket raised above the cuticular sUiface. Promesonotal suture present and flexible, the pronotum and mesonotum capable of movement relative to each other (note 2). Metanotum present on dorsal ali trunk. Metapleural gland orifice not concealed by a broad cuticular flange or flap. Propodeal lobes present (note 3). Metabasitarsal sulcus present (note 4). Metatibia with 2 spurs, posterior spur largest and usually pectinate (note 5). Pretarsal claws each with a preapical tooth on the inner margin (note 6). Petiole without tergosternal fusion. Helcium sternite small and retracted, overlapped by the tergite. Waist of one or two segments but abdominal segment III always smaller than IV. Abdominal segments III and IV without tergosternal fusion (also in male). Spiracles of abdominal segments V - VII concealed by posterior margins of preceding tergites. Sting present, usually strongly developed. [Synopsis, p. 131.]

Notes (1) For distribution of character see notes under formicomorph subfamilies. (2) For distribution of character see notes under myrmicomorph subfamilies. (3) Propodea1lobes are absent in the leptanillomorphs, present in the myrmeciomorphs and poneromorphs, variously absent or present in the dorylomorph subfamilies. In myrmicomorphs propodea1 lobes are absent in Melissotarsini and Crematogaster, reduced to narrow carinae or absent in Myrmicaria; in formicomorphs they are present only in Oecophylla. (4) The metabasitarsal sulcus is secondarily absent from Pseudomyrmex (Pseudomyrmecinae); a similar sulcus appears in the poneromorph genus Paraponera (Paraponerini), presumably convergently. (5) Posterior metatibial spur is spiniform and not pectinate only in the Myrmecia cephalotes species group. (6) The preapical tooth of the pretarsal claw is reduced or absent in a few small Tetraponera species.


Diagnosis With characters of myrmeciomorph subfamilies. Mandible multidentate and elongate. Median portion of clypeus short but posteriorly extended back between the antennal sockets. Eyes large and prominent. Metapleural gland orifice relatively widely separated from ventral margin of metapleuron. Orifice of propodeal spiracle slit-shaped. Metacoxal cavities open. Sting bulb gland present (note 2). Jugal lobe present on hindwing of alates (note 1). Palp formula 6,4. Antenna filiform, with 12 segments (13 in male and with very short stout scape). [Synopsis, p. 131.]

Notes (1) Jugal lobe of the hindwing is also present in a number of poneromorphs which, as a whole, are highly polymorphic for this character. The jugal lobe is universally absent in Pseudomyrmecinae, the dorylomorph, formicomorph and myrmicomorph subfamilies, and Leptanillini; its absence is regarded as the apomorphic condition. (2) In extant genera, not confirmed in *Prionomyrmex.