Brown bull ant Myrmecia pyriformis, photographed by Pavel Krásenský.

Belongs within: Formicidae.

The Myrmeciinae, bulldog ants, are a group of often large ants with a powerful sting. Living myrmeciines are restricted to Australasia though fossil representatives are known from other continents. The genus Prionomyrmex is known from Baltic amber, late Eocene or early Oligocene in age, whereas Archimyrmex is known from the Eocene of North and South America (Ward & Brady 2003a, b). Members of the tribe Prionomyrmecini, including the fossil genera Prionomyrmex and Archimyrmex, together with the living Nothomyrmecia, have serrate, tightly-closing but non-overlapping mandibles, while Myrmecia species have curved mandibles with broadly-spaced teeth (Heterick 2009; Ward & Brady 2003). Members of the Myrmeciinae live in small colonies, with minimal functional differentiation between individuals. One species, Myrmecia inquilina, is a social parasite of other Myrmecia species that is not known to produce workers of its own (Heterick 2009).

Characters (from Ward & Brady 2003a): Mandibles multidentate and elongate, such that mandible length is three-quarters or more of head length. Palp formula 6, 4 (possibly reduced in Prionomyrmex janzeni). Clypeus with posteromesial protrusion between frontal carinae and antennal sockets. Eyes large, oval and conspicuously protruding from the surface of the head. First funicular segment less than, or approximately equal to, second funicular segment in length. Second funicular segment slender (more than twice as long as wide) and notably longer than the third funicular segment. Promesonotal suture flexible. Metacoxal cavities open (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown). Metapleural gland opening flanked above by carina-like flange and separated from ventral margin of metapleuron by a distance greater than the diameter of the opening (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown). Hind tibia with two apical spurs, the posterior one usually pectinate. Basitarsi of mid and hind legs with longitudinal sulcus. Tarsal claws bifurcate, with submedian tooth in addition to apical tooth. Petiole, postpetiole and abdominal segment 4 lacking tergosternal fusion (some fusion occurs anteriorly in the petiole of Nothomyrmecia). Third abdominal segment substantially smaller than fourth abdominal segment such that, when observed in profile under normal gastral distension, the height of third abdominal segment distinctly less than that of the fourth abdominal segment. Sting well developed (some reduction in Nothomyrmecia compared with Myrmecia). Alates with forewing Cu and M veins diverging at, or near, the cu-a crossvein; forewing crossvein m-cu joining M distad of divergence between M and Rs; forewing with two submarginal cells; hind wing jugal lobe present. Male with first antennal segment (scape) very short and stocky, such that scape length is about one-fifth of combined length of antennal segments 2–4; mesepisternum lacking distinct posterior oblique sulcus, at most a weak furrow present (condition in Prionomyrmex unclear); paramere divided by an oblique longitudinal suture into (i) an apical and ventromesial portion, to which the volsella is attached, and (ii) a proximal and dorsolateral portion (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown); aedeagus with posteroventral projection, armed at the apex with stout teeth or spines (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown).

