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This article is about the genus of ants. For the defunct legume genus, see Neonotonia. For the defunct staff vine genus, see Salacia (plant).
Polyrhachis gracilior
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Smith, 1857
Type species
Formica bihamata
698 species

Cephalomyrma Karavaiev, 1935
Dolichorhachis Mann, 1919
Evelyna Donisthorpe, 1937
Florencea Donisthorpe, 1937
Irenea Donisthorpe, 1938
Johnia Karavaiev, 1927
Morleyidris Donisthorpe, 1944

Polyrhachis is a genus of formicine ants found in the Old World with a large number of species (over 600).[2] The genus is yet to be comprehensively resolved and contains many varied species including nest weavers (e.g. Polyrhachis dives), swimming workers (e.g. Polyrhachis sokolova), soil (e.g. Polyrhachis proxima) and tree dwellers (e.g. Polyrhachis bicolor).[citation needed]

General morphology[edit]

Size: Workers range in size approx 5-10mm in length. Eyes developed, no ocelli. Antennae have 12-segments. Antennal insertions situated far from posterior margin of clypeus. Mesosoma of most species have spines on one or more of its pronotal, mesonotal or propodeal components. Petiole armed with spines or teeth. First gastral tergite well developed, longer in dorsal view than exposed parts of the following terga together. Opening at gastral apex for release of venom lacking a radial fringe of hairs.[3]


Polyrhachis species include an array of nesting types ranging from terrestrial, soil based nests to arboreal nests. As a result the nest architectures also vary with some species displaying a high level of complexity to next building, utilising larval silk to weave nest materials together. Such nest weaving is more commonly associated (and indeed more complex) in ants of the genus Oecophylla.[citation needed]

Polyrhachis do not have a sting but with an acidipore can spray formic acid. When attacking, this is often sprayed in combination with biting thus making the acid more effective against the subject of the attack. Polyrhachis that do not possess a metapleural gland seem to utilise the antibiotic properties of their formic acid and when it cannot be used, ants are more likely to succumb to parasite infection [4]

Selected Species[edit]


  1. ^ Bolton, B. (2014). "Polyrhachis". AntCat. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Genus: Polyrhachis". antweb.org. AntWeb. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Hung, ACF (1967). "A Revision of the Ant Genus Polyrhachis at the Subgeneric Level (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)". Transactions of the American Entomological Society. 93 (4): 395–422. 
  4. ^ Graystock, Peter; Hughes, William O. H. (2011). "Disease resistance in a weaver ant, Polyrhachis dives, and the role of antibiotic-producing glands". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. doi:10.1007/s00265-011-1242-y. 

External links[edit]