Monomorium eremum 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: 502-503

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Monomorium eremum Sparks


Monomorium eremum Sparks   , NEW SPECIES

( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 m–o, 11 b)

Holotype worker. Northern Territory, 33km N Barkley Hmstd, - 19.4512, 135.9795, 7 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 77 (deposited in NTM).

Paratypes. Northern Territory. 9 workers, same data as holotype; 10 workers, same data as holotype KSS 78; 12 workers, Stuart Hwy, 44km N Barrow Ck, - 21.2165, 134.1349, 10 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 91; 14 workers, Tanami Tk, 50km from Stuart Hwy, - 23.5097, 133.3840, 12 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 93; 20 workers KSS 94; 20 w, Tanami Rd, 150km from Stuart Hwy, - 23.2746, 132.9335, 12 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 98; 16 workers, Kintore Rd, 45km W Tanami Rd, - 23.2685, 132.4263, 13 Jun 2009, K.S. Sparks, KSS 106; 4 workers, Uluru NP, - 25.3512, 131.0636, Oct 2011, A. Andersen, ANA 11–40; 6 w, ANA 11–41; 4 workers ANA 11–42 (deposited in MHNG, NMBA, NTM, QM, SAM, WAM).

Diagnosis. A large, very dark brown glossy species with large eyes and a heavily sculptured mesonotum. This species cannot be separated from M. eremoides   using morphology however, both M. eremoides   and M. eremum   are two of the most distinctive species in the M. rothsteini   complex and can be distinguished from all other species by combination of dark cuticular colour, sinuous clypeal margin and sculptured mesonotum.

Worker measurements (n= 9). HW 0.84–0.86, HL 0.90–0.98, EL 0.2–0.22, PMH 0.29–0.35, PH 0.27–0.33, PNH 0.18–0.23, LHW 0.51–0.57, EW 0.13–0.14, PML 0.53–0.60, ML 0.94–1.03, PL 0.43–0.47, PNWdv 0.21–0.27.

Worker Description. Large species with a medium sized, rectangular head, posterior cephalic margin mildly depressed centrally to almost straight. Anterodorsal margin of the clypeus sinuous to almost straight, frontolateral carinae forming smooth ridges; anteroventral margin without a small median projection, margin appears straight. Sculpture on frons limited to a few strigae only present on antennal lobes; coarse lateral cephalic strigae reach anterior margin of eye or if not reaching, with a few very fine strigae reaching eye margin. Eyes large and bulbous, EW> 0.23 x LHW, 15 ommatidia in longest vertical axis, 12 in longest horizontal axis

Mesonotum strigate/rugose over most of surface posteriad of promesonotal suture; metanotal groove deep and broad. Mesopleuron alveolate, dorsally with strigae extending from metanotal groove to promesonotal suture. Propodeum in lateral view with dorsolateral angles almost forming a right angle; posterior margin appears vertical, propodeum appears long and rectangular; sculpture alveolate, laterally with strigae curving from metanotal groove on to dorsal surface, extending over metapleural gland bulla to metanotal groove and over posterior half; dorsally with longitudinal strigae mostly absent, posterodorsal corners prominent and diverging; posterolateral corners with sharp carinae that extend from propodeal lobe onto dorsal surface. Petiole node narrow, less than 2 x eye width when viewed from above; shape in posterior view tapering from widest point just below midline and narrowly rounded dorsally, in lateral view anterior and posterior faces converging to rounded point. Posterior surface of petiole node without sculpture, rarely with fine reticulation along basal posterior margin only, postpetiole with fine reticulation. T 1 commonly with very fine reticulate pattern covering most of surface, rarely smooth and shining.

Dorsal surface of head and antennal scapes dark chestnut brown, ventral surface of head and area laterad of clypeus, mandibles and antennal flagellum light brown, mesosoma and legs dark brown although lighter than dorsal surface of head, metasoma very dark brown, almost black, cuticle with a high gloss.

Distribution. This species has a widespread distribution that spans the northwestern and central desert region of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Its range overlaps with M. eremoides   sp. nov. and M. subapterum   .

Etymology. The specific name is taken from the Latin word for desert wilderness.

Remarks. See remarks under M. eremoides   sp. nov..

COI sequences. Genbank accession numbers for this species are KC 572904 View Materials KC 572906 View Materials , KC 572941 View Materials , KC 572942 View Materials and KC 572948 View Materials –KC 57952.

Additional material examined. See M. eremoides   .


University of Newcastle


Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


Naturhistorisches Museum der Benediktiner-Abtei


South African Museum


Western Australian Museum


University of Coimbra Botany Department