Myrmecia gulosa

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Myrmecia gulosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Tribe: Myrmeciini
Genus: Myrmecia
Species group: gulosa
Species: M. gulosa
Binomial name
Myrmecia gulosa
(Fabricius, 1775)

Myrmecia gulosa casent0103310 profile 1.jpg

Myrmecia gulosa casent0103310 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label



Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -24.91444397° to -37.13333333°.

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.


Colonies are monogynous and consist of 992 ± 551 workers, mean ± SD (Dietemann et al. 2002).

There is no trophallaxis but workers lay trophic eggs (non viable yolk sacs), which constitute the main channel of food exchange in the colony. Queens regularly walk through the nest chambers but they are not aggressive toward workers (Dietemann et al. 2005a). Regulation of worker reproduction is based on Cuticular Hydrocarbons (Dietemann et al. 2003) together with worker policing (Dietemann et al. 2005b).

Association with Other Organisms

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This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Austeucharis fasciiventris (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 900 (Haskins & Haskins, 1950; Robertson, 1971; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary forager (Haskins & Haskins, 1950; Robertson, 1971; Beckers et al., 1989)


Worker size varies over a wide range (14 – 23 mm), exhibiting a bimodal distribution. M. gulosa queens are only slightly bigger than large workers, but have many more ovarioles (44 compared to 8–14 in workers; Dietemann et al. 2002).

Retinue involving large and small workers around the fertile queen. Photo by Vincent Dietemann.
Ovaries of a queen, large worker and small worker. Note differences in the number of ovarioles. Photo by Vincent Dietemann.

Images from AntWeb

Myrmecia gulosa casent0103309 head 1.jpgMyrmecia gulosa casent0103309 profile 1.jpgMyrmecia gulosa casent0103309 dorsal 1.jpgMyrmecia gulosa casent0103309 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0103309. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


gulosa group

Myrmecia esuriens

Myrmecia midas

Myrmecia pulchra

Myrmecia mjobergi

Myrmecia regularis

Myrmecia forficata

Myrmecia brevinoda

Myrmecia erecta

Myrmecia pyriformis

Myrmecia browningi

Myrmecia sp.

Myrmecia analis

Myrmecia minuscula

Myrmecia comata

Myrmecia rowlandi

Myrmecia flavicoma

Myrmecia tarsata

Myrmecia tridentata

Myrmecia eungellensis

Myrmecia fabricii

Myrmecia athertonensis

Myrmecia auriventris

Myrmecia borealis

Myrmecia gulosa

Myrmecia forceps

Myrmecia simillima

Myrmecia arnoldi

Myrmecia fulgida

Myrmecia pavida

Myrmecia vindex

Myrmecia fuscipes

Myrmecia (near nigriceps)

Myrmecia desertorum

Myrmecia nigriceps

Myrmecia nigriceps

Myrmecia inquilina

nigrocincta group

Myrmecia flammicollis

Myrmecia petiolata

Myrmecia nigrocincta

picta group

Myrmecia fucosa

Myrmecia picta

Myrmecia infima

Myrmecia urens

apicalis group

Myrmecia apicalis

pilosula group

Myrmecia testaceipes

Myrmecia acuta

Myrmecia chasei

Myrmecia clarki

Myrmecia dispar

Myrmecia occidentalis

Myrmecia tepperi

Myrmecia elegans

Myrmecia varians

Myrmecia banksi

Myrmecia croslandi

Myrmecia impaternata

Myrmecia haskinsorum

Myrmecia pilosula

Myrmecia pilosula

Myrmecia (near pilosula)

Based on Mera-Rodríguez et al. (2023).


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

  • gulosa. Formica gulosa Fabricius, 1775: 395 (w.) AUSTRALIA (no state data).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Australia (“New Holland”): (no further data).
    • Type-depository: BMNH.
    • Smith, 1858b: 143 (m.); Mayr, 1876: 95 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971d: 246 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 345 (k.).
    • Combination in Eciton: Latreille, 1804 179; Latreille, 1817c: 75;
    • combination in Myrmica: Latreille, 1809: 130; Guérin-Méneville, 1838: 207;
    • combination in Myrmecia: Fabricius, 1804: 424; Smith, F. 1858b: 143.
    • Status as species: Fabricius, 1775: 395; Fabricius, 1782: 494; Fabricius, 1787: 310; Gmelin, 1790: 2803; Christ, 1791: 511; Olivier, 1792: 501; Fabricius, 1793: 363; Latreille, 1802c: 215; Fabricius, 1804: 424; Latreille, 1809: 131; Latreille, 1817c: 75; Lamarck, 1817: 97; Guérin-Méneville, 1838: 207; Smith, F. 1858b: 143; Roger, 1861a: 33; Mayr, 1862: 723 (in key); Roger, 1863b: 22; Mayr, 1863: 430; Mayr, 1865: 84; Lowne, 1865b: 335; Mayr, 1876: 95 (redescription); Emery, 1887b: 443; Dalla Torre, 1893: 20; Emery, 1911d: 19; Clark, 1925b: 141; Wheeler, W.M. 1933i: 29; Clark, 1951: 49 (redescription); Taylor & Brown, 1985: 11; Taylor, 1987a: 43; Ogata, 1991a: 358; Ogata & Taylor, 1991: 1637 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 271.
    • Senior synonym of obscurior: Clark, 1951: 49; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 11; Taylor, 1987a: 43; Ogata & Taylor, 1991: 1629; Bolton, 1995b: 272.
    • Distribution: Australia.
  • obscurior. Myrmecia gulosa var. obscurior Forel, 1922: 87 (w.) AUSTRALIA (no state data,).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Australia: (no further data, “sans autres indications de localité”).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Junior synonym of gulosa: Clark, 1951: 49; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 11; Taylor, 1987a: 43; Ogata & Taylor, 1991: 1629; Bolton, 1995b: 272.

Type Material



  • 2n = 38 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977; Meyne et al., 1995; Hirai et al., 1996).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Emery, C. "Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia (continuazione e fine)." Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria (Genova) (2) 5, no. 25 (1887): 427-473.
  • Imai H. T., R. H. Crozier, and R. W. Taylor. 1977. Karyotype evolution in Australian ants. Chromosoma 59: 341-393.