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P. harpax worker
Chirps of a P. apicalis worker
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Pachycondyla
Smith, 1858
Type species
Formica crassinoda
Latreille, 1802

many, see text

c. 200 - 300 species


Ypresiomyrma rebekkae queen fossils (upper left) at the Geological Museum in Copenhagen. This ant was formerly classified under Pachycondyla until it was placed in the subfamily Myrmeciinae and assigned to a new genus by Archibald, Cover, and Moreau in 2006.[1]

Pachycondyla is a diverse group of ponerine ants that are widespread in the world's tropics and subtropics. Most are general predators or scavengers, with some specializing in hunting termites. In some species queens are replaced by fertilised workers. Apart from 200 to 300 described species, five fossil species have been identified.[2]


While officially a genus, Pachycondyla is a polyphyletic group, consisting of many subgenera with unclear relationships, that will likely prove to be valid, distinct genera.[3]


Pachycondyla workers are similarly shaped to those of the genera Cryptopone, Hypoponera and Ponera and are often confused. They can be identified by having a large comb-like and a smaller simple spur on the hind leg, while the others are missing the smaller one.[2] Many species in the genus produce a defensive foam in threads when threatened. This foam is made from proteinaceous secretions from an enlarged Dufour's gland in their sting.[4]



  1. ^ Archibald, S. Bruce; Stefan P. Cover, Corrie S. Moreau (2006). "Bulldog ants of the Eocene Okanagan Highlands and history of the subfamily (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmeciinae)". Annals of the Entomological Society (Entomological Society of America) 99 (3): 487–523. doi:10.1603/0013-8746(2006)99[487:BAOTEO]2.0.CO;2. 
  2. ^ a b Australian Ants Online
  3. ^ Tree of Life
  4. ^ Maschwitz, U; Karla Jessen, and Eleonore Maschwitz (1981). "Foaming in Pachycondyla: A New Defense Mechanism in Ants". Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 9: 79–81. doi:10.1007/BF00299857. 


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