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Species: Aphaenogaster longiceps   (Smith, 1858) 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Myrmica longiceps Smith, 1858a PDF: 128 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Victoria). Australasia. Primary type information: Primary type material: holotype worker. Primary type locality: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne (no collector’s name). Primary type depository: BMNH. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Combination in Aphaenogaster: Mayr, 1876 PDF: 98.
Combination in Aphaenogaster (Ischnomyrmex): Emery, 1888: 532 (footnote).
Status as species: Mayr, 1863a PDF: 433; Lowne, 1865b: 334; Mayr, 1876 PDF: 98; Mayr, 1877a: 20 (in list); Emery, 1888: 532 (footnote key); Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 103; Forel, 1899a PDF: 118; Forel, 1902j PDF: 439; Forel, 1907j PDF: 284; Forel, 1913h PDF: 187; Forel, 1915b PDF: 76; Emery, 1915k PDF: 71; Wheeler, 1916n PDF: 216 (redescription); Emery, 1921c PDF: 61; Crawley, 1922e: 19 (redescription); Clark, 1929b PDF: 121; Clark, 1934c PDF: 58; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 54; Taylor, 1987a PDF: 8; Bolton, 1995b: 70; Shattuck, 2008a PDF: 33 (redescription); Mohanraj et al., 2010 PDF: 6 (error); Guénard & Dunn, 2012 PDF: 40 (error); Bharti et al., 2016 PDF: 33 (error).
[Note: the entries by Mohanraj et al., 2010 PDF: 6; Guénard & Dunn, 2012 PDF: 40; Bharti et al., 2016 PDF, are most probably misidentifications as Shattuck, 2008a PDF: 33, restricts the distribution of Aphaenogaster longiceps to eastern and south-southern Australia.]

Taxon Page Images:

Aphaenogaster longiceps (Diamond Creek, Victoria, Australia).
Image copyright Alex Wild. // Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Asia: China, India, Nicobar Island
    Oceania: Australia
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Australasia, Indomalaya

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Shattuck, S. O., 2008, Australian ants of the genus Aphaenogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1677, pp. 25-45

Aphaenogaster longiceps (F. Smith)HNS

(Figs 9, 10, 27)

Myrmica longiceps F. SmithHNS, 1858: 128.

Aphaenogaster longicepsHNS: Mayr, 1876: 98.

Stenamma (Ischomyrmex) longiceps ruginota ForelHNS, 1902: 440 (synonymy by Wheeler, 1916: 217).

Aphaenogaster (Nystalomyrma) longiceps var. flava EmeryHNS, 1921: 61 (m.) syn. n.

Types. A. longiceps (Smith)HNS: Worker from Melbourne, Victoria (BMNH). A. longiceps ruginota ForelHNS: Worker and queen syntypes from New South Wales and Yarra District, Victoria (MHNG). A. flava EmeryHNS: Male from Queensland (not examined).

Diagnosis. Hairs on venter of head randomly distributed and not forming a distinct psammophore (Fig. 10); posterior margin of head broadly arched in full face view (Fig. 9); shorter erect hairs on mesosomal dorsum(especially those on mesonotum) with blunt tips; propodeal spines long, the dorsal surfaces of propodeum and propodeal spines connected through a gentle concavity (so that the base of each spine is at approximately the same level as the dorsal surface of the propodeum) (Fig. 10). The long scapes and blunt mesonotal hairs will separate this species from near relatives.

Description. Posterior margin of head broadly arched in full face view, the arch beginning at the occipital collar and with at most a weak angle separating the posterior and lateral margins of the head (often posterior and lateral margins forming a continuous surface). Hairs on venter of head randomly distributed and not forming a distinct psammophore. Mandibular sculpture composed of regularly sized striations. Shorter erect hairs on mesosomal dorsum (especially those on mesonotum) with blunt tips. Propodeal spines intermediate in length. Dorsal surfaces of propodeum and propodeal spines connected through a gentle concavity (so that the base of each spine is at approximately the same level as the dorsal surface of the propodeum). Petiolar node (in dorsal view) approximately square.

FIGURES 19-20. Fig. 19, eye length versus head width measurements for A. barbigula,HNS A. mediterraeHNS and A. poultoniHNS; Fig. 20, scape length versus head width measurements for A. barbigula,HNS A. mediterraeHNS and A. poultoniHNS.

FIGURES 21-22. Fig. 21, head length versus head width measurements for A. barbaraHNS and A. kimberleyensisHNS; Fig. 22, scape length versus head width measurements for A. barbaraHNS and A. kimberleyensisHNS.

