A Review of Jaw Morphology and Foraging Behaviour in the Bulldog Ant (Myrmecia Gulosa) Group
Keywords:Australia, Mandible, Bulldog Ant, distribution, Myrmeciinae, diversity, selection
Formicidae are one of the most diverse groups that, along with termites, make up one third of the total animal biomass on Earth. Contributing to their success is the large variety of foraging behaviours and morphologies ants have evolved in response to various food supplies. On the world continent Gondwana, Myrmeciinae, were the dominant group with many characters considered primitive or ancestral within Formicidae. The Myrmecia gulosa group retains ancestral traits of the Myrmeciinae, now found only in Australia. This research aims to a review the facial morphologies and foraging behaviours of the M. gulosa group to better understand their unique success in Australia, compared to their demise elsewhere. Evaluation of jaw morphology, foraging behaviour, and geographical distribution revealed a narrow range of morphologies and consistent foraging behaviour across 41 of 42 studied species all over Australia. Based on similar morphologies of 41 species and behaviours of eleven, eight of which were considered well researched, it is possible that understudied M. gulosa species will demonstrate traits similar to well-researched species. It appears that M. gulosa species maintained ancestral traits that failed to allow the present-day success of Myrmeciinae elsewhere, and likely allowed the diversification of other ant genera. The following collated results suggests, members of the M. gulosa species group appear not to face the same food resource selective pressures that led to diversification in other ant genera and further supports food resources as an important selective pressure for other ant genera that M. gulosa possibly failed to adapt to.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Jacob Ulrich; Mel Hart
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Copyright holder(s) granted JSR a perpetual, non-exclusive license to distriute & display this article.