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(Figs. 14, 15, 59, 78, 94)
Meranoplus marsHNS Forel, 1902: 454 ( Charters Towers , Queensland; worker). - Taylor & Brown, 1985: 68 (catalogue), Taylor, 1987: 39 (listed), Bolton, 1995: 251 (catalogue), Shattuck, 1999: 143 (listed). Lectotype worker (MHNG, here designated), ' Typus [printed on red label] \ M. Mars [? ' type'; illegible] Forel Chartesr Towers [? ' ou' or ' ost'] Queensland (Wiederkehr) [handwritten] \ sp. M. Mars Forel [handwritten] \ Coll. Forel [printed] '; 3 paralectotypes in ANIC, MHNG, NHMB.
WORKERS (n = 16). TL 5.45 - 6.50, HL 1.35 - 1.63, HW 1.45 - 1.78, FC 1.23 - 1.50, CS 1.43 - 1.69, SL 0.80 - 0.95, SI 1 52 - 59, SI 2 55 - 61, PML 1.0 - 1.3, PW 1.25 - 1.55, PMD 1.32 - 1.63, PMI 2 102 - 111, ML 1.35 - 1.65, PTLL 0.40 - 0.48, PTLH 0.55 - 0.65, PTDW 0.45 - 0.59, PPLL 0.33 - 0.43, PPLH 0.55 - 0.68, PPI 57 - 68, PPDW 0.45 - 0.60, PT / PP 93 - 105.
Mandible with three teeth. Clypeus in full face view anteriorly tridentate, the median tooth frequently reduced to a blunt bulge, or all three teeth reduced to short blunt dents, moderately surpassing anterolateral frontal corners. Head moderately wider than long (CI 104 - 113), preoccipital corners evenly rounded, rear margin with shallow depression. Frontal carinae posteriorly almost parallel-sided, anteriorly broadly rounded and evenly narrowed towards clypeus, not distinctly narrower than head width (FI 115 - 122). Antennal scrobe in lateral view posteriorly reaching far beyond middle of head, feebly to distinctly transversely carinulate in posterior half, occasionally with additional shagreening, posteriorly distinctly demarcated from remainder of head. Genae and ventrolateral sides of head carinate to rugose, preoccipital lobes reticulate. Compound eyes rather large (EL 0.26 - 0.33, REL 0.18 - 0.21, with 16 - 19 ommatidia in the longest row) situated at about middle of lateral sides of head, dorsal ocular margin confluent with ventral scrobal margin.
Promesonotum moderately wider than long (PMI 112 - 129), only pronotum narrowly translucently margined, propodeal declivity partly visible from above. Anterior mesonotal projections hook-like, posterolateral and postrior teeth more or less acute and narrow, mesonotum posteriorly distinctly indented. Propodeal spines of moderate length (PSL 0.48 - 0.65), slightly arcuate and acute, distinctly diverging when seen from above.
Petiole higher than long (PTI 71 - 80), in profile triangular with anterior face straight and unsculptured, posterior face convex, distinctly and regularly costate. Postpetiole elongately nodiform distinctly tapering towards base, with ventral medium sized tooth, rugose throughout. First gastral tergite with dense microreticulum, basally with additional scattered carinulae.
Dorsum of head regularly costate, with few oblique transverse meshes, at very rear reticulate; interspaces with microsculpture. Promesonotal shield elongately rugose to rugoreticulate. All dorsal surfaces with short decumbent arcuate and long outstanding (> 500 µ m) thin hairs.
Northern Territory: Kunoth Polk nr Alice Spings , 14 - 17. ii. 1975 (P. J. M. Greenslade); 17 mi NW Hamilton Downs H. S. , 9. iv. 1963 (McInnes & Dowse). Queensland: Tingoora , Chinchilla Rd. , 4. vi. 1959 (coll. unknown); Townsville , 1952 (S. Couleth); St George's , nr. Balonne River , 18. i. 1966 (B. B. Lowery); 45 km N Bowen , Bruce H'way , 7. iv. 1981 (B. B. Lowery). New South Wales: Mungindi , 21. i. 1966 (B. B. Lowery). South Australia: Innamincka , 8.3 km SSW Candradecka Dam , 10. - 14. xi. 1996 (coll. unknown); 2.8 km NNW Four Hills Trig , 1. - 5. iii. 1996 (coll. unknown); 2.9 km SW Big Blyth Bore , 1. - 5. iii. 1996 (coll. unknown); Allendale Stn. , 10 km NNW Ucutanna Hill , 13. - 17. xi. 1995 (coll. unknown); 6.3 km E Unducurra Hill , Eringa Stn. , 14. - 17. xi. 1995 (coll. unknown); Innamincka , 6.6 km SW Table Hill , 4. - 9. xi. 1997 (coll. unknown); Cowarie , 5 km NE Witchinna WH, 29. iv. 1995 (Brandle); 3 km NW Apollo Bore , iv. 1995 (coll. unknown); Murnpeowie , 1 km WSW Mt Playford , 11. xi. 1994 (J. Reid); Mulga View Stn. , 6.3 km SSE Mulga View H. S. (coll. unknown) (59 workers, 4 gynes in ANIC, NHMW, SAMA, UQIC).
M. marsHNS is distinct by the clypeal structure, by the hook-like posteriorly directed mesonotal spines in additon with the strongly diverging propodeal spines. M. wilsoniHNS, with which it occurs sympatrically partly has the clypeus bidentate and never with an additional medial bulge and less diverging propodeal spines. Distributed from south-central to north-east coastal Australia.
Type specimens: Lectotype of Meranoplus mars: casent0908943