    |--Prionomyrmecini [Nothomyrmeciinae]WB03a
    |    |--Prionomyrmex Mayr 1868WB03a
    |    |    |--P. janzeniWB03a
    |    |    `--P. longicepsWB03a
    |    `--+--Nothomyrmecia Clark 1934WB03a
    |       |    `--*N. macrops Clark 1934TB85
    |       `--ArchimyrmexWB03b [incl. Ameghinoia Viana & Haedo Rossi 1957WB03b, WB03a, Polanskiella Rossi de Garcia 1983WB03b, WB03a]
    |            |--*A. rostratusWB03b
    |            |--‘Ameghinoia’ piatnitzkyiWB03b
    |            `--‘Polanskiella’ smekaliWB03b
    `--Myrmecia Fabricius 1804 (see below for synonymy)WB03a
         |--*M. gulosa (Fabricius 1775) [=Formica gulosa; incl. M. gulosa obscurior Forel 1922]TB85
         |--M. aberrans Forel 1900 [=M. (*Promyrmecia) aberrans]TB85
         |--M. acutaH09
         |--M. analis Mayr 1862 [incl. M. atriscapa Crawley 1925]TB85
         |--M. apicalis Emery 1883E14
         |--M. arnoldi Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. atrata Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. auriventris Mayr 1870 [incl. M. auriventris athertonensis Forel 1915]TB85
         |--M. brevinoda Forel 1910 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         |--M. callima (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia callima]TB85
         |--M. cardigaster Brown 1953 [=M. cordata Clark 1951 non Latreille 1805]TB85
         |--M. celaena (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia celaena]TB85
         |--M. cephalotes (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia cephalotes]TB85
         |--M. chasei Forel 1894 [incl. M. pilosula mediorubra Forel 1910]TB85
         |--M. chrysogaster (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia chrysogaster]TB85
         |--M. clarki Crawley 1922TB85
         |--M. comata Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. croslandiMG06
         |--M. cydista (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia cydista]TB85
         |--M. decipians Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. desertorum Wheeler 1915 [incl. M. vindex desertorum; incl. M. lutea Crawley 1922, M. princeps Clark 1951]TB85
         |--M. dichospila Clark 1938 [=M. (Promyrmecia) dichospila]TB85
         |--M. dimidiata Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. dispar (Clark 1951) [=Promyrmecia dispar]TB85
         |--M. dixoni (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia dixoni]TB85
         |--M. elegans (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia elegans]TB85
         |--M. erectaH09
         |--M. esuriens Fabricius 1804 [incl. M. tasmaniensis Smith 1858, M. walkeri Forel 1893]TB85
         |--M. eupoecila (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia eupoecila]TB85
         |--M. excavata (Clark 1951) [=Promyrmecia excavata]TB85
         |--M. exigua (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia exigua]TB85
         |--M. fasciata Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. ferruginea Mayr 1876 [=M. nigriceps ferruginea]TB85
         |--M. flammicollis Brown 1953TB85
         |--M. flavicoma Roger 1861TB85
         |    |--M. f. flavicomaTB85
         |    `--M. f. minuscula Forel 1915TB85
         |--M. forceps Roger 1861 [incl. M. forceps obscuriceps Viehmeyer 1924, M. singularis Clark 1951]TB85
         |--M. forficata (Fabricius 1787) [=Formica forficata; incl. M. lucida Forel 1893, M. forficata rubra Forel 1910]TB85
         |--M. froggatti Forel 1910 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         |--M. fucosa Clark 1934 [=M. (Promyrmecia) fucosa]TB85
         |--M. fulgida Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. fulviculis Forel 1913 [=M. (Pristomyrmecia) fulvipes fulviculis]TB85
         |--M. fulvipes Roger 1861 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         |--M. fuscipes Clark 1951H09, TB85
         |--M. gilberti Forel 1910 [=M. fulvipes gilberti; incl. M. (Pristomyrmecia) regina Santschi 1928]TB85
         |--M. gratiosa Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. greavesi (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia greavesi]TB85
         |--M. harderi Forel 1910 [incl. Promyrmecia maloni Clark 1943, P. scabra Clark 1943]TB85
         |--M. hilli (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia hilli]TB85
         |--M. hirsuta Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. infima Forel 1900TB85
         |--M. inquilina Douglas & Brown 1959TB85
         |--M. longinodis Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. ludlowi Crawley 1922H09, TB85 [=M. chasei ludlowiTB85]
         |--M. luteiforceps (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia luteiforceps]TB85
         |--M. mandibularis Smith 1858 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         |--M. maura Wheeler 1933 [=M. (Promyrmecia) aberrans maura]TB85
         |    |--M. m. mauraTB85
         |    `--M. m. formosa Wheeler 1933 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         |--M. michaelseni Forel 1907TB85
         |    |--M. m. michaelseni [incl. M. michaelseni perthensis Crawley 1922]TB85
         |    `--M. m. queenslandica Forel 1915 [incl. M. michaelseni overbecki Viehmeyer 1924]TB85
         |--M. midas Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. mjobergi Forel 1915TB85
         |--M. nigra Forel 1907 [=M. picta nigra]TB85
         |--M. nigriceps Mayr 1862TB85
         |--M. nigriscapa Roger 1861TB85
         |--M. nigrocincta Smith 1858TB85
         |--M. nobilis (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia nobilis]TB85
         |--M. occidentalis (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia occidentalis]TB85
         |--M. opaca (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia opaca]TB85
         |--M. pavida Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. petiolata Emery 1895TB85
         |--M. picta Smith 1858TB85
         |--M. picticeps Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. piliventris Smith 1858 [incl. M. piliventris rectidens Forel 1910]TB85
         |--M. pilosula Smith 1858 [=M. (*Halmamyrmecia) pilosula; incl. Ponera ruginoda Smith 1858]TB85
         |--M. potteri (Clark 1951) [=Promyrmecia potteri]TB85
         |--M. pulchra Clark 1929 [incl. M. crassinoda Clark 1934, M. fallax Clark 1951, M. murina Clark 1951]TB85
         |--M. pyriformis Smith 1858 [incl. M. sanguinea Smith 1858]TB85
         |--M. regularis Crawley 1925TB85
         |--M. rowlandi Forel 1910 [=M. tarsata rowlandi; incl. M. tarsata malandensis Forel 1915]TB85
         |--M. rubicunda (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia rubicunda]TB85
         |--M. rubripes Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. rufinodis Smith 1858 [incl. M. gracilis Emery 1898]TB85
         |--M. rugosa Wheeler 1933 [=M. (Promyrmecia) michaelseni rugosa; incl. Promyrmecia ruginodis Clark 1943]TB85
         |--M. simillima Smith 1858 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         |--M. subfasciata Viehmeyer 1924TB85
         |--M. suttoni Clark 1951TB85
         |--M. swalei Crawley 1922 [=M. harderi swalei]TB85
         |--M. tarsata Smith 1858TB85
         |--M. tepperi Emery 1898TB85
         |--M. testaceipes (Clark 1943) [=Promyrmecia testaceipes]TB85
         |--M. urens Lowne 1865 [incl. M. pumilio Mayr 1866]TB85
         |--M. varians Mayr 1876 (see below for synonymy)TB85
         `--M. vindex Smith 1858TB85
              |--M. v. vindexTB85
              `--M. v. basirufa Forel 1907TB85

