Brachyponera lutea

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Brachyponera lutea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Brachyponera
Species: B. lutea
Binomial name
Brachyponera lutea
(Mayr, 1862)

Pachycondyla lutea casent0217564 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla lutea casent0217564 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Easily the most abundant species in the group, and occurs throughout Australia. Typically this species can be found cohabiting with termites under stones or rotting logs, and the latter are a prey item. As well as being widespread in native woodlands, B. lutea is common in suburban areas, where anecdotal reports suggest it not infrequently stings people tending their gardens. (Heterick 2009)


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



Size difference between queens and workers is the highest among all Ponerinae. This is associated with the ability of newly mated queens to start new colonies without foraging outside the nest ('claustral') (Haskins & Haskins 1950).

Dealate queen, male and worker, showing the very pronounced dimorphism in female body size. From W.M. Wheeler.



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

  • lutea. Ponera lutea Mayr, 1862: 721 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA. Mayr, 1865: 66 (m.); Crawley, 1918: 86 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971b: 1207 (l.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 347 (k.). Combination in Euponera (Brachyponera): Emery, 1901a: 47; in Brachyponera: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971b: 1207; in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 307; in Brachyponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 80. Senior synonym of socialis: Emery, 1911d: 84; of clara: Bolton, 1995b: 307. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1933i: 93.
  • socialis. Ectatomma socialis MacLeay, 1873: 369 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of lutea: Emery, 1911d: 84.
  • clara. Euponera (Brachyponera) lutea var. clara Crawley, 1915a: 133 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Combination in Brachyponera: Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 23. Junior synonym of lutea: Bolton, 1995b: 304.

Type Material



  • 2n = 16 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).


  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 307, Senior synonym of clara)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1995a. [Untitled. Taxonomic changes in Pachycondyla attributed to Brown.] Pp. 302-311 in: Bolton, B. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 307, Combination in Pachycondyla)
  • Clark, J. 1929a. Contributions to the fauna of Rottnest Island. No. III. The ants. J. R. Soc. West. Aust. 15:55-56. (distribution)
  • Craig, R., Crozier, R. H. 1978a. Caste-specific locus expression in ants. Isozyme Bull. 11:64-65. (enzyme systems)
  • Crawley, W. C. 1918. Some new Australian ants. Entomol. Rec. J. Var. 30: 86-92 (page 86, queen described)
  • Crawley, W. C. 1922c. Notes on some Australian ants. Biological notes by E. B. Poulton, D.Sc., M.A., F.R.S., and notes and descriptions of new forms by W. C. Crawley, B.A., F.E.S., F.R.M.S. [part] Entomol. Mon. Mag. 58:118-120. (biology)
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 47, Combination in Euponera (Brachyponera))
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 84, senior synonym of socialis)
  • Haskins, C. P.; Haskins, E. F. 1950. Note on the method of colony foundation of the ponerine ant Brachyponera (Euponera) lutea Mayr. Psyche (Cambridge) 57:1-9.
  • Heterick, B. E. 2009. A guide to the ants of South-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 76:1-206.
  • Imai, H. T., Crozier, R. H., Taylor, R. W. 1977. Karyotype evolution in Australian ants. Chromosoma (Berlin) 59:341-393.
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 721, worker, queen described)
  • 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 66, male described)
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1).
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1971b. Ant larvae of the subfamily Ponerinae: second supplement. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 6 64: 1197-1217 (page 1207, larva described, Combination in Brachyponera)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1933i. Colony founding among ants, with an account of some primitive Australian species. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, viii + 179 pp. (page 93, see also)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1936e. Ecological relations of ponerine and other ants to termites. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 71:159-243. (association with termites)
  • York, A. 1994. The long-term effects of fire on forest ant communities: management implications for the conservation of biodiveristy. Mem. Qld Mus. 36:231-239. (relation to fire)