Measurements. Worker (n = 10). CI 78-89; EI 19-24; EL 0.18-0.25; HL 0.99-1.43; HW 0.82-1.25; ML 1.50-2.07; MTL 1.04-1.41; SI 130-161; SL 1.31-1.71.

Material examined (in ANIC unless otherwise noted). Australian Capital Territory: Black Mountain (Taylor,R.W.; Taylor,R.W. & Bartell,R.J.; Greaves,T.); Black Mountain, near Haydon Drive (Berg,R.Y.); Bulls Head Rd., Brindabellas (Berg,R.Y.); Canberra (Hill,G.F.); Lake McKenzie (Barnett,N.J.); Naas (Greaves,T.); Paddys River (Greaves,T.). New South Wales: 12km S Cessnock (Lowery,B.B.); 16mi. ENE Coonabarabran (Greaves,T.); 16mi. S Tenterfield (Greaves,T.); 1km S Bateau Bay Faunal Res. (Lowery,B.B.); 3 mi. E Berry (Lowery,B.B.); 4km N The Entrance (Lowery,B.B.); 4km NE Mt. Wog Wog, 17km SE Bombala (Greenslade,P.J.M.; Margules,C.R.); 5km S St. Albans (Lowery,B.B.); 6mi. NE Bendemeer (Greaves,T.); 75km E Armidale (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Adams Lookout, near Bungonia (Berg,R.Y.); Appin (Greaves,T.); Armidale (Lowery,B.B.); Avon River State Forest (Gush,T.); Bald Knob SF., nr. Woodenbong (Lowery,B.B.); Beecroft Res., Jervis Bay (Naumann,I.D.); Belanglo State Forest (Gush,T.); Blackheath, Blue Mts. (Lowery,B.B.); Bodalla State Forest (Gush,T.); Brindabella HS (Shattuck,S.O.); Broadwater NP (Lowery,B.B.); Bugaldie (Lowery,B.B.); Burril Lakes (nr. Cockwhyte Ck) (Moran,R.J.); Burrinjuck Dam Sanctuary (Lowery,B.B.); ca. 2km S Byron Bay (Reichel,H.); Central Mangrove (Lowery,B.B.); Clyde Mountain (Berg,R.Y.); Colo Vale, nr. Mittagong (T.G.); Cowra (Lowery,B.B.); Dalrymple Forest, Pymble, Sydney; Dr. George Mt., 4km E of Bega (Lowery,B.B.); Durras (Shattuck,S.O.); Durras Lake (Greaves,T.); E foot of Brown Mt., Bega (Lowery,B.B.); East Boyd State Forest (Gush,T.); Faulconbridge (Gush,T.); Fitzroy Falls (McAreavey,J.); Galston (Willings); Gerroa, 8mi. S Kiama (Lowery,B.B.); Gilgai, 4mi. E Inverell (Lowery,B.B.); Goulburn (Lowery,B.B.); Gravel Pit Creek, Kaputar, Narrabri (Room,P.M.); Hawks Nest, Myall Lakes (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Hazelbrook (Wetherly,A.H.); Heathcote Nat. Pk (Gush,T.); Hume Hwy nr. Harden (Lowery,B.B.); Huskisson (Barnett,N.J.); Iluka (Lowery,B.B.); Jerrabomberra Hill nr. Queanbeyan (Taylor,R.W. & Weir,T.A.); Jervis Bay, between Huskisson and Vincentia (Berg,R.Y.); Kings Tableland, 5 km S Wentworth Falls (Lowery,B.B.); Kioloa, ANU Field Station (Shattuck,S.O.); Kiwarrak State Forest (Gush,T.); Lane Cove (Lowery,B.B.); Lansdowne (Gush,T.); Lawson (Lowery,B.B.); Legume (Armstrong,J.); Macquarie Pass (Greaves,T.); Mangrove Central (Lowery,B.B.); Mongarlowe (Gush,T.); Mooney Mooney Creek (Bridge) (Gush,T.); Mount Keira (Gush,T.); Mt. Flora nr. Mittagong (Taylor,R.W., Sadler,R. & Bartell,R.); Mt. Warning(Lowery,B.B.); Myall Lakes (Greenslade,P.J.M. & Fox,M.); Myall Lakes (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Myall Lakes, ML 1 (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Myall Lakes, ML 5 (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Myall Lakes, Mungo Brush (Greenslade,P.J.M.); New England Nat. Pk, Bullock Ck. (Taylor,R.W.); Newlands