Anochetus rectangularis

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Anochetus rectangularis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Anochetus
Species: A. rectangularis
Binomial name
Anochetus rectangularis
Mayr, 1876

Anochetus rectangularis casent0172379 profile 1.jpg

Anochetus rectangularis casent0172379 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Anochetus rectangularis is found in north-western Western Australia, the Top End of the Northern Territory and from Cape York south into at least south-eastern Queensland. Biologically, this species is found primarily in dry sclerophyll and savannah woodlands with only the occasional record from rainforest. Nests are in soil generally under rocks or logs but it is also known to nest in termite mounds as well as the unoccupied nests of Iridomyrmex purpureus.

Photo Gallery

  • Anochetus rectangularis worker found in leaf litter from Ashburton, Pilbara region, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 24 June 2012.


Sculpture on front of head extending only slightly beyond eyes; pronotum smooth dorsally, sculptured laterally; mesonotum smooth and without sculpturing; petiolar node in side view tapering gradually to apex in the form of an inverted “V”, with the striations fading towards the summit; propodeal angle sharply rounded. This species is similar to A. turneri but differs in having the anterior face of the petiolar node uniformly concave rather than angular. It differs from the otherwise similar Anochetus rufolatus and Anochetus rufostenus in the more narrowly tapering petiolar node (when viewed laterally) which lacks striations near the summit, and in the more sharply angular propodeal angle.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -10.68332958° to -36.91666667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.

There are two old collections of this species from New South Wales made by W. W. Froggatt (Australian National Insect Collection), one from Warrah and the other from Bombala. Both of these sites are well south of other more modern records for this species and the Bombala site, at over 700m elevation, is far colder and wetter than any other locality known for the genus. Warrah is located much further north at approximately 500m elevation and two additional species, Anochetus armstrongi and Anochetus graeffei, occur in this same general area. Thus while it is likely that A. rectangularis does extend into northern New South Wales it is highly likely that the Bombala record is in error and the species does not occur this far south. In any event, the species has clearly reached the limit of the main part of its range by southern Queensland and is at best rare in northern New South Wales. In northern Australia this species is currently unknown from the Kimberley Region. Whether this is a true absence or lack of collecting effort is uncertain at the present time.




Anochetus rectangularis ANIC32-015829 head 50-AntWiki.jpgAnochetus rectangularis ANIC32-015829 side 25-AntWiki.jpgAnochetus rectangularis ANIC32-015829 top 25-AntWiki.jpg


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

  • rectangularis. Anochetus rectangularis Mayr, 1876: 86 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Queensland).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Australia: Queensland, Rockhampton (no collector’s name).
    • Type-depository: NHMW.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1884a: 378 (in key); Dalla Torre, 1893: 48; Emery, 1911d: 109; Brown, 1978c: 558, 597; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 21; Taylor, 1987a: 7; Bolton, 1995b: 65; Shattuck & Slipinska, 2012: 16 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of diabolus: Brown, 1978c: 558; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 21; Taylor, 1987a: 7; Bolton, 1995b: 65; Shattuck & Slipinska, 2012: 16.
    • Distribution: Australia.
  • diabolus. Anochetus rectangularis var. diabolus Forel, 1915b: 35 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Queensland).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Australia: Queensland, Christmas Creek (E. Mjöberg).
    • Type-depository: NHRS.
    • Junior synonym of rectangularis: Brown, 1978c: 558; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 21; Taylor, 1987a: 7; Bolton, 1995b: 64; Shattuck & Slipinska, 2012: 16.

Type Material


Worker description. Sculpturing on front of head extending slightly beyond eyes. Scapes not reaching posterolateral corners ('lobes') of head; with limited pubescence and a limited number of erect hairs. Pronotum smooth dorsally, striate laterally and anterior section with transverse wrinkles and ridge. Mesonotum smooth and shining. Dorsum of propodeum flattened, with coarse striate-rugose or striate sculpture and with inclined short hairs. Metapleuron with distinct transverse striations. Petiolar node slightly rounded laterally and moderately concave dorsally; in side view tapering gradually to V-shaped apex; weak striations fade dorsally. Hind tibiae with erect hairs limited to outer surfaces. Colour yellow-brown to dark brown, head yellow-brown, antennae, mandibles and legs yellow.

Measurements. Worker (n = 6): CI 88–91; EI 22–25; EL 0.23–0.26; HL 1.08–1.18; HW 0.95–1.06; HFL 0.89–0.99; ML 1.30–1.40; MandL 0.55–0.62; MTL 0.64–0.70; PronI 63–65; PronW 0.62–0.67; SL 0.85–0.92; SI 85–90.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brown W.L. Jr. 1978. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section B. Genus Anochetus and bibliography. Studia Ent. 20(1-4): 549-638.
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Debuse V. J., J. King, and A. P. N. Hous. 2007. Effect of fragmentation, habitat loss and within-patch habitat characteristics on ant assemblages in semi-arid woodlands of eastern Australia. Lanscape Ecology 22: 731-745.
  • Heterick B. E. 2013. A taxonomic overview and key to the ants of Barrow Island, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 83: 375-404.
  • Majer J. D., M. A. Castalanelli, N. I. R. Gunawardene, and B. E. Heterick. 2018. Sequencing the ant fauna of a small island: can metagenomic analysis enable faster. Sociobiology 65(3): 422-432. Identification for Routine Ant Surveys?
  • Shattuck S. O., and E. Slipinska. 2012. Revision of the Australian species of the ant genus Anochetus (Hymeoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3426: 1-28.