Polyrhachis sokolova

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Polyrhachis sokolova
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Chariomyrma
Species: P. sokolova
Binomial name
Polyrhachis sokolova
Forel, 1902

Polyrhachis sokolova casent0281361 p 1 high.jpg

Polyrhachis sokolova casent0281361 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


This is the only species of Polyrhachis known to nest in marine and estuarine mud of the intertidal zone. Its nests are mound-like, with a small opening at the top, and are completely submerged at each high tide. Distribution is limited to the tidal mudflats of coastal mangrove forests. (Kohout 1988)



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality), New Caledonia.
Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea.

Polyrhachis sokolova occurs along the Australian coastline from Torres Strait to as far south as Gladstone in central Queensland (Kohout 1988). It is a quite common species that also occurs beyond the Australian mainland, with records from the Aru Islands, the southern coast of Papua and New Caledonia (Kohout, 2013).

Check distribution from AntMaps.

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Polyrhachis sokolova for further details




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

  • sokolova. Polyrhachis sokolova Forel, 1902h: 522 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Combination in P. (Hagiomyrma): Emery, 1925b: 185; in P. (Chariomyrma): Kohout, 2013: 491. Senior synonym of degener: Kohout, 1988c: 436.
  • degener. Polyrhachis sokolova var. degener Forel, 1910b: 84 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Combination in P. (Hagiomyrma): Emery, 1925b: 185. Junior synonym of sokolova: Kohout, 1988c: 436.

Type Material


Kohout (2113): When describing Polyrhachis sokolova, Forel indicated that it belonged to the ammon-group and, consequently, Emery (1925) and all subsequent authors treated it as a member of the subgenus Hagiomyrma. However, P. sokolova features laminate pronotal margins with acutely spinose humeri, a character common to species of the subgenus Chariomyrma Forel. In fact, small specimens of P. sokolova (‘var. degener’) are remarkably similar to Polyrhachis constricta, described by Emery from Australia in 1897, and subsequently placed by him in the subgenus Chariomyrma (Emery 1925: 186).

Specimens from the Northern Territory differ in several characters from those from Queensland and were earlier considered a separate, undescribed species (see Kohout 1988: 436; Nielsen 1997: 16). However, subsequent examination and comparison of Northern Territory specimens with others from throughout the range of P. sokolova, has shown no taxonomically significant variability to justify their separate specific status. At many localities in the Northern Territory, P. sokolova is sympatric with Polyrhachis constricta and their undeniable similarity resulted in Andersen (2000) correctly listing both species under the subgenus Chariomyrma.


  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 185, Combination in P. (Hagiomyrma))
  • Forel, A. 1902j. Fourmis nouvelles d'Australie. Rev. Suisse Zool. 10: 405-548 (page 522, worker described)
  • Kohout, R. J. 1988c. Nomenclatural changes and new Australian records in the ant genus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Mem. Qld. Mus. 25: 429-438 (page 436, Senior synonym of degener)
  • Kohout, R.J. 2013. Revision of Polyrhachis (Hagiomyrma) Wheeler, 1911 (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Nature 56, 487-577.