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Meranoplus mayri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Meranoplus
Smith, F., 1853
Type species
Cryptocerus bicolor, now Meranoplus bicolor
91 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Meranoplus mayri casent0430421 profile 1.jpg

Meranoplus mayri

Meranoplus mayri casent0430421 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships















































some Lordomyrma



[some Lordomyrma


some Lordomyrma











Based on Ward et al. (2014) and Blaimer et al. (2018).

Hita Garcia, Wiesel and Fischer (2013) - An genus with more than 80 species that are found in the Old World tropics. The African species of this genus nest in the ground, in rotten wood, or under stones (Bolton, 1981b). Foraging is performed primarily on the ground or in the leaf litter whereas only very few species may additionally climb up trees or shrubs (Bolton, 1981b). Anderson (2006) indicated that the Australian species of this genus are either omnivorous, opportunistically feeding on seeds, or specialised granivores. When disturbed they show a special ‘faking-death’ behaviour. They retract their antennae into the scrobes, tuck their legs under the promesonotal shield and remain motionless (Hölldobler, 1988).


Boudinot and Fisher (2013) - The delineation of the genus Meranoplus is relatively straightforward; the genus is highly derived and unambiguously defined by several synapomorphies. The genus has been revised and reviewed across its entire distribution over the past few decades (Australasian region: Anderson 2006, Schödl 2004, 2007, Taylor 1990, 2006; Ethiopian region: Bolton 1981; and Oriental region: Schödl 1998, 1999). The genus is diagnosed by the compact mesosoma, which is dorsolaterally and often posterodorsally produced, and by the nine-segmented antenna with a three-segmented club (Bolton 2003).

Meranoplus diversus group

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Schodle 2007. Plate 1.

Boudinot and Fisher (2013) - Species of this genus are predominantly ground-nesting and, when disturbed, will display thanatosis enhanced by crypsis, i.e., individuals will accumulate dirt in their pilosity and play dead (Dornhaus & Powell 2010). With respect to diet, most species are omnivores and facultative granivores, while others, including the whole Meranoplus diversus species group, are specialist granivores (Anderson 2000, 2006). At least one species, the Malaysian rainforest-dwelling Meranoplus mucronatus, is known to have a trophobiotic relationship with hemipterans (Maschwitz et al. 1987). Meranoplus species are known to be active both day and night (Gross et al. 1991), and to recruit via pheromone trails laid from the base of the sting using secretions from their extremely large Dufour glands (Hölldobler 1988; Billen et al. 2009; Billen & Taylor 1993). The function of the spatulate sting is still unknown (Kugler 1979). The only species of Meranoplus for which mating has been reported is Meranoplus peringueyi, in which mating swarms occurred after a rain and where males patrolled for the outnumbered females in a zig-zag manner (Robertson & Villet 1989; Schulmeister 2001).

Flight Period

All Flight Records for Genus

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Taxon Month Source Notes
Meranoplus bicolor Jan Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 150 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

• Antennal segment count: 9 • Antennal club: 3 • Palp formula: 5,3 • Total dental count: 3-5 • Spur formula: 1 simple, 1 simple; 0, 0 • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: dentiform; present • Mesonotal Spines: present • Propodeal Spines: present • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent

Male Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 5,3 • Total dental count 1 • Spur formula 0, 1 simple; 0, 0


Species Uncertain

  • Meranoplus sp.(ANIC-4): 2n = 22 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).
  • Meranoplus sp.(ANIC-5): 2n = 22 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).
  • Meranoplus: 2n = 22 (Australia) (Crozier, 1970b) ('Meranoplus hirsutus group).
  • Meranoplus: n = 10 (Australia) (Crozier, 1966) ('Meranoplus oceanicus group).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Meranoplus 22 Australia Imai et al., 1977
Meranoplus 22 Australia Crozier, 1970b 'Meranoplus hirsutus'' group
Meranoplus 10 Australia Crozier, 1966 'Meranoplus oceanicus'' group
Meranoplus bicolor 16 India; Indonesia Imai et al., 1984; Imai et al., 1985
Meranoplus minor 22 Australia Imai et al., 1977


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

  • MERANOPLUS [Myrmicinae: Meranoplini]
    • Meranoplus Smith, F. 1853: 224. Type-species: Cryptocerus bicolor, by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903: 166.
  • TRICYTARUS [junior synonym of Meranoplus]
    • Tricytarus Donisthorpe, 1947d: 187. Type-species: Tricytarus parviumgulatus, by original designation.
    • Tricytarus unidenifiable taxon. Male-based genus, description inadequate. Type-material not present in California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, U.S.A., nor in The Natural History Museum, London, U.K., presumed lost: Bolton, 2003: 254.
    • Tricytarus junior synonym of Meranoplus: Boudinot, 2014: 96.


