Temporal range: 23.03–0 Ma Miocene – Recent
1 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)
|Based on Ward et al. 2016.|
These small, inconspicuous ants nest in soil or in twigs and vines on shrubs or trees. They are most often encountered while foraging on vegetation or tree trunks. Although they can be locally common they are often overlooked because of their slow movements and arboreal habits. Very little is known concerning their biology.
The mandibles usually have 10 to 13 teeth, although some large individuals have as few as 6. The frontal carinae are distinctly arched. The upper surface of mesosoma between the metanotum and propodeum is always low and flat or concave and never expanded upwards. The worker caste is variable in size (strongly polymorphic) and has distinct major and minor workers.
Smaller workers of Myrmecorhynchus are identifiable by the large number of teeth on the mandibles. However larger workers have a reduced number of teeth (down to 6 in some individuals) and are similar to some species of Notoncus. These individuals can be identified by the configuration of the frontal carinae which are curved in Myrmecorhynchus while they are straight in Notoncus, and the polymorphic worker caste with distinct majors and minors (Notoncus is weakly polymorphic and without distinct majors and minors). Additionally, some species of Notoncus have an upwards projection on the upper surface of the mesosoma at the metanotal groove. This region of the mesosoma is always flat or concave in Myrmecorhynchus.
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Keys including this Genus
Keys to Species in this Genus
Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps
Fossils are known from: Foulden Maar diatomite, New Zealand (Aquitanian, Early Miocene).
Myrmecorhynchus is an endemic Australian genus, known from three species. They occur in forested areas ranging from mallee through rainforest across eastern and southern Australia. All three species are sympatric in Victoria and New South Wales, with M. emeryi extending westward to south-western Western Australia and northward to central Queensland, and with M. carteri occurring in Tasmania. They are small and inconspicuous ants and are most often encountered while foraging on vegetation or tree trunks. Nests are in branches, twigs and vines on shrubs or trees, or in soil. Although they can be locally common they are often overlooked because of their slow movements and arboreal habits.
Life History Traits
- Mean colony size: At least 16 (Greer et al., 2021)
- Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
- Nest site: hypogaeic; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
- Diet class: herbivore; omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
- Foraging stratum: arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: gradual • Palp formula: 6,4 • Total dental count: 6-13 • Spur formula: 1 simple, 1 simple • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Scrobes: absent • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: polymorphic • Sting: absent • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.
- MYRMECORHYNCHUS [Formicinae: Myrmecorhynchini]
- Myrmecorhynchus André, 1896b: 253. Type-species: Myrmecorhynchus emeryi, by monotypy.
- Agosti, D. 1991. Revision of the oriental ant genus Cladomyrma, with an outline of the higher classification of the Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 16: 293-310. (page 295, Myrmecorhynchus in Formicinae, Formica genus group)
- André, E. 1896d. Fourmis nouvelles d'Asie et d'Australie. Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 15: 251-265. (page 253, Myrmecorhynchus as genus)
- Barden, P. 2017. Fossil ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): ancient diversity and the rise of modern lineages. Myrmecological News 24: 1-30.
- Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 109, Myrmecorhynchus in Formicinae, Myrmecorhynchini)
- Boudinot, B.E., Borowiec, M.L., Prebus, M.M. 2022. Phylogeny, evolution, and classification of the ant genus Lasius, the tribe Lasiini and the subfamily Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology 47, 113-151 (doi:10.1111/syen.12522).
- Brown, W. L., Jr. (1955). A revision of the Australian ant genus Notoncus Emery, with notes on the other genera of Melophorini. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 113: 471–494.
- 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).
- Clark, J. (1934). New Australian ants. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria, 8: 21–47.
- Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 35, Myrmecorhynchus in Formicinae, Myrmecorhynchini)
- Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 89, Myrmecorhynchus in Camponotinae, Oecophyliini)
- Shattuck, S.O. 2015. A review of the ant genus Myrmecorhynchus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 3955: 283–290.
- Tseng, S.-P., Hsu, P.-W., Lee, C.-C., Wetterer, J.K., Hugel, S., Wu, L.-H., Lee, C.-Y., Yoshimura, T., Yang, C.-C.S. 2020. Evidence for common horizontal transmission of Wolbachia among ants and ant crickets: Kleptoparasitism added to the list. Microorganisms 8, 805. (doi:10.3390/MICROORGANISMS8060805).
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1985b. A simplified conspectus of the Formicidae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 111: 255-264 (page 258, Myrmecorhynchus in Formicinae, Myrmecorhynchini (anachronism))
- Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 144, Myrmecorhynchus in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1917f. The Australian ant-genus Myrmecorhynchus (Ern. André) and its position in the subfamily Camponotinae. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 41: 14-19 (page 19, Myrmecorhynchus in Camponotinae, Myrmecorhynchini)
- 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 694, Myrmecorhynchus in Formicinae, Melophorini)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1935c. Myrmecological notes. Psyche (Camb.) 42: 68-72 (page 71, Myrmecorhynchus in Formicinae, Melophorini)