Aphaenogaster poultoni

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Aphaenogaster poultoni
Aphaenogaster poultoni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species: A. poultoni
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster poultoni
Crawley, 1922

Aphaenogaster poultoni side view

Aphaenogaster poultoni top view

Specimen labels

This species is restricted to a narrow semi-arid band across south-western Western Australia and is sympatric with A. mediterrae in south-central Western Australia. It is found in coastal scrub, Jarrah forests, dry sandy sclerophyll, mulga woodlands and mallee. Nests are in soil generally with a large crater at the entrance. An exceptionally large mating swarm was noted by McMillan (1977) (misidentified as A. barbigula).

Photo Gallery

  • Aphaenogaster poultoni worker clearing her nest. Doodenanning, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 4 August 2009.
  • Aphaenogaster poultoni worker. Note the presence of the psammophore (a collection of long setae on the underside of the head) - these help the ants hold clumps of sand together in low humidity conditions. Doodenanning, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 4 August 4, 2009.
  • An Anochetus poultoni worker cautiously clambers over the funnel-like entrance to its nest near Flynn, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 4 June, 2011.
  • A surprisingly brazen A. poultoni worker inspects the photographer while a fellow nestmate carries sand from their nest. These ants are usually very shy and will readily tumble down their funnel nest entrance at the first sign of danger. Flynn, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 4 June 2011.
  • A surprisingly brazen A. poultoni worker. Flynn, Western Australia. Photo by Farhan Bokhari, 4 June 2011.


Majority of hairs on underside of head located laterally and forming a distinct psammophore; eye relatively small (EI less than 21); scape relatively short (SI less than 106); mandibular sculpture composed of irregularly sized striations; petiolar node (in dorsal view) wider than long. This species is most similar to A. barbigula. These two species can be separated by the pattern of sculpturing on the mandibles and the shape of the petiolar node.

There is a tendency for the head of A. poultoni to be more square (when viewed in full face view, the lateral and posterior margins are separated by an angle) compared to both A. barbigula and A. mediterrae (in which the head is essentially uniformly arched behind the eyes in full face view). However, all species show moderate variation in the shape of the head with essentially identical morphologies being found in some individuals of all three species. Thus while this character is indicative of A. poultoni it is not diagnostic.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -25.958045° to -33.6166687°.

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.




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

  • poultoni. Aphaenogaster poultoni Crawley, 1922c: 17, figs. 11, 12 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Western Australia).
    • Status as species: Taylor & Brown, 1985: 54; Taylor, 1987a: 8; Bolton, 1995b: 72; Shattuck, 2008a: 40 (redescription); Heterick, 2009: 144.

Type Material


Posterior margin of head nearly flat in full face view, extending laterally of the occipital collar before passing through a distinct posterolateral corner into the lateral margin of the head. Majority of hairs on venter of head located laterally and forming a distinct psammophore, only scattered hairs on central portion. Mandibular sculpture composed of irregularly sized striations. Erect hairs on mesosomal dorsum tapering to sharp points. Propodeal spines reduced to small denticles or sharp angles. Petiolar node (in dorsal view) wider than long.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Heterick B. E. 2009. A guide to the ants of south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 76: 1-206. 
  • Shattuck S. O. 2008. Australian ants of the genus Aphaenogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1677: 25-45.