Myopias tenuis

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Myopias tenuis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Myopias
Species: M. tenuis
Binomial name
Myopias tenuis
(Emery, 1900)

Myopias tenuis casent0172095 profile 1.jpg

Myopias tenuis casent0172095 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Colonies contain about 15 individuals and may have a single or multiple queens. They are known to prey upon Entomobryid collembola.


Willey and Brown (1983) - This is the smallest of the known Melanesian Myopias species, and also the most common and widespread. The typical form is small, has slightly convex sides of the head, scapes that just fail to reach (or just barely reach) the occipital border when held straight back, and a median clypeal lobe that is as long as, or slightly longer than, wide at its widest (near apex). The end of the lobe is convex or straight, and the free angles may be rectangular or rounded. Measurements for Papua New Guinea North Coast workers are: TL 2.8-3.7, HL 0.53-0.71, HW 0.45-0.60 (CI 81-91), ML 0.30-0.43 (MI 81-92), MLO 0.40-0.57, SL 0.42-0.58 (SI 87-95), EL 0.03-0.06, WL 0.95-1.25 mm. Workers of a colony series from Salawati Island, at the western end of New Guinea, fall within these dimensions and proportions. Workers from Bisianumu, in the hills above Port Moresby, fit the North Coast dimension range, while a sample from Karema, in the lowlands north of Moresby, tends slightly to exceed the North Coast samples in size.

Samples from the Cape York area of North Queensland average larger than any of the New Guinea series; a large worker from the Black Mt. Road, north of Kuranda, measures TL 4.1, HL 0.74, HW 0.67 (CI 91), ML 0.43 (MI 91), MLO 0.58, SL 0.59 (SI 88), EL 0.04, WL 1.34 mm. The Australian samples often have the laid-back scapes reaching the posterior border of the head, and the posterior border is more distinctly concave. In addition, the median clypeal lobe tends to be wider, often as wide as or wider than long, and the minute punctures, especially on the head, are a trifle coarser and more distinct. Several of these series have sordid yellowish individuals, undoubtedly partly callow, that correspond to var. fulvescens.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -5° to -18.54999924°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia.
Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Willey and Brown (1983) - PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Karema, Brown R., rotten log, lowland rain forest, leg. Wilson, No. 552. Bisianumu, near Sogeri, about 500 m, hill rain forest, Wilson Nos. 637, 637 A, litter and rotten wood, strays. In the vicinity of Lae (Didiman Creek, Bubia and lower Busu R.), several nests and litter strays, Wilson Nos. 688, 689A, 690, 716, 939, 962, 978, 1037, 1045, 1058, all in lowland rainforest. No. 689 was a small colony in a Zoraptera-stage log, with about ten workers and two queens. No. 716 was a worker carrying an entomobryid collembolan about its own length lengthwise beneath its body, army ant fashion. No. 1037 was a nest in a cavity in the under surface of a hard, barkless log in leaf litter. No. 1045, a nest in a soft Passalus-stage log, had peripheral galleries packed with unidentified arthropodan cuticular fragments. Nadzab, dry evergreen forest, Wilson No. 1100. Wau north, on Bulolo road, 650 m, leg. S. Peck, B-278. IRIAN JAYA: near Phillips Petroleum Base Camp, SE Salawati l. (just off western extremity of Vogelkop), swamp forest near sea level, leg. Brown No. 81-189, nest in rotten wood, with at least 15 workers, a dealate queen, a male, about a dozen pupae in tan cocoons, and a few half-grown larvae. AUSTRALIA, N. QUEENSLAND: Black Mt. road N. of Kuranda, 300-600 m, leg. P. F. Darlington, in rain forest, small colony with at least two dealate queens. Mt. Cudmore Range, II mi. N. of Ingham, about 210 m, six workers from rotten log in small roadside patch of disturbed rain forest, leg. Taylor, Acc. No. 1706. Mulgrave Forestry Road, 17°18'S, 145°48'E, leg. Ward No. 4366, from rotting epiphyte fern on rain forest floor.

From the SOLOMON ISLANDS we have three scanty samples of forms sent from ANIC that could belong to M. tenuis. or to sibling species:

(1) A large form, extending some of the tendencies seen in Australian series; HW 0.80, EL 0.09 mm; scapes reaching posterior border of head. Propodeal dorsal profile a little more convex than usual in M. tenuis. Color castaneous. Two workers from Guadalcanall.: Mt. Austen, Feb. 1966, leg. P.M. Greenslade, No. 21095.

(2) A small worker, also from Mt. Austen, Guadalcanal, 14/5/1963, leg. P.M. Greenslade, No. 6076; HW 0.55, EL 0.03 mm; scapes very short, failing to reach posterior border of head by at least the apical scape width; posterior border of head weakly concave. Color yellowish brown. Sides of head straighter and more parallel-sided than in the other Mt. Austen sample.

(3) A worker from San Cristovall., Humi R. est., N.E. Wainoni, leg. Royal Society Expedition, 1966-1, HW 0.60, EL 0.05 mm; sides of head almost perfectly straight and parallel, posterior border feebly convex; scape fails to reach posterior border of head by about half of apical scape width; mandibles unusually short (ML 0.37, MLO 0.47 mm) and broad; basal angle forming a distinct convexity. Color deep brownish red.

