Meat ant cover 1 (Credit to Miopixia, Flickr)meat ant cover photo bill and mark bellftj


Domain:  Eukarya
The eukaryotes are organisms whose cells have true nuclei and membrane-bound organelles (Campbell and Reece 2008).

Kingdom:  Animalia
Members of this kingdom are multicellular and heterotrophic (Campbell and Reece 2008).

Phylum:  Arthropoda
This phylum is known as the most abundant phylum to date.  Arthropods are characteristic of having segmented bodies, paired and jointed appendages, and bilateral symmetry.  Another key characteristic is the presence of an organic exoskeleton which is shed through the process of ecdysis.  Spiders, Insects, Crustacea, and trilobites are examples of arthropods (Encyclopedia of Life 2012).

Class:  Insecta
The class insecta represents approximately 90% of all multicellular life on Earth.  Primary characteristics of this class include three pairs of legs, segmented bodies including a head, thorax, abdomen, and antennae.  Compound eyes are also characteristic to this class (Tree of Life 2002).  Other species that fall into this category include the Mayfly and the Water Scorpion.

Order:  Hymenoptera
The organisms in this order include a large variety of the groups: wasps, bees, ants, and sawflies (Encyclopedia of Life 2012).

Phylogenetic Tree, focusing on Hymenoptera Order
Figure 1:  Iridomyrmex purpureus is a member of the Hymenoptera order.  Its most recent common ancestor lies within the order of Coleoptera.  This order includes many different species of beetle including the Predaceous Diving Beetle.

Family:  Formicidae
Members of this family are classified as ants and are typically eusocial and contain pinched waist that connects the thorax to the abdomen.  This family also possesses a metapleural gland, a secretory gland unique to ants (Tree of Life 2002).

Genus: Iridomyrmex
This genus is defined by the blue-green iridescent luster of the ant body giving them the nickname “rainbow ants” (Queensland 2013).

Phylogenetic Tree focusing on Genus: Iridomyrmex
Figure 2:  Phylogenetic tree focusing on Genus Iridomyrmex, the genus in which the Meat Ant is found.  This phyologenetic tree was made by Jake Koeshall.

Species: Iridomyrmex purpureus
This species is around 6-7mm long in size, generally reddish or reddish brown, iridescent purplish luster, and found in Australia (Thomas et al. 1998).

Latin Translation of Iridomyrmex purpureus: Purple Rainbow Ant
Common Name: Meat Ant or Gravel Ant

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