Strumigenys szalayi

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Strumigenys szalayi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Strumigenys
Species: S. szalayi
Binomial name
Strumigenys szalayi
Emery, 1897

Strumigenys szalayi casent0178462 profile 1.jpg

Strumigenys szalayi casent0178462 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Known from litter collections, rotten wood on the ground and a single collection taken from under a rock. Occurs in a range of forest habitats, from swamp forest through to higher altitude montane forest.


Bolton (2000) - A member of the Strumigenys szalayi-group. Brown (1971) considered the morphological and geographical variation of the widespread szalayi in some detail. He discussed the large size-variation recorded but retained all the samples in one species. Since then Roy Snelling (LACM) has collected a series at Wapoga camp, Irian Jaya, whose darkly coloured workers are even larger than the biggest specimen recorded by Brown. These workers have HL ca 1.00 but morphologically seem inseparable from other samples currently included in szalayi. I have retained this series in szalayi but with some misgivings. I suspect that a detailed re-analysis, when more of these anomalous specimens are available, may change our concept of the species.

S. szalayi is only separated from Strumigenys hemichlaena by differences in colour; see there and note under Strumigenys tigris.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).
Indo-Australian Region: Indonesia, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Brown (1971) - A colony I collected at Kuranda. Queensland consisted of about 60 workers and 2 dealate females nesting beneath a sheet of fungus on the underside of a piece: of bark lying on the floor of rain forest. The colony was transferred to a small glass-topped plaster nest and was offered various small, living soft-bodied arthropods during a 3-day observation on the ants' food preferences. Although offered small nematocerous Diptera, aphids, various mites, minute spiders and an assortment of springtails, the S. szalayi took only entomobryoid Collembola during this period. I had no opportunity to observe the ants under circumstances of prolonged food scarcity, so I do not know whether such conditions would lead to acceptance of other prey organisms, but it is reasonably clear the S. szalayi is predominantly a collembolan predator. The preferred prey were members of subfamily Paronellinae, common in the rain forests of northern Queensland; poduroids were avoided. Hunting by S. szalayi is relatively active and efficient; in striking, the mandibles are opened to more than 180°.




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • szalayi. Strumigenys szalayi Emery, 1897c: 578, pl. 14, figs. 10, 11 (w.q.) NEW GUINEA. Senior synonym of australis: Brown, 1971c: 75. See also: Bolton, 2000: 906.
  • australis. Strumigenys szalayi subsp. australis Forel, 1910b: 50 (w.m.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1955a: 137 (l.). Junior synonym of szalayi: Brown, 1971c: 75.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Bolton (2000) - TL 2.4-3.5, HL 0.68-0.94, HW 0.48-0.62, CI 64-75, ML 0.34-0.52, MI 50-57, SL 0.40-0.66, SI 88-106, PW 0.26-0.34, AL 0.68-0.91 (32 measured).

With head in profile the postocular concavity in the vetrolateral margin broad and quite shallow, but distinct. Propodeal teeth not long and spiniform, length very obviously less than twice the distance separating their bases. Alitrunk reticulate-punctate, often with a small un sculptured patch on katepisternum. Hairs on first gastral tergite similar to those on postpetiole. Colour variable (Brown, 1971), uniformly yellow to uniformly brown, or with gaster slightly to very much darker in shade than head and alitrunk, but head and alitrunk never bicoloured black and yellow.


Brown (1971) - The female is much like the worker, with the usual caste differences, slightly larger size, etc.


Brown (1971) - 1 specimen taken with workers, Negros I., Philippines, 18-V-22: TL 2.4, HL 0.52, WL 0.78, greatest diameter of eve 0.16, forewing L about 1.7 mm.

Occipital depression moderate. Scutellum and metanotum both projecting, the latter medially angulate. Propodeal teeth well-developed, acute. Petiole and postpetiole without appendages, their surfaces densely reticulate-punctate. Color ferruginous brown, legs and appendages dull yellow.

Type Material

Brown (1971) - Worker, female, worker pupae. Type loc.: Seleo Island, near Berlinhafen (=Aitape). New Guinea, by present selection. Other original locs.: Beliao Island, near Friedrich Wilhelmsafen (=Madang), New Guinea. Syntypes in Hungarian Natural History Museum, National Museum of Natural History, etc., several seen.

Bolton (2000) - Syntype workers and queen, PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Madang (= Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen) (L. Biro) (Hungarian Natural History Museum, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa) [examined].

  • Syntype, worker(s), male(s), Kuranda near Cairns, Queensland, Australia, The Natural History Museum.
  • Syntype, worker(s), male(s), Kuranda near Cairns, Queensland, Australia, Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle.
  • Syntype, Seleo Island near Aitape (as Berlinhafen), Papua New Guinea, museum unknown (prob. MCSN (Genoa) or HNHM (Budapest)).