I suspect that the Solomons will eventually yield much more variation in the tenuis complex; the available material is simply inadequate as a basis for understanding the complex in this archipelago.





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

  • tenuis. Trapeziopelta tenuis Emery, 1900c: 313, pl. 8, fig. 3 (q.) NEW GUINEA (Papua New Guinea).
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: Papua New Guinea: Beliao I., nr Berlinhafen (= Aitepe) (L. Biró).
    • Type-depository: HNHM.
    • Emery, 1901h: 155 (w.).
    • Combination in Myopias: Willey & Brown, 1983: 270.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1901h: 155; Emery, 1911d: 94; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 76; Willey & Brown, 1983: 270; Taylor, 1987a: 41; Bolton, 1995b: 270; Probst, Guénard & Boudinot, 2015: 205 (in key).
    • Senior synonym of fulvescens: Willey & Brown, 1983: 270; Bolton, 1995b: 269.
    • Distribution: Papua New Guinea.
  • fulvescens. Trapeziopelta tenuis var. fulvescens Emery, 1901h: 155 (w.q.) NEW GUINEA (Papua New Guinea).
    • Type-material: 2 syntype workers, 1 syntype queen.
    • Type-locality: Papua New Guinea: Sattelberg (L. Biró).
    • Type-depositories: HNHM, MSNG.
    • Subspecies of tenuis: Emery, 1911d: 94; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 76.
    • Junior synonym of tenuis: Willey & Brown, 1983: 270; Bolton, 1995b: 269.
  • nitida. Ponera nitida Smith, F. 1861b: 45 (w.) INDONESIA (Sulawesi).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Indonesia: Celebes (= Sulawesi), Tondano, “Tond” (A.R. Wallace).
    • Type-depository: OXUM.
    • [Junior primary homonym of *Ponera nitida Heer, 1849: 149.]
    • Combination in Bradyponera: Mayr, 1886c: 362;
    • combination in Bradoponera: Dalla Torre, 1893: 18.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1863: 449; Smith, F. 1871a: 322; Dalla Torre, 1893: 18; Emery, 1901g: 566; Emery, 1911d: 94; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 76.
    • Replacement name: Trapeziopelta mayri Donisthorpe, 1932c: 468.
  • nitida. Trapeziopelta nitida Crawley, 1924: 384, fig. 2 (w.) INDONESIA (Sumatra).
    • Type-material: holotype(?) worker.
    • [Note: no indication of number of specimens is given.]
    • Type-locality: Indonesia: Sumatra, Fort de Kock, 1922, no. 143 (E. Jacobson).
    • Type-depository: OXUM.
    • [Junior secondary homonym of *Ponera nitida Heer, 1849: 149.]
    • Replacement name: Trapeziopelta crawleyi Donisthorpe, 1941k: 237.
  • punctigera. Trapeziopelta punctigera Emery, 1901h: 155 (w.) NEW GUINEA (Papua New Guinea).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Papua New Guinea: Sattelberg (L. Biró).
    • Type-depository: HNHM.
    • [Junior primary homonym of Trapeziopelta maligna var. punctigera Emery, 1900d: 663.]
    • Combination in Myopias: Bolton, 1995b: 270.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 94; Bolton, 1995b: 270.
    • Replacement name: Myopias papua Snelling, R.R. 2008: 261.

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


Type Material

Willey and Brown (1983) - dealate queen. Type loc.: Beliao Island, near Berlinhafen (now Aitape), Papua New Guinea.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • CSIRO Collection
  • Emery C. 1900. Formicidarum species novae vel minus cognitae in collectione Musaei Nationalis Hungarici quas in Nova-Guinea, colonia germanica, collegit L. Biró. Publicatio secunda. Természetrajzi Füzetek 23: 310-338.
  • Emery C. 1901. Formicidarum species novae vel minus cognitae in collectione Musaei Nationalis Hungarici, quas in Nova-Guinea, colonia germanica, collegit L. Biró. Publicatio tertia. Természetrajzi Füzetek 25: 152-160.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Lucky A., E. Sarnat, and L. Alonso. 2011. Ants of the Muller Range, Papua New Guinea, Chapter 10. In Richards, S. J. and Gamui, B. G. (editors). 2013. Rapid Biological Assessments of the Nakanai Mountains and the upper Strickland Basin: surveying the biodiversity of Papua New Guinea’s sublime karst environments. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 60. Conservation International. Arlington, VA.
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.
  • Viehmeyer H. 1912. Ameisen aus Deutsch Neuguinea gesammelt von Dr. O. Schlaginhaufen. Nebst einem Verzeichnisse der papuanischen Arten. Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königlichen Zoologischen und Anthropologische-Ethnographischen Museums zu Dresden 14: 1-26.
  • Willey R. B.; W. L., Jr Brown. 1983. New species of the ant genus Myopias (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae). Psyche (Cambridge) 90: 249-285.
  • Wilson Edward O. 1959. Adaptive Shift and Dispersal in a Tropical Ant Fauna. Evolution 13(1): 122-144