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Species: Meranoplus variabilis   Schödl, 2007 

Classification:
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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Meranoplus variabilis Schödl, 2007: 403, figs. 44, 45, 74, 89 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Australasia. AntCat AntWiki

Distribution:

  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Oceania: Australia
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Australasia

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Schoedl,, 2007, Revision of Australian Meranoplus: the Meranoplus diversus group., Advances in ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage to E. O. Wilson - 50 years of contributions. (Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 80), pp. 370-424

Meranoplus variabilis SchoedlHNS sp. n.

(Figs. 44, 45, 74, 89)

HOLOTYPE WORKER. TL 5.20, HL 1.23, HW 1.40, FC 1.11, CS 1.31, SL 0.80, SI 1 57, SI 2 61, PML 1.0, PW 1.38, PMD 1.45, PMI 2 105 ML 1.25, PTLL 0.40, PTLH 0.55, PTDW 0.53, PPLL 0.40, PPLH 0.55, PPI 73, PPDW 0.55, PT / PP 95.

Mandible with four teeth. In full face view lateral sides of clypeal projection distinctly converging, anteriorly narrowly excavated with anterolateral corners produced into triangular blunt teeth, surpassing anterolateral frontal corners, the clypeal surface coarsely rugose, medially less structured. Head wider than long (CI 114), preoccipital margin shallowly concave. Frontal carinae moderately narrower than head width (FI 126), evenly sinuately narrowing towards clypeus. With head in profile antennal scrobe reaching beyond middle of lateral side of head, with distinct transverse carinulae at the rear, posteriorly ill defined against preoccipital section. Genae and ventrolateral sides of head rugoreticulate, preoccipital lobes reticulate. Eyes moderate in size (EL 0.31, REL 0.25, with 18 ommatidia in the longest row), situated in front of lateral sides of head, the dorsal ocular margin touching the ventral scrobal margin. Dorsal surface of head almost entirely reticulate, only frons anteriorly rugose, without any further microsculpture.

Promesonotal shield somewhat square, distinctly wider than long (PMI 138), projections except posterior bluntly rounded ones well developed and more or less acute, margins overhanging lateral mesosomal sides and propodeal declivity. Propodeal spines moderate in length (PSL 0.44), narrowly and acutely triangular, in dorsal view more or less straight and distinctly diverging.

Petiole in lateral view broadly trapezoid, higher than long (PTI 73), with straight anterior and posterior faces roundly meeting feebly oblique reticulate dorsum. Postpetiole nodiform with small antero-basal tooth.

Gaster shiny, entire first gastral tergite densely and evenly microreticulate, at base with irregular carinulae. Dorsal surfaces covered with a layer of short decumbent and longer more or less erect soft hairs.

Strictly bicolored with similar patterns as in preceding species.

WORKERS (n = 9). TL 4.05 - 6.05, HL 1.15 - 1.25, HW 1.23 - 1.40, FC 0.95 - 1.11, FI 126 - 129, CI 107 - 115, CS 1.19 - 1.33, SL 0.70 - 0.80, SI 1 56 - 60, SI 2 59 - 63, PML 0.85 - 1.0, PW 1.13 - 1.38, PMI 125 - 147, PMD 1.20 - 1.45, PMI 2 104 - 113, ML 1.08 - 1.28, PSL 0.36 - 0.48, PTLL 0.35 - 0.40, PTLH 0.51 - 0.58, PTI 64 - 73, PTDW 0.43 - 0.53, PPLL 0.33 - 0.40, PPLH 0.48 - 0.58, PPI 61 - 73, PPDW 0.45 - 0.55, PT / PP 85 - 95, EL 0.27 - 0.31, REL 0.23 - 0.27, with 17 - 18 ommatidia in the longest row.

ETYMOLOGY

The name refers to the variable overall shape of the species.

TYPE MATERIAL

Holotype worker, South Australia: ' S. Aust. - Cullyamurra WH Coopers Creek GoogleMaps 140 ° 50 ' E 27 ° 42 ' S 21 - 24. ix. 1990 J. Shaw ANZSES Surv. ' (SAMA). Paratypes. 6 workers, same data as holotype (ANIC, SAMA, NHMW) GoogleMaps.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL EXAMINED

South Australia: Mount Barry Stn. , 4.3 km SSE Jimmy WH , 18. - 21. ix. 1996 (coll. unknown); 4 km N Halifax Hill , 29. ix. - 5. x. 1995 (coll. unknown); Mount Aroona , 2. - 5. xii. 1997 (coll. unknown); 19.9 km WNW Indulkana , 25. - 31. x. 1998 (coll. unknown); Murnpeowie , Weathered Hill , 3 km ENE 18. xi. 1992 (R. Brandle); Murnpeowie , Mount Hopeless , 15. / 16. xi. 1994 (R. Tynan); Flinders Ranges , Oraparinna , 15. ix. 1971 (P. J. M. Greenslade); Moockra Tower , 7. x. 1974 / 13. x. 1980 (P. J. M Greenslade); Monarto Zoological Park , c 50 km E Adelaide , 2. xii. 2003 (coll. unknown); 26 km ENE Mimilli , 25. - 31. x. 1998 (coll. unknown); 12.5 km W Mimilli , pitfalls, 20. - 24. iii. 1993 (coll. unknown); 2 km S Wares Peak , 5. x. 1995 (coll. unknown). New South Wales: Mungindi , 21. i. 1966 (B. B. Lowery); Moulamein , 29. viii. 1970 (B. B. Lowery); N Nyngan ' Kapunda' , 5. - 6. v. 1987 (P. J. M. Greenslade). Northern Territorry: 9 km E Curtin Springs , 20. xi. 1977 (J. E. Feehan); Tanami Rd. , 35 km W Stuart Hwy. , 5. vii. 2003 (Snelling). (60 workers, 2 gynes in ANIC, LACM, NHMW, SAMA).

DISCUSSION

A variable taxon regarding the outline of the promesonotal shield as well as the shape of the petiole, the length and shape of the propodeal spines and pilosity. For this reason numerous of the material, namely from Indulkana, Murnpeowie, Monarto, Mimilli and Wares Peak is here only provisionally added. Further samples are needed to elucidate whether more than one species is involved. Nonetheless, typical material is well defined by the forward oriented clypeal projection together with the box-shaped petiole. Distributed from central to south-east Australia, partly sympatrically occuring with M. angustinodisHNS, reaching further to the north and east.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Type specimens: paratype of Meranoplus variabilis: casent0919726



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