Myrmecia gulosa

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Myrmecia gulosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Tribe: Myrmeciini
Genus: Myrmecia
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


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


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

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.


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. Smith, 1858b: 143 (m.); Mayr, 1876: 95 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971d: 246 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 345 (k.). Combination in Myrmecia: Fabricius, 1804: 424. Senior synonym of obscurior: Clark, 1951: 49. See also: Ogata, 1991a: 358.
  • obscurior. Myrmecia gulosa var. obscurior Forel, 1922: 87 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of gulosa: Clark, 1951: 49.

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.