Myrmecia Fabricius 1804 [incl. Halmamyrmecia Wheeler 1922, Pristomyrmecia Emery 1911, Promyrmecia Emery 1911; Myrmeciini]WB03a

Myrmecia brevinoda Forel 1910 [=M. forficata brevinoda; incl. M. forficata eudoxia Forel 1915, M. pyriformis gigas Forel 1913]TB85

Myrmecia froggatti Forel 1910 [incl. M. (Promyrmecia) aberrans sericata Wheeler 1933, M. (P.) aberrans taylori Wheeler 1933]TB85

Myrmecia fulvipes Roger 1861 [incl. M. (Promyrmecia) fulvipes barbata Wheeler 1933, M. (Pristomyrmecia) piliventris femorata Santschi 1928]TB85

Myrmecia mandibularis Smith 1858 [=M. (*Pristomyrmecia) mandibularis; incl. M. mandibularis aureorufa Forel 1910, M. (Promyrmecia) fulvipes caelatinoda Wheeler 1933, Promyrmecia laevinodis Clark 1943, M. (Pro.) mandibularis postpetiolaris Wheeler 1933]TB85

Myrmecia maura formosa Wheeler 1933 [=M. (Promyrmecia) aberrans formosa; incl. M. (P.) aberrans haematosticta Wheeler 1933]TB85

Myrmecia simillima Smith 1858 [incl. M. affinis Mayr 1862, M. crudelis Smith 1858, M. nigriventris Mayr 1862, M. paucidens Forel 1910, M. tricolor rogeri Emery 1914, M. spadicea Mayr 1862, M. tricolor Mayr 1862]TB85

Myrmecia varians Mayr 1876 [incl. Promyrmecia goudiei Clark 1943, P. marmorata Clark 1951, Myrmecia rufonigra Crawley 1921, P. shepherdi Clark 1943, P. wilsoni Clark 1943]TB85

*Type species of generic name indicated


[E14] Emery, C. 1914. Les fourmis de la Nouvelle-Calédonie & des îles Loyalty. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1 pt 4 pp. 393–436, pl. 12. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[H09] Heterick, B. E. 2009. A guide to the ants of south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 76: 1–206.

[MG06] Mallatt, J., & G. Giribet. 2006. Further use of nearly complete 28S and 18S rRNA genes to classify Ecdysozoa: 37 more arthropods and a kinorhynch. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 772–794.

[TB85] Taylor, R. W., & D. R. Brown. 1985. Formicoidea. In: Walton, D. W. (ed.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia vol. 2. Hymenoptera: Formicoidea, Vespoidea and Sphecoidea pp. 1–149. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.

[WB03a] Ward, P. S., & S. G. Brady. 2003a. Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17: 361–386.

[WB03b] Ward, P. S., & S. G. Brady. 2003b. Corrigendum: Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17: 605.

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