CSIRO logo
   Australian National Insect Collection Database
Skip Navigation Links
Taxon DatabaseExpand Taxon Database
ANIC Home
Entomology Home
CSIRO Home

 



Comparing the Following Taxa

Aenictinae
  These ants can be recognised by the lack of compound eyes (Figs 1aa, 2), the ten-segmented antennae, the mesosoma being attached to the gaster by two distinct segments, the petiole and postpetiole (Fig. 3) and the lack of frontal lobes which makes the antennal sockets completely visible when viewed from the front (Figs 1bb, 2). The overall size is small and ranges from about 2.5 mm to 4.0 mm long. 
Amblyoponinae
   
Aneuretinae
   
Cerapachyinae
  The frontal lobes are reduced so that the antennal sockets are completely visible when viewed from the front (Fig. 326).  The petiole is composed of a single segment and the gaster has a distinct constriction between the first and second segments (and sometimes between the remaining segments as well) (Fig. 327).  A row of small spines or peg-like teeth (pygidial teeth) are present on the upper surface of the gaster near the tip (Fig. 25a).
The spines or pegs at the tip of the gaster are always present and will separate these ants from all others.  However, in many species the spines are short and can be partly hidden by much longer, thinner hairs that are also present at the tip of the gaster.  A close inspection from the side of the gaster may be required to see these small spines in some species.
 
Dolichoderinae
  The mesosoma is attached to the gaster by a single distinct segment, the petiole (Fig. 19a). The gaster is smooth, without constrictions between the segments (Fig. 19a). The sting is absent and the tip of the gaster is slit-like and without a circular opening (an acidopore) (Figs 33aa, 34aa). Species of Dolichoderinae are most often confused with species of the subfamily Formicinae because both have a single segmented petiole, lack a sting and are often similar in overall body size and shape This is especially true for the smaller species such as those in Doleromyrma and Tapinoma. However, dolichoderines can always be separated from formicines because the tip of the gaster has a slit-like opening (Figs 33aa, 34aa) while all formicines have a small circular opening (Figs 31a, 32a). 
Dorylinae
   
Ectatomminae
   
Formicinae
  The mesosoma is attached to the gaster by a single distinct segment, the petiole (Figs 19a, 385). The gaster is smooth, without constrictions between the segments (Fig. 19b). The sting is absent and the tip of the gaster has a small circular opening (an acidopore) which is often surrounded by a ring of short hairs (Figs 31a, 32a). Species of Formicinae are most often confused with species of the subfamily Dolichoderinae because both have a single segmented petiole, lack a sting and are often similar in overall body size and shape. This is especially true for the smaller species such as those in Plagiolepis. However, formicines can always be separated from dolichoderines because the tip of the gaster has a small circular opening (Figs 31a, 32a) while all dolichoderines have a slit-like opening (Figs 33aa, 34aa). 
Heteroponerinae
   
Incertae sedis
   
Leptanillinae
  The compound eyes are absent (Figs 39aa, 451). The frontal lobes are always absent so that the bases of the antennae are completely visible where they are inserted into the head when viewed from the front (Figs 39bb, 451). The pronotum and mesonotum are unfused and with a flexible joint between them (Fig. 452). The mesosoma is attached to the gaster by two distinct segments, the petiole and postpetiole (Fig. 452). The overall body size is minute, less than 2.5 mm long, and the colour is pale yellow. 
Myrmeciinae
  This subfamily contains two distinct groups.  In the first group the mesosoma is attached to the gaster by two distinct segments, the petiole and postpetiole.  The mandibles are very long, more or less straight, with teeth along their entire inner margin, and attached near the outer corners of the front margin of the head.
These are some of the largest and most distinctive ants in Australia and are commonly known as bull dog ants and jack jumpers.  They are immediately recognisable by their large body size (over 8 mm), large eyes and elongate mandibles.  They are unlikely to be confused with any other Australian ants.

In the second group the mandibles are triangular, elongate and with more than 15 teeth along their inner margins. The petiole is composed of a single segment which is about the same length as the first segment of the gaster. The gaster is smooth, without constrictions between the segments. A sting is present at the tip of the gaster (although it may be retracted and difficult to see). These are the only ants with a sting and without a postpetiole or constriction between the first and second gastral segments.  

Myrmicinae
  The mesosoma is attached to the gaster by two distinct segments, the petiole and postpetiole (Fig. 21aa). The mandibles are generally triangular (Fig. 36aa), but if they are elongate then there are no teeth along the inner margin and they are attached near the middle of the front margin of the head (Fig. 37cc). The eyes are almost always present, conspicuous and with many facets (Fig. 211aa) but are absent in a few species (Fig. 210a). The frontal lobes are always present and expanded towards the sides so they cover the inner part of the antennal bases where they are inserted into the head when viewed from the front (Fig. 38b). The pronotum and mesonotum are fused into a single plate (Fig. 41aa). Species of myrmicines are most likely to be confused with species of Leptanilla or Tetraponera because of the two segmented petiole. However, both Leptanilla and Tetraponera have the pronotum and mesonotum unfused and with a flexible joint between them (Fig. 40d), while in all myrmicines these two plates are fused into a single structure (Fig. 41aa). 
Ponerinae
  The mesosoma is attached to the gaster with a single distinct segment, the petiole (Figs 1a, 2aa). The gaster usually has a slight but distinct impression between the first and second segments (Fig. 1b, 2bb). In some cases (species of Discothyrea <discothyrea/discothyrea.htm> and Proceratium <proceratium/proceratium.htm>) the gaster is highly modified and the impression is weak or essentially absent, but in these the tip of the gaster is directed downwards and located along the lower surface of the body (Fig. 3a). In a few other cases (species of Odontomachus <odontomachus/odontomachus.htm>) the gaster is smooth and uniform, but here the mandibles are elongate and straight, with teeth only at the extreme tip, and attached close together along the front margin of the head (Fig. 4a). The upper surface of the tip of the gaster (the pygidium) is rounded and lacks a row of spines or teeth on its outer and trailing edge. The sting is present (although often retracted and difficult to see) (Fig. 1, 2).
Most species in this large and diverse subfamily can be identified by the presence of a single-segmented petiole combined with a constriction between the first and second segment of the gaster. In the few cases where the constriction is weak or absent (Discothyrea <discothyrea/discothyrea.htm> and Odontomachus <odontomachus/odontomachus.htm>), the overall shape of the gaster or the shape of the head can be used to identify these ants (see above for details).

 

Proceratiinae
   
Pseudomyrmecinae
  The mesosoma is attached to the gaster by two distinct segments, the petiole and postpetiole (Fig. 3). The mandibles are triangular and relatively short (Fig. 2). The eyes are large and elongate (Figs 1b, 2). The pronotum and mesonotum form separate plates which are connected by a flexible joint (Figs 1a, 3).
These distinctive ants are recognisable by their elongate, black bodies, large eyes and short antennae. The are most often confused with species in the subfamily Myrmicinae <../myrmicinae/myrmicinae.htm>, but differ in the pronotum and mesonotum forming separate plates rather than being fused as in the myrmicines.
 
Unplaced
   

 

Web site by Steve Shattuck and Natalie Barnett, © Copyright 2005-2019 CSIRO Australia.
Use and information subject to our Legal Notice and Disclaimer. Problem? Contact webmaster.
Please cite this page as: CSIRO, 2019. Australian National Insect Collection Taxon Database, viewed 26 August 2019, <http://anic.ento.csiro.au/database>.