Ck., 10km W Merrimbula [Merimbula] (Lowery,B.B.); nr. Armidale, Newholme Road (Sakurai,Y.); nr. Hornsby, Galston Gorge (Greaves,T.); nr. Otford Stn, Royal NP (Ward,P.S.) (ANIC, PSWC); Nullica State Forest (Gush,T.); Ophir, nr. Orange (Taylor,R.W.); Pymble (McAreaveyJ.); Queanbeyan, Mt. Jerrabomberra (Taplin,I.C.); Royal National Park (Berg,R.Y.); Smiths Lake, Myall Lakes (Greenslade,P.J.M.); South Head, Moruya (Watson,J.A.L.); Sutherland(Wheeler); Sydney (Ward,P.S.) (ANIC, PSWC); Sydney, Gordon (Ward,P.S.) (ANIC, PSWC); Tambourine Bay Res., Sydney (Lowery,B.B.); Tantawangalo Mts. (Hill,G.F.); Tobbimoble SF [Tabbimoble State Forest] (Greaves,T.); Uralla (Lowery,B.B.); Wahroonga; Wallingat State Forest (Gush,T.); Wang Wauk State Forest (Gush,T.); Washpool National Park (Lowery,B.B.); Weddin Mountains Nat. Pk. (Ward,P.S.); Wentworth Falls (Wheeler,W.M.); Whiporie (Lowery,B.B.); Wollongbar (Lawrence,J.F.); Woodstock Cemetery approx. 1km S of Woodstock nr. Cowra (Prober,S.); Yarabal, 13km S Braidwood (Taylor,R.W.). Queensland: 22mi. ENE Condamine (Dowse,J.E.); 2mi. NNE Ballandean (Greaves,T.); 41km NE Inglewood (Gush,T.); Bauple, State Forest 958 (House,A.); Beaconsfield (T.G.); Boombana NP (Taylor,R.W. & Kohout,R.); Cedar Creek Falls Pk., Mt. Tamborine (Taylor,R.W.); Cooloola (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Burwilla (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Carlands Ck. (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Como (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Kabali W (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Mutyi (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Noosa Plain (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Noosa R. (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Plowman (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Rainforest (Greenslade,P.J.M.; Room,P.M.); Cooloola Natl. Pk., Warrawonga (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola, Chalamban [Chalambar] (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola, Kabali E (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Cooloola, Wide Bay (Greenslade,P.J.M.); Dawson Range, Blackdown Tableland (Kohout,R.J.); Duaringa; Fletcher (Barrett,J.H.); Frazer Island [Fraser Island] (Dick,M. & Hunt,P.); Landsborough (Taylor,R.W.); Monto (Gush,T.); Mt. D'Aguilar (Taylor,R.W.); Mt. Glorious (Lowery,B.B.; Taylor,R.W.); Mt. Moffat NP, Mahogany Forest (Monteith, Thompson & Yeates); Mt. Mort, Grandchester (Parlett,H.); Mt. Tamborine, Cedar Ck NP (Taylor,R.W.); Mt. Tamborine, Cedar Ck. Falls (Taylor,R.W.); summit Mt. Coot-tha, Brisbane (Lowery,B.B.); Tamborine Mt. nr. Witches Falls (Kohout,R.J.); Wallum, Cooloola (Room,P.M.). South Australia: 3mi. E Kongorong (Lowery,B.B.). Victoria: 10mi. N Nelson (Lowery,B.B.); 12km E Warburton (Newton,A. & Thayer,M.); Ferntree Gully (T.G.); Gellibrand (Clark,J.); Glenaladale Natl. Pk.; Grampians [The Grampians]; Melbourne; Mt. Buffalo NP, Eurobin Ck. (Newton,A. & Thayer,M.); nr. Baxter (Boulton,A.); Seville (Greaves,T.); Spring Vale [Springvale] (Greaves,T.).

