Monomorium subapterum Wheeler 1917, Wheeler, 1917

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: 520-523

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Monomorium subapterum Wheeler 1917

stat. rev.

Monomorium subapterum Wheeler 1917   stat. rev.

( Fig. 7 View FIGURE 7 m–o, 9m –o, 10 a–c, 11g)

Monomorium subapterum Wheeler 1917: 112   –114. Syntypes, 3 workers, Western Australia, Harding R., Dodd (MCZ—‘Cotype 23234 ’), 3 males, 2 queens, same data, ( SAM). One worker ( MCZ, bottom point) here designated lectotype. The other 7 specimens here designated as paralectotypes.

Chelaner subapterum (Wheeler)   ; Ettershank, 1966: 97

Monomorium subapterum Wheeler   ; comb. Bolton, 1987: 300–301 Monomorium rothsteini Forel   ; synonymy by Heterick, 2001: 408.

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 0.68–0.82, HL 0.74–0.86, EL 0.14–0.2, PMH 0.27–0.35, PH 0.21–0.31, PNH 0.17–0.18, LHW 0.43–0.49, EW 0.10–0.12, PML 0.43–0.53, ML 0.64–0.88, PL 0.27–0.39, PNWdv 0.16–0.20.

Worker Description. Small species with a small, rectangular head; posterior cephalic margin shallowly depressed medially. Anterodorsal margin of the clypeus sinuous to almost straight, frontolateral carinae forming smooth ridges; anteroventral margin with or without a small median projection. Frons strigate, restricted to antennal lobes and area in between or with a few strigae only present on antennal lobes; coarse lateral cephalic strigae reach anterior eye margin or if not reaching then a few very fine strigae may reach eye margin. Eyes large, EW> 0.23 x LHW, 12–13 ommatidia in longest vertical axis, 11 in longest horizontal axis.

Mesonotum smooth and shining, metanotal groove sculpture extending just into lateral portion of posterior region in some specimens, in others with posterior mesonotum rugulose strigulate. Mesopleuron and lateral surface of propodeum alveolate, strigae restricted to metapleural gland bulla. Propodeum in lateral view with dorsolateral angles clearly forming an obtuse angle; dorsally with anterior transverse carinae weakly present, transverse and longitudinal strigae absent. Petiole node narrow, less than 2 x eye width when viewed from above; shape in posterior view tapering to a narrow point, in lateral view anterior and posterior faces converging to a narrowly rounded point. Petiole node smooth and shining, some specimens with fine reticulate sculpture along posterior basal margin, postpetiole without sculpture.T 1 completely smooth and without sculpture.

Head and mesosoma brown to very dark brown, dorsally infuscated in lighter specimens; mandibles light brown, legs brown to dark brown, trochanters and apical margins of femur and tibia distinctly lighter in colour than remainder of legs, antennal scapes and metasoma dark brown to very dark brown, lighter in colour than flagellum, cuticle with a high gloss.

Queen measurements (n= 2). HW 1.5–1.52, HL 1.35, EW 0.25–0.27, EL 0.35, ML 2.40–2.42, PeH 0.62–0.66, PNWdv 0.55–0.57, PPH 0.57.

Queen Description. Head triangular, broader behind the eyes that in front, vertex straight sculpture strigulate to smooth over frontal surface, laterally strigulate. Frontal clypeal margin very mildly concave. Mandibles strigate with a large apical and two smaller preapical teeth. When angled towards eye antennal scapes not surpassing dorsal eye margin.

Mesoscutum in profile evenly rounded from pronotum to scutellum, scutellum rounded and raise only slightly above surface of mesoscutum, surface smooth and shining except for pitted setal insertion points and lateral margins which are rugulose strigate. Pronotum finely reticulate, mesopleuron above central groove finely reticulate to smooth, strigate along posterior margin; below central groove medially reticulate, strigate on anterior and posterior third. Propodeum strigate with many raised ridges over entire surface, finely reticulate in between ridges on posterior surface. Petiole node triangular in profile, trapezoidal in posterior view with a rounded dorsal margin, petiole and postpetiole alveolate to reticulate, petiole laterally with transverse ridges on ventral half, postpetiole with irregular ridges on lateral and posterior surfaces. Metasomal tergites and sternites finely reticulate.

Colour entirely dark reddish-brown, head and mesosoma slightly darker than antennal scapes, anterior clypeal margin and metasoma. Head and mesosoma with many long and short, erect, dull setae except for a broad glabrous area of that spans entire length of mesoscutum.

Male Measurements (n= 3). HW 1.39–1.40, HL 1.0, EW 0.33, EL 0.45–0.46, ML 2.34–2.40, PeH 0.57–0.6, PNWdv 0.55–0.59, PPH 0.52–0.56.

Male Description. Head triangular with three ocelli. Eyes large, bulbous, oval in shape and positioned at an angle in lateral view such than longest axis point towards nearest lateral ocellus. Clypeus raised and rounded centrally, anterior margin straight. Mandibles with large apical tooth and two smaller teeth. When angled towards the eye antennal scapes, not surpassing dorsal eye margin. Sculpture coarsely rugose over entire surface, a few raised, transverse strigae present on clypeus and in between antennal insertion points.

