Overview

Comprehensive Description

Genus 7. MYRMECIA HNS .

Formica HNS , pt., Fabr. Ent. Syst. ii. 363 (1793).

Myrmecia HNS , Fabr. Syst. Piez. 423 (1804).

Mandibles elongate, porrect, serrated on the inner edge alternately with large and small teeth, tips curved inwards and acute at the apex; maxillary palpi 6-jointed, the labial palpi 4-jointed; antennae filiform, as long as the head and thorax; eyes large, ovate, prominent, situated forwards at the sides of the head, nearly touching the base of the mandibles; ocelli present in all the sexes. Thorax elongate; anterior wings with one complete marginal, three complete submarginal, and two discoidal cells. Abdomen with two ovate nodes in the petiole. Pupae enclosed in cocoons.

This genus of Ants appears to be confined to the continent of Australia and to Tasmania.

  • Smith, F. (1858): Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London, British Museum: 143-143, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/8127/8127.pdf
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Characteristics

With the following apomorphies (Bolton 2003):
  • Clypeo-labral hinge fully exposed; dorsum of labrum projects anteriorly between the mandibular bases
  • Eyes large and situated anteriorly on head, their anterior margins very close to the posterior clypeal border
  • Second funicular segment elongate and slender

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Formica , pt., Fabr. Ent. Syst. ii. 363 (1793).

 

Myrmecia , Fabr. Syst. Piez. 423 (1804).

 

Mandibles elongate, porrect, serrated on the inner edge alternately with large and small teeth, tips curved inwards and acute at the apex; maxillary palpi 6-jointed, the labial palpi 4-jointed; antennae filiform, as long as the head and thorax; eyes large, ovate, prominent, situated forwards at the sides of the head, nearly touching the base of the mandibles; ocelli present in all the sexes. Thorax elongate; anterior wings with one complete marginal, three complete submarginal, and two discoidal cells. Abdomen with two ovate nodes in the petiole. Pupae enclosed in cocoons.

 

This genus of Ants appears to be confined to the continent of Australia and to Tasmania.

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Smith, F.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 21
Specimens with Sequences: 21
Specimens with Barcodes: 20
Species: 11
Species With Barcodes: 11
Public Records: 14
Public Species: 11
Public BINs: 11
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Myrmecia vindex

Myrmecia vindex is a species of Myrmecia which is native in Australia. The Myrmecia vindex was collected and described by Frederick Smith in 1858.[1]

Appearance[edit]

Myrmecia vindex's are around 21 millimetres long on average, and they have normally have a red head, and a block abdomen. Their mandibles are long, strongly toothed, and appears in a yellow palish colour.[2]

References[edit]


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Myrmecia

For other uses, see Myrmecia (disambiguation).

Myrmecia, often called bulldog ants, bull ants, inch ants, sergeant ants, jumper ants or jack-jumpers (although jack jumper only applies to members of the M. pilosula species group), is a genus of ants. Bull ants can grow to over 40 mm (1.6 in) in length, with the smallest species 15 mm (0.59 in) long. Almost all of the approximately 90 species are endemic to Australia, with the single exception of Myrmecia apicalis from New Caledonia, where it is rare.[3]

Biology[edit]

A winged female bulldog ant
Head detail

These ants are well known in Australia for their aggressive behaviour and powerful stings.[3] The ant Myrmecia pyriformis has also been listed as the worlds most dangerous ant by Guinness World Records.[4] The venom of these ants has the potential to induce anaphylactic shock in allergic sting victims. As with most severe allergic reactions, the reaction may be lethal if left untreated. These large, alert ants have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles. They have superior vision, able to track and even follow intruders from a distance of 1 m.[3] Myrmecia is one of several ant genera which possess gamergates, female worker ants which are able to mate and reproduce, thus sustaining the colony after the loss of the queen. A colony of Myrmecia pyriformis without queen was collected in 1998 and kept in captivity, during which time the gamergates produced viable workers for three years.[5]

Diet[edit]

Detail of head and mandibles

Bull ants eat small insects, honeydew (a sweet, sticky liquid found on leaves, deposited from various insects), seeds, fruit, fungi, gums, and nectar. Because they mostly live exclusively in bushland, they are rarely exposed to a human-influenced diet. The adult ants mainly eat nectar and honeydew, but the ant larvae are carnivores that eat small insects brought back to them by hunting worker ants. The workers can also regurgitate food back in the nest so other ants can consume it.[6]

Carpenter ants (Camponotus) are fed on by bull ants, but this is a dangerous quarry as carpenter ants are able to release chemical signals to bring further reinforcements, which bull ants lack, nor do they have any scent trails as they forage independently.[7][8] Predators of the bull ant are other ants, spiders, lizards, birds and other animals.[9] Assassin bugs, redback spiders and the Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus Aculeatus) are also known to hunt bull ants.[9][10]

Philosophy[edit]

The bull ant famously appears in the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's major work, The World as Will and Representation, as a paradigmatic example of strife and constant destruction endemic to the "will to live".

"But the bulldog-ant of Australia affords us the most extraordinary example of this kind; for if it is cut in two, a battle begins between the head and the tail. The head seizes the tail in its teeth, and the tail defends itself bravely by stinging the head: the battle may last for half an hour, until they die or are dragged away by other ants. This contest takes place every time the experiment is tried."[11]

Species[edit]

M. gulosa
Winged specimens leaving the nest
Winged specimens leaving the nest

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ITIS standard report - Myrmecia (Fabricius, 1804)". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Bolton, B. (2014). "Myrmecia". AntCat. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Ants Down Under: Genus Myrmecia
  4. ^ "Most Dangerous Ant". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Dietemann, V.; Peeters, C; Hölldobler, B. (2004). "Gamergates in the Australian ant subfamily Myrmeciinae"". Naturwissenschaften 91 (9): 432–435. 
  6. ^ New, Tim R. (30 August 2011). ‘In Considerable Variety’: Introducing the Diversity of Australia’s Insects. Springer. p. 104. ISBN 978-8132218340. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Moffett, Mark W. "Bulldog Ants". ngm.nationalgeographic.com. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Formicidae - Ants". Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Entomology. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Myrmecia". Australian Ants. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Spencer, Chris P.; Richards, Karen (2009). Observations on the diet and feeding habits of the short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus Aculeatus) in Tasmania. Collinsvale, Tasmania: The Tasmanian Naturalist. p. 39. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  11. ^ The World as Will and Representation
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