Polyrhachis australis

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Polyrhachis australis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Cyrtomyrma
Species: P. australis
Binomial name
Polyrhachis australis
Mayr, 1870

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Specimen labels

Synonyms

An arboreal species that builds nests of silk and vegetation debris between the leaves of trees and shrubs along the margins of lowland rainforests and woodlands. (Kohout 2006)

Identification

A characteristic species combining more-or-less angular pronotal humeri with well developed propodeal spines. It closely resembles Polyrhachis hoelldobleri but differs in the development of pronotal humeri. In P. australis the humeri are obtusely angular or narrowly rounded, while all examined specimens of hoelldobleri have distinctly angular or virtually bilobed humeri, similar to those of Polyrhachis levior Roger from Indonesia or Polyrhachis pacifica from the Solomons. In addition, the lateral petiolar spines in P. australis are distinctly longer than the dorsal spines, while all the petiolar spines in P. hoelldobleri are subequal. (Kohout 2006))

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Kohout (2006): Ranging from about Cairns south to the Queensland-New South Wales border and as far west as Forty Mile Scrub and Undara. A single specimen has very recently been collected from Davenport Range NP in the Northern Territory (A. Andersen, pers. comm.).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Abundance

Common in suitable habitat along the tropical and subtropical coast of eastern Australia.

Biology

Nest Images

Castes

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • australis. Polyrhachis australis Mayr, 1870b: 945 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of levior: Mayr, 1876: 71; Dalla Torre, 1893: 264. Combination in P. (Cyrtomyrma): Kohout & Taylor, 1990: 513. Revived from synonymy: Kohout & Taylor, 1990: 513. Senior synonym of nox: Kohout & Taylor, 1990: 513; of doddi (and its junior synonym townsvillei): Kohout, 2000: 195.
  • doddi. Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) doddi Donisthorpe, 1938c: 263, fig. 13 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA. Senior synonym of townsvillei: Kohout, 1998: 527. Junior synonym of australis: Kohout, 2000: 195.
  • nox. Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) nox Donisthorpe, 1938c: 249, fig. 2 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of australis: Kohout & Taylor, 1990: 513.
  • townsvillei. Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) townsvillei Donisthorpe, 1938c: 251, fig. 4 (w.q.) AUSTRALIA. Junior synonym of doddi: Kohout, 1998: 527.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Type Material

  • Polyrhachis australis: Neotype, worker, Cape Hillsborough National Park, Queensland, Australia, Queensland Museum.
  • Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) doddi Donisthorpe, 1938: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s), Queensland, Australia, The Natural History Museum.
  • Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) nox Donisthorpe, 1938: Syntype, 2 workers, Mackay, Queensland, Australia, The Natural History Museum.
  • Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) townsvillei Donisthorpe, 1938: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s), male(s), Townsville, Queensland, Australia, The Natural History Museum.

Description

Worker

Operaria: P. rastellae proxima differt solummoddo metanote spinis duabus gracilibus, rectis, modice divergentibus, paulo brevioribus qua inter se abstantibus, petioli squama dentibus duobus externis internis paulo majorbus.

Queen

From (Disonthorpe 1938), description of synonymous doddi: Similar to worker, shoulders more rounded; teeth to epinotum and scale thicker. Wings yellowish; pterostigma and veins light brown. Long. 8 mm.

Type Material

Kohout (2006): Holotype worker presumed lost. Neotype worker: Cape Hillsborough NP, 20°55’S, 149°02’E, 1.vi.1996 (RJK acc. 96.2). The neotype has been deposited in the Queensland Museum (QMT99332), together with the rest of the colony consisting of 106 workers, 4 alate queens and numerous immature stages (eggs, larvae in various stages of development and pupae).

doddi, nox and townsvillei types - The Natural History Museum as per Donsinthorpe (1938)

Type Locality Information

Holotype: Port Mackay, Ostaustralien (= Mackay, QUEENSLAND).

Neotype: The neotype was selected from a polydomous colony collected from a silk nest built between the leaves of low shrub in open forest at Cape Hillsborough NP (RJK acc. 96.2). This locality is situated only about 30km NW of Mackay.

References

  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 264, Junior synonym of levior)
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1938. The subgenus Cyrtomyrma Forel of Polyrhachis Smith, with descriptions of new species, etc. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (11)1: 246-267.
  • Heinze, J.; Hölldobler, B. 1993a. Queen polymorphism in an Australian weaver ant, Polyrhachis cf. doddi. Psyche (Camb.) 100: 83-92 PDF (page 83, see also)
  • Kohout, R. J. 2000. A review of the distribution of the Polyrhachis and Echinopla ants of the Queensland wet tropics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Mem. Qld. Mus. 46: 183-209 (page 195, Senior synonym of doddi)
  • Kohout, R. J. 2006. Review of Polyrhachis (Cyrtomyrma) Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae) of Australia, Borneo, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands with descriptions of new species. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 52:87-146.
  • Kohout, R. J.; Taylor, R. W. 1990. Notes on Australian ants of the genus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith, with a synonymic list of the species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Mem. Qld. Mus. 28: 509-522 (page 513, Combination in P. (Cyrtomyrma) and revived from synonymy)
  • Kohout, R. J.; Taylor, R. W. 1990. Notes on Australian ants of the genus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith, with a synonymic list of the species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Mem. Qld. Mus. 28: 509-522 (page 513, Senior synonym of nox)
  • Mayr, G. 1870b. Neue Formiciden. Verhandlungen der k.k. Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 20: 939-996. (page 945, worker described)
  • Mayr, G. 1876. Die australischen Formiciden. J. Mus. Godeffroy 12: 56-115 (page 71, Junior synonym of levior)