Mesoscutum in profile evenly convex from anterior to posterior margin, sculpture coarsely aerolate-rugose tending towards rugulose-strigate anteriorly except for a narrow triangle that runs centrally from anterior margin to approximately one third of length is finely reticulate. Parapsidal lines present. Pronotum reticulate, rugose along dorsal margin. Scutellum large and bulbous with a central depression, sculpture aereolate-rugose. Mesopleuron aereolate, rugose along anterior margin to strigate along posterior margin. Propodeum aereolate laterally to reticulate on dorsal and posterior surfaces, a few raised ridges on ventral third of lateral surfaces. Petiole and postpetiole with a flattened dorsal surface in lateral view, in dorsal view with a small median depression giving a slightly bilobed appearance, sculpture aereolate to reticulate, rugulose strigate on posterior surface of petiole, and posterolateral corners of postpetiole, petiole only slightly taller than postpetiole.

Metasomal tergites and sternites finely reticulate over entire surface.

Head and mesosoma dark brown to black, mandibles, scape and femora and metasoma dark brown, antennal flagellum and remainder of legs and posterior margin of tergites light brown. Head mesosoma and ventral surface of legs and metasomal with large numbers of long, erect light brown setae except for central triangle on mesoscutum which is glabrous.

Distribution. This species has the broadest distribution of all the species dealt with here and can be found throughout most of the arid interior of Australia. Its range overlaps with M. eremoides   sp. nov., M. eremum   sp. nov., M. hoffmanni   sp. nov., M. humilior   , M. kidman   sp. nov., M. mayannae   sp. nov., M. oodnadatta   sp. nov., M. pilbara   sp. nov., M. speculum   sp. nov. and M. tenebrosum   sp. nov.

Remarks. See Remarks under M. bogischi   regarding the validity of the name M. subapterum   and Remarks under M. speculum   sp. nov., a species that is morphologically indistinguishable from M. subapterum   . The additional material examined here is considered to be conspecific with M. subapterum   and not M. speculum   sp. nov. as this material was genetically similar or identical to material that was taken from the type locality of M. subapterum   where M. speculum   was not found ( Sparks et al. 2014). Specimens of this species have been observed feeding at flowers of Melelauca sp. in the northwest of Australia.

COI sequences. Genbank accession numbers for this species are KC 572878 View Materials , KC 572885 View Materials KC 572888 View Materials , KC 572895 View Materials KC 572897 View Materials , KC 572901 View Materials , KC 572907 View Materials , KC 572909 View Materials , KC 572910 View Materials , KC 572922 View Materials , KC 572940 View Materials , KC 572946 View Materials , KC 572954 View Materials , KC 572960 View Materials KC 572965 View Materials , KC 572967 View Materials KC 572969 View Materials , KC 572971 View Materials KC 572976 View Materials , KC 572984 View Materials , KC 572987 View Materials KC 572991 View Materials and KC 572993 View Materials KC 572996 View Materials .

Additional material examined ( NTM, QM, SAM, WAM). Northern Territory. Davenport Ra., old policeman’s waterhole, - 20.7528, 135.1852, 9 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 88; Conkerberry paddock, Kidman   Springs, - 16.1167, 130.9667, May 2011, A. Andersen, ANA 11–19; ANA 11–20; ANA 11–21; Simpson's Gap, nr Alice Springs, - 23.6735, 133.7175, 11 Dec 2010, A. Andersen, ANA 11 – 2; ANA 11 – 7; Telegraph Station, Alice Springs, - 23.6693, 133.8835, 12 Dec 2010, A. Andersen, ANA 11 – 8; ANA 11 – 9; Uluru NP, - 25.3512, 131.0636, Oct 2011, A. Andersen, ANA 11–43; ANA 11–45; ANA 11–46; ANA 11–50. Queensland. Miyumbah Bush Camp, Lawn Hill NP, - 19.0182, 138.7215, 6 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 72 (QM). South Australia. Oodnadatta   Tk, 57km E Mala, - 27.2842, 134.1455, 15 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 110; Oodnadatta   Tk, 160km E Mala, - 27.3039, 135.0443, 15 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 116. Western Australia. Carnarvon Region, Callagiddy Rd turnoff, - 24.0308, 113.8408, Nov 2008, B. Heterick, BH002; 270 km S Broome, - 19.3643, 121.5371, 13 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 128; KSS 131;KSS 132; 80 Mile Beach caravan park, - 19.7552, 120.6717, 14 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 133; KSS 134; KSS 135; Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, Kimberley, - 17.5167, 126.1000, 7 Jul 2009, L. Marshall, ANA09– 39; 8 Jun 2009, L. Marshall, ANA09– 40; Port Hedland area, - 20.3795, 118.6387, 14 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 146; KSS 150; Port Hedland area, - 20.4058, 118.6964, 14 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 149; 85 km S Port Hedland, - 20.8579, 117.9785, 15 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 157; KSS 158; Point Samson, - 20.6267, 117.1969, 15 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 160; Honeymoon Cove, Point Samson, - 20.6356, 117.1964, 16 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 161; Roebourne, - 20.7732, 117.1468, 16 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 163; KSS 166; 4km S Newman, - 23.3657, 119.7839, 19 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 187; Meekatharra, - 26.5949, 118.4936, 19 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 194; Wiluna, - 26.5902, 120.2250, 21 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 210; KSS 211; KSS 214; KSS 215; Morapoi station, - 29.4033, 121.3779, 23 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 222; 72km S Leonora, - 29.5063, 121.2404, 23 Oct 2009, K.S. Sparks, C. Petit, KSS 224; KSS 225; KSS 231.


South African Museum


Museum of Comparative Zoology


University of Coimbra Botany Department


Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences


Western Australian Museum














Monomorium subapterum Wheeler 1917

Sparks, Kathryn S., Andersen, Alan N. & Austin, Andrew D. 2014

Monomorium subapterum

Heterick 2001: 408

Monomorium subapterum

Wheeler 1917: 112