Aphaenogaster poultoni Crawley

Shattuck, S. O., 2008, Australian ants of the genus Aphaenogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1677, pp. 25-45: 40-41

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Aphaenogaster poultoni Crawley


Aphaenogaster poultoni Crawley  HNS 

(Figs 6, 13, 14, 19, 20, 29)

Aphaenogaster poultoni Crawley  HNS  , 1922b: 17.

Types. Worker syntypes (10 in WAMP, examined) from Beenup [?=Beenyup Brook or Beenyup Swamp], Western Australia; 1 worker syntype without locality data in MVMA.

Diagnosis. Majority of hairs on venter of head located laterally and forming a distinct psammophore (Fig. 14); eye relatively small (EI less than 21, Fig. 19); scape relatively short (SI less than 106, Fig. 20); mandibular sculpture composed of irregularly sized striations (Fig. 6); petiolar node (in dorsal view) wider than long. This species is most similar to A. barbigula  HNS  . These two species can be separated by the pattern of sculpturing on the mandibles and the shape of the petiolar node.

There is a tendency for the head of A. poultoni  HNS  to be more square (when viewed in full face view, the lateral and posterior margins are separated by an angle) compared to both A. barbigula  HNS  and A. mediterrae  HNS  (in which the head is essentially uniformly arched behind the eyes in full face view). However, all species show moderate variation in the shape of the head with essentially identical morphologies being found in some individuals of all three species. Thus while this character is indicative of A. poultoni  HNS  it is not diagnostic.

Description. Posterior margin of head nearly flat in full face view, extending laterally of the occipital collar before passing through a distinct posterolateral corner into the lateral margin of the head. Majority of hairs on venter of head located laterally and forming a distinct psammophore, only scattered hairs on central portion. Mandibular sculpture composed of irregularly sized striations. Erect hairs on mesosomal dorsum tapering to sharp points. Propodeal spines reduced to small denticles or sharp angles. Petiolar node (in dorsal view) wider than long;

Measurements. Worker (n = 11). CI 86-98; EI 16-21; EL 0.16-0.22; HL 0.93-1.28; HW 0.85-1.18; ML 1.30-1.86; MTL 0.68-1.00; SI 90-105; SL 0.85-1.16.

Material examined (in ANIC unless otherwise noted). Western Australia: 100km E Norseman (Lowery,B.B.); 10km S Mullewa (Lowery,B.B.); 10mi. W Mullewa (Riek,E.F.); 160km ENE Esperance (Ward,P.S.) ( ANIC, PSWC); 180km N Geraldton, nr. Billabong Roadhouse (Lowery,B.B.); 20km S Norseman (Lowery,B.B.); 20km W York (Lowery,B.B.); 26mi. NWbyW Norseman (Taylor,R.W.); 3.2km SSW Dongara (Feehan,J.E.); Beenup [Beenyup] (Clark,J.); Beyerley (du Boulay,F.H., MCZC); Brookton Hwy, 20km E Boulders (Lowery,B.B.); Bungulla (Greaves,T.); Caron (Darlington,P.J., MCZC); Darlington (Glauert,G., MCZC); Geraldton (Lowery,B.B.; Mercovich,C.T.; Weatherill; Wheeler,W.M. ( ANIC, MCZC); Gayamin Pool, Lower Chittering (Wilson,E.O. and Douglas,A., MCZC); Israelite Bay (T.G.); Kalbarri Nat. Park (Lowery,B.B.); Kings Park, Perth (Clark,J., Lowery,B.B.) ( ANIC, MCZC); Moora (Lowery,B.B.); Mullewa (Wheeler,W.M., MCZC); National Park, Darling Range (Wheeler,W.M., MCZC); Perth (Clark,J.; Greaves,T.; Keirath,A.R.) ( ANIC, MCZC); Perth, Kings Park (Lowery,B.B.); Rockingham (Glauert,L., MCZC); Toodyay (Lowery,B.B.); Toolinna (Brooker,M.G.); Woongondy, 300mi. N Perth (Mercovich,C.T.).

Comments. This species is restricted to a narrow semi-arid band across south-western Western Australia (Fig. 29) and is sympatric with A. mediterrae  HNS  in south-central Western Australia (see Fig. 28). It is found in coastal scrub, Jarrah forests, dry sandy sclerophyll, mulga woodlands and mallee. Nests are in soil generally with a large crater at the entrance. An exceptionally large mating swarm was noted by McMillan (1977) (as A. barbigula  HNS  ).


Australia, Western Australia, Perth, Western Australian Museum


Australia, Victoria, Abbotsford, Museum of Victoria


Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra City, CSIRO, Australian National Insect Collection




USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology