ant fauna of Australia is especially large and diverse. World-wide,
there are 16 subfamilies, about 300 genera and about 15,000 described
species and subspecies of ants. Australia is currently known to have
representatives of 10 subfamilies, 101 genera and 1275 described species
While the numbers
of Australian subfamilies and genera are unlikely to increase significantly,
the number of species may well double as species-level studies are completed.
Thus Australia currently has representatives of two-thirds of the world’s
ant subfamilies, one-third of its genera and, as far as we know, about
15% of its species. A few of the genera found in Australia occur nowhere
else, and many are shared with only its closest neighbours. Most of
the species, however, are limited to Australia with only a minority
occurring in both Australia and neighbouring regions.
well with other regions of the world in terms of number of genera and
species, and in the number of groups which are unique to the region.
Australia has fewer genera than Central and South America and South-east
Asia (i.e. Malaysia to New Guinea), about the same number as the Orient
(i.e. Pakistan to Vietnam), and more than North America, Europe and
northern Asia and Africa. Central and South America and Africa have
of genera limited to a single region, South-east Asia and Australia
have about the same number of restricted genera, and Europe and northern
Asia, North America and the Orient have the fewest unique genera. When
comparing species, Australia has fewer than Central and South America,
Africa or South-east Asia, about the same number as Europe or northern
Asia, and more than North America or the Orient. For additional details,
see Bolton (1995).