Brown bull ant Myrmecia pyriformis, photographed by Pavel Krásenský.

Belongs within: Formicidae.

The Myrmeciinae, bulldog ants, are a group of often large ants with a powerful sting. Living myrmeciines are restricted to Australasia, though fossil representatives are known from Europe and the Americas (Ward & Brady 2003a, b). Members of the tribe Prionomyrmecini, including the fossil genera Prionomyrmex and Archimyrmex, together with the living Nothomyrmecia, have serrate, tightly-closing but non-overlapping mandibles, while Myrmecia species have curved mandibles with broadly-spaced teeth (Heterick 2009; Ward & Brady 2003). Members of the Myrmeciinae live in small colonies, with minimal functional differentiation between individuals. One species, Myrmecia inquilina, is a social parasite of other Myrmecia species that is not known to produce workers of its own (Heterick 2009).

Characters (from Ward & Brady 2003a): Mandibles multidentate and elongate, such that mandible length is three-quarters or more of head length. Palp formula 6, 4 (possibly reduced in Prionomyrmex janzeni). Clypeus with posteromesial protrusion between frontal carinae and antennal sockets. Eyes large, oval and conspicuously protruding from the surface of the head. First funicular segment less than, or approximately equal to, second funicular segment in length. Second funicular segment slender (more than twice as long as wide) and notably longer than the third funicular segment. Promesonotal suture flexible. Metacoxal cavities open (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown). Metapleural gland opening flanked above by carina-like flange and separated from ventral margin of metapleuron by a distance greater than the diameter of the opening (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown). Hind tibia with two apical spurs, the posterior one usually pectinate. Basitarsi of mid and hind legs with longitudinal sulcus. Tarsal claws bifurcate, with submedian tooth in addition to apical tooth. Petiole, postpetiole and abdominal segment 4 lacking tergosternal fusion (some fusion occurs anteriorly in the petiole of Nothomyrmecia). Third abdominal segment substantially smaller than fourth abdominal segment such that, when observed in profile under normal gastral distension, the height of third abdominal segment distinctly less than that of the fourth abdominal segment. Sting well developed (some reduction in Nothomyrmecia compared with Myrmecia). Alates with forewing Cu and M veins diverging at, or near, the cu-a crossvein; forewing crossvein m-cu joining M distad of divergence between M and Rs; forewing with two submarginal cells; hind wing jugal lobe present. Male with first antennal segment (scape) very short and stocky, such that scape length is about one-fifth of combined length of antennal segments 2–4; mesepisternum lacking distinct posterior oblique sulcus, at most a weak furrow present (condition in Prionomyrmex unclear); paramere divided by an oblique longitudinal suture into (i) an apical and ventromesial portion, to which the volsella is attached, and (ii) a proximal and dorsolateral portion (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown); aedeagus with posteroventral projection, armed at the apex with stout teeth or spines (condition in Prionomyrmex unknown).

    |--Prionomyrmecini [Nothomyrmecii] WB03a
    |    |--Prionomyrmex Mayr 1868 WB03a
    |    |    |--P. janzeni WB03a
    |    |    `--P. longiceps WB03a
    |    `--+--Nothomyrmecia Clark 1934 WB03a
    |       |    `--N. macrops WB03a
    |       `--Archimyrmex WB03b (see below for synonymy)
    |            |--*A. rostratus WB03b
    |            |--‘Ameghinoia’ piatnitzkyi WB03b
    |            `--‘Polanskiella’ smekali WB03b
    `--Myrmecia Fabricius 1804 (see below for synonymy) WB03a
         |--M. acuta H09
         |--M. analis H09
         |--M. apicalis Emery 1883 E14
         |--M. arnoldi H09
         |--M. callima H09
         |--M. cephalotes H09
         |--M. chasei H09
         |--M. clarki H09
         |--M. croslandi MG06
         |--M. desertorum H09
         |--M. dispar H09
         |--M. elegans H09
         |--M. erecta H09
         |--M. forceps H09
         |--M. forficata B88
         |--M. fulgida H09
         |--M. fulvipes WB03a
         |--M. fuscipes H09
         |--M. gratiosa H09
         |--M. gulosa H09
         |--M. hilli H09
         |--M. infima H09
         |--M. inquilina H09
         |--M. ludlowi H09
         |--M. mandibularis H09
         |--M. michaelseni H09
         |--M. mjobergi WB03a
         |--M. nigra H09
         |--M. nigriceps H09
         |--M. nigriscapa H09
         |--M. nigrocincta ZS10
         |--M. nobilis WB03a
         |--M. occidentalis H09
         |--M. pavida H09
         |--M. picta WB03a
         |--M. picticeps H09
         |--M. piliventris MS04
         |--M. pilosula WB03a
         |--M. pyriformis WB03a
         |--M. regularis WB03a
         |--M. rubripes H09
         |--M. rugosa H09
         |--M. swalei H09
         |--M. tarsata WB03a
         |--M. tepperi H09
         |--M. testaceipes H09
         |--M. urens H09
         |--M. varians WB03a
         `--M. vindex H09

Archimyrmex WB03b [incl. Ameghinoia Viana & Haedo Rossi 1957 WB03b, WB03a, Polanskiella Rossi de Garcia 1983 WB03b, WB03a]

Myrmecia Fabricius 1804 [incl. Halmamyrmecia Wheeler 1922, Pristomyrmecia Emery 1911, Promyrmecia Emery 1911; Myrmeciini] WB03a

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B88] Bouček, Z. 1988. Australasian Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera): A biosystematic revision of genera of fourteen families, with a reclassification of species. CAB International: Wallingford (UK).

[E14] Emery, C. 1914. Les fourmis de la Nouvelle-Calédonie & des îles Loyalty. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1, Heft IV, pp. 393–436, pl. 12. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[H09] Heterick, B. E. 2009. A guide to the ants of south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 76: 1–206.

[MS04] Majer, J. D., S. O. Shattuck, A. N. Andersen & A. J. Beattie. 2004. Australian ant research: fabulous fauna, functional groups, pharmaceuticals, and the Fatherhood. Australian Journal of Entomology 43 (3): 235–247.

[MG06] Mallatt, J., & G. Giribet. 2006. Further use of nearly complete 28S and 18S rRNA genes to classify Ecdysozoa: 37 more arthropods and a kinorhynch. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 772–794.

[WB03a] Ward, P. S., & S. G. Brady. 2003a. Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17: 361–386.

[WB03b] Ward, P. S., & S. G. Brady. 2003b. Corrigendum: Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17: 605.

[ZS10] Zborowski, P. & R. Storey. 2010. A Field Guide to Insects in Australia. Reed New Holland: Sydney.

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