FIGURE 23. Scape length versus head width measurements for A. pythiaHNS and A. reichelaeHNS.

Comments. This is one of the most commonly encountered species of AphaenogasterHNS in Australia. It occurs in a wide range of habitats from swampy coastal scrub, wet sclerophyll and rainforests through to dry sclerophyll and Callitris woodlands. Nests in sandy soil are often highly visible with large, funnel-shaped entrances while nests in firmer soils are less obvious with low, scattered soil around entrances. Nests are also found under rocks or other objects on the ground. Activity around nests is generally restricted to a few workers excavating soil or defending the nest entrance. Foraging activity seems to be limited with workers foraging singly and primarily near the nest. This species has an extensive literature, including the following: Banks (1916) (association with mites), Crawley (1922a: 122) (biology), Barrett (1927) (habits, as A. longipesHNS [sic]), Clark (1929: 121) (distribution), Clark (1934: 58) (distribution), Smith and Atherton (1944: 4) (biology, economic importance), Sloane and Sloane (1964) (nesting biology), Berg (1975) (seed dispersal), Imai, Crozier and Taylor (1977) (karyotype), Greenslade and Thompson (1981) (biology), Humphreys (1981) (relation to soils), Humphreys and Mitchell (1983) (relation to soils), Cowan et al. (1985) (relation to soils), Andersen (1988a) (relation to fire), Anderson (1988b) (relation to plants), Hughes and Westoby (1992a) (seed dispersal), Hughes and Westoby (1992b) (seed dispersal), Nicholls and McKenzie (1994) (distribution pattern) and York (1994) (relation to fire).

Emery's (1921) A. flavaHNS is here treated as a junior synonym of A. longicepsHNS. A. flavaHNS was established by indication based on a male from Queensland and figured in Emery (1914). Emery (1914) presented two figures, one identified as longicepsHNS from Queensland and the other as longiceps ruginotaHNS from Sydney. Emery (1921) based flavaHNS on the figure of longicepsHNS. Wheeler (1916) (before Emery established flavaHNS) stated that the differences between these males were "insignificant" and considered them to belong to the same taxon, longicepsHNS (he considered ruginotaHNS to be a synonym of longicepsHNS, a treatment supported during this study); he also mentions that the male of pythiaHNS is quite different. Unfortunately Emery (1921) gave no information on why he considered flavaHNS to be a distinct taxon.

FIGURES 24-29. Distribution of material examined during this study: Fig. 24, A. barbaraHNS; Fig. 25, A. barbigulaHNS; Fig. 26, A. kimberleyensisHNS; Fig. 27, A. longicepsHNS; Fig. 28, A. mediterraeHNS; Fig. 29, A. poultoniHNS.

FIGURES 30-31. Distribution of material examined during this study: Fig. 30, A. pythiaHNS; Fig. 31, A. reichelaeHNS.

In fact the males of longicepsHNS and pythiaHNS are very similar, differing mainly in colour and size (being larger and darker in longicepsHNS). The male of barbaraHNS, the only other species of AphaenogasterHNS known from Queensland, differs from both longicepsHNS and pythiaHNS in lacking a metanotal groove and in having the occipital collar rounded. The males of both longicepsHNS and pythiaHNS have distinct, angular metanotal grooves and the occipital collars are angular. What Wheeler (1916) considered to be the male of pythiaHNS may well have actually been the male barbaraHNS.

Emery's (1914) illustration of longicepsHNS gives little hint as to whether this male belongs to longicepsHNS or pythiaHNS, although barbaraHNS can be safely eliminated. The shape of the head does differ slightly between longicepsHNS and pythiaHNS, and Emery's figure resembles longicepsHNS more closely than pythiaHNS. Based on this flavaHNS is here treated as a synonym of longicepsHNS rather than pythiaHNS.

It should be noted that the name flavaHNS was overlooked for 74 years, until Bolton (1995) drew attention to it in his world catalogue. The name's obscurity was due to the cryptic way in which it was established. The name was based on a scant two lines of text, one consisting of " flava, EmeryHNS " and a second with a reference to Emery (1914). It is easy to see why the name was overlooked for such an extended period of time.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 27 times found in Dry sclerophyll, 4 times found in Wet sclerophyll, 3 times found in Sandstone scrub, 2 times found in Rainforest, 2 times found in Edge of rain forest, 1 times found in Dry open sclerophyll woodland, 1 times found in Med. dense sclerophyll, 1 times found in Paper bark swamp, 1 times found in abandoned pasture, 1 times found in Dry sclerophyll, box and Callytris, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 13 times Under rock, 4 times Under stone, 4 times In soil, 3 times slope, 2 times Craters, 2 times nest under rotten log, 2 times Nest in soil under stone, 2 times nest in soil, 2 times in leaf litter, 2 times ground nest, 1 times Ex. low coastal scrub, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 4 times Pitfall, 2 times direct collection, 1 times Berlesate, 1 times pitfall trap.

Elevations: collected from 3 - 1219 meters, 595 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1914-09-04 00:00:00.0 and 2017-01-03 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: syntype of Aphaenogaster longiceps: casent0900420; syntype of Aphaenogaster longiceps flava: casent0904157

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