  • Andersen, A.N. 2006. A systematic overview of Australian species of the myrmicine ant genus Meranoplus F. Smith, 1853. Myrmecologische Nachrichten 8: 157-170.
  • Arnold, G. 1917. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part III. Myrmicinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 271-402 (page 363, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)
  • 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, Meranoplus in Cryptoceridae, Cataulacinae)
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 166, Type-species: Cryptocerus bicolor, by subsequent designation )
  • Bolton, B. 1981a. A revision of the ant genera Meranoplus F. Smith, Dicroaspis Emery and Calyptomyrmex Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Ethiopian zoogeographical region. Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 42: 43-81 (page 48, Revision of Afrotropical species)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 242, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)
  • Boudinot, B. 2014. Rediscovery of Tricytarus Donisthorpe, 1947, a new genus-level synonym of Meranoplus F. Smith, 1853 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Myrmecological News 20:95-100.
  • Boudinot, B.E. & Fisher, B.L. 2013. A taxonomic revision of the Meranoplus F. Smith of Madagascar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae) with keys to species and diagnosis of the males. Zootaxa 3635, 301-339.
  • Brassard, F., Leong, C.-M., Chan, H.-H., Guénard, B. 2021. High diversity in urban areas: How comprehensive sampling reveals high ant species richness within one of the most urbanized regions of the world. Diversity 13, 358 (doi:10.3390/d13080358).
  • Burchill, A.T., Moreau, C.S. 2016. Colony size evolution in ants: macroevolutionary trends. Insectes Sociaux 63, 291–298 (doi:10.1007/s00040-016-0465-3).
  • Buxton, J.T., Robert, K.A., Marshall, A.T., Dutka, T.L., Gibb, H. 2021. A cross-species test of the function of cuticular traits in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 31: 31-46 (doi:10.25849/MYRMECOL.NEWS_031:031).
  • 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).
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 136, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae)
  • Emery, C. 1877b. Saggio di un ordinamento naturale dei Mirmicidei, e considerazioni sulla filogenesi delle formiche. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 9: 67-83 (page 81, Meranoplus in Myrmicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 770, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Tetramoriini)
  • Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 41, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)
  • Emery, C. 1924f [1922]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 226, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 244, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 26, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae [Myrmicidae])
  • Schödl, S. 1998. Taxonomic revision of Oriental Meranoplus F. Smith, 1853 (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien. B. Bot. Zool. 100: 361-394 (page 361, Revision of Oriental species)
  • Smith, F. 1853 [1854]. Monograph of the genus Cryptocerus, belonging to the group Cryptoceridae - family Myrmicidae - division Hymenoptera Heterogyna. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (2) 2: 213-228 (page 224, Meranoplus in Myrmicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1857a. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected at Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore, by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 2: 42-88 (page 81, Meranoplus in Formicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 193, Meranoplus in Poneridae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1862d. A list of the genera and species belonging to the family Cryptoceridae, with descriptions of new species; also a list of the species of the genus Echinopla. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (3) 1: 407-416 (page 412, Meranoplus in Formicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1871a. A catalogue of the Aculeate Hymenoptera and Ichneumonidae of India and the Eastern Archipelago. With introductory remarks by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 11: 285-348 (page 334, Meranoplus in Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1876d. Descriptions of new species of Cryptoceridae, belonging to the genera Cryptocerus, Meranoplus, and Cataulacus. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1876: 603-612 (page 611, Meranoplus in Cryptoceridae)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 141, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Tetramoriini)
  • 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 664, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1934a. Formicidae of the Templeton Crocker Expedition, 1933. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. (4) 21: 173-181 (page 176, Meranoplus in Myrmicinae, Meranoplini)