Dolichoderus australis André

Shattuck, Steven O. & Marsden, Sharon, 2013, Australian species of the ant genus Dolichoderus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Zootaxa 3716 (2), pp. 101-143: 108-110

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Dolichoderus australis André


Dolichoderus australis André 

( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3)

Dolichoderus australis André, 1896: 257  .

Types. Unspecified material from the Victorian Alps, Victoria (probably MNHN); 1 worker syntype (MHNG) without locality data.

Diagnosis. Sculpturing on head minimal, either essentially absent or consisting of very fine reticulations, reddish-brown to black in colour; pronotum and propodeum lacking spines; posterior face of propodeum with a shallow concavity, separated from the dorsal face by at most a weakly defined angle; first tergite of gaster with elongate erect hairs but lacking appressed pubescence.

This species most closely resembles D. goudiei  , however D. goudiei  has appressed pubescence on the first tergite of the gaster which is lacking in this species.

Worker description. See Fig. 3View FIGURE 3. Sculpture on mesonotum and mesopleuron varying from very weakly developed and the surface shiny to moderately strong and the surface matte (the figured individual is intermediate between these extremes). Body colour variable, ranging from reddish to dark red-black. Head colour generally black, occasionally with a reddish tint.

Measurements (n= 5). CI 77–84; EI 32–37; EL 0.28–0.33; HL 1.08–1.23; HW 0.85–1.01; ML 1.56–1.89; MTL 0.87–1.09; PronI 64.79–72.91; PronW 0.58–0.66; SI 132–140; SL 1.13–1.34.

Material examined. Australian Capital Territory: 2 miles North of Mount Aggie (Taylor,R.W.) (ANIC); 4km NNE Mt. Aggie (Shattuck,S.O.) (ANIC); Blundells Creek, 3km E of Picadilly Circus (Weir, Lawrence & Johnson) (ANIC); Booroomba Rocks (Shattuck,S.O.) (ANIC); Brindabella Range (Greaves,T.) (ANIC); Lees Creek (Greaves,T.) (ANIC); Lees Spring (Greaves,T.) (ANIC); Mount Aggie (R.W.T; Taylor,R.W.) (ANIC); nr. Picadilly Circus (Shattuck,S.O.; Taylor,R.W.) (ANIC); Picadilly Circus, Brindabella Ra. (collector unknown) (ANIC); Wombat Creek, 6km NE Piccadilly Circus (Weir, Lawrence & Johnson) (ANIC); New South Wales: 3km SSW Batlow (Ward,P.S.) (ANIC); Bago State Forest (Greaves,T.) (ANIC); Berowra Waters, Sydney (collector unknown) (ANIC); Tasmania: 2km E Darlington jetty, Maria Island (Lowery,B.B.) (ANIC); Darlington, Maria Island (Lowery,B.B.) (ANIC); Freycinet Nat. Pk. (Lowery,B.B.) (ANIC); Kingston (McAreavey,J.) (ANIC); Maria Island (Lowery,B.B.) (ANIC); Victoria: 37 ° 21 'S 146 °00'E (Harrington,S.A.) (ANIC); Arthurs Seat (collector unknown; Lowery,B.B.) (ANIC); Heathmont (collector unknown; Dixon,J.E.) (ANIC); Maldon (collector unknown; Goudie,J.C.) (ANIC); Marysville (collector unknown; Clark,J.) (ANIC); Mt. Buffalo (collector unknown; Lowery,B.B.) (ANIC); Mt. Buffalo NP, Eurobin Ck. (Newton,A. & Thayer,M.) (ANIC); Ringwood (Spry,F.P.; Wilson,F.E.) (ANIC); Woodend (collector unknown; Hill,W.F.) (ANIC).

Comments. Dolichoderus australis  shows considerable variation in overall body colour, ranging from reddish to dark red-black. However, numerous intermediate forms between these extremes exist and no other characters could be found which suggest more than a single variable species is present. As such, this colour variation is here considered as being intraspecific.

Dolichoderus australis  is found in dry to wet forested areas of south-eastern Australia. Nests are in soil under rocks or occasionally in wood. Workers forage on the ground and on low vegetation and are timid, running for cover when disturbed. Its larvae were described by Wheeler and Wheeler (1974).

The records from Maria Island and Coles Bay, Tasmania, are likely introductions which occurred when the jail located in this area was active (B.B. Lowery, pers. comm.). This is based on the lack of additional material from Tasmania even though suitable habitats are abundant and widespread.