Monomorium speculum Sparks

Sparks, Kathryn S., Andersen, Alan N. & Austin, Andrew D., 2014, Systematics of the Monomorium rothsteini Forel species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a problematic ant group in Australia, Zootaxa 3893 (4), pp. 489-529: 518-519

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Monomorium speculum Sparks


Monomorium speculum Sparks   , NEW SPECIES

( Fig. 7 View FIGURE 7 g–i, 11 f)

Holotype worker. Western Australia, Meekatharra, - 26.5949, 118.4936, 19 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 193 (deposited in WAM)

Paratypes. Western Australia. 20 workers, same data as holotype; 20 workers, Lake Annean, 40 km S Meekatharra, - 26.8879, 118.2850, 20 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 198; 6 workers, KSS 199; 5 workers, Niagara Dam, nr Kookynie, - 29.4052, 121.4293, 22 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 218 (deposited in MHNG, NMBA, SAM, WAM).

Diagnosis. A small, glossy dark brown species with large eyes and a slightly concave to sinuous clypeus. The mesonotum is without sculpture except in the posterior region, the propodeal dorsolateral angles clearly form an obtuse angle or are rounded and the petiole node is narrow.

Worker measurements (n= 9). HW 0.62–0.94, HL 0.68–0.98, EL 0.16–0.2, PMH 0.23–0.35, PH 0.21–0.29, PNH 0.14–0.19, LHW 0.39–0.57, EW 0.11–0.14, PML 0.43–0.60, ML 0.7–0.98, PL 0.31–0.43, PNWdv 0.16–0.21.

Worker Description. Small species with a small, rectangular head; posterior cephalic margin shallowly depressed to broadly v-shaped. Anterodorsal margin of the clypeus concave to sinuous with smooth frontolateral carinae forming ridges that do not extend anteriorly beyond anteroventral clypeal margin; anteroventral margin with or without a median projection. Sculpture on frons limited to a few strigae only present on antennal lobes; coarse lateral cephalic strigae reaching or not reach anterior eye margin. Eyes large, EW> 0.23 x LHW, 12 ommatidia in longest vertical axis, 10 in longest horizontal axis.

Mesonotum without sculpture except for posterior region with a few strigulae extending anteriorly from metanotal groove. Mesopleuron and propodeum alveolate with strigae extending over metapleural gland bulla and reaching metanotal groove. Propodeum in lateral view with dorsolateral angles clearly forming an obtuse angle; dorsal surface with anterior transverse carina absent in a majority of specimens, when present then weakly so; transverse and longitudinal strigae absent, longitudinal depression also absent, dorsolateral angles rounded. Petiole node width when viewed from above less than 2 x eye width; oval shaped in posterior view, when viewed laterally with anterior and posterior faces strongly converging to a narrowly rounded dorsum, posterior surface of petiole node without sculpture, smooth and shining. T 1 finely imbricate, covering at least anterior half of surface or completely smooth and without sculpture.

Head, mesosoma and legs light to dark brown, mandibles light brown, antennal scapes and metasoma dark brown to black, cuticle with a high gloss.

Distribution. This species range covers a large area of southern inland Western Australia. It overlaps in its distribution with M. subapterum   .

Etymology. The specific name is taken from the Latin word for “mirror” and refers to this species’ highly reflective cuticle.

Remarks. This species cannot be separated from M. subapterum   using morphology alone. Evidence for its separation from M. subapterum   comes from a species delimitation study undertaken by ( Sparks et al. 2014). Colonies of this species were found in a dry lake bed in central western Australian where workers were observed bearing minute gastropod shells into their nest.

COI sequences. Genbank accession numbers for this species are KC 572983 View Materials , KC 572985 View Materials , KC 572986 View Materials , KC 572992 View Materials and KC 572997 View Materials .

Additional material examined. Western Australia. Boondi rock, - 31.1814, 120.3851, 24 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 232; Lake Annean, 40km S Meekatharra, - 26.8879, 118.2850, 20 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 197, KSS 199.


University of Newcastle


Western Australian Museum


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


Naturhistorisches Museum der Benediktiner-Abtei


South African Museum


University of Coimbra Botany Department