Polyrhachis armata

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Polyrhachis armata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Myrmhopla
Species: P. armata
Binomial name
Polyrhachis armata
(Le Guillou, 1842)



Specimen Label


Polyrhachis armata is a very widespread and distinctive south-east Asian species of the subgenus Myrmhopla.


A member of the Polyrhachis armata species group.

Keys including this Species


Kohout (2008) - A relatively common species that extends from the Andaman Islands and Indo-China, including Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, eastwards to the Philippines and south to Borneo, Sumatra and Java. It was listed from Sulawesi by Emery (1901), however, I have not seen any specimens originating from east of Wallace’s line.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines (type locality).
Oriental Region: Cambodia, India, Laos, Thailand.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilaterialis (a pathogen) (Shrestha et al., 2017).




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

  • armata. Formica armata Le Guillou, 1842: 313 (q.) PHILIPPINES. Mayr, 1867a: 46 (w.); Karavaiev, 1927e: 29 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1990b: 759 (l.). Combination in Polyrhachis: Roger, 1863b: 9; in P. (Myrmhopla): Forel, 1915b: 107. Senior synonym of pandarus: Roger, 1863b: 9. Current subspecies: nominal plus defensa. See also: Bingham, 1903: 393.
  • pandarus. Polyrhachis pandarus Smith, F. 1857a: 62 (w.) BORNEO. Mayr, 1862: 679 (q.). Junior synonym of armata: Roger, 1863b: 9.

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

Kohout (2007) - Polyrhachis armata was originally described from the Philippines but the type material has apparently been lost. Consequently I have compared the holotype of Polyrhachis maryatiae with the available syntypes of Polyrhachis pandarus Fr. Smith and Polyrhachis armata defensa Fr. Smith (BMNH and OXUM respectively). Both species were considered by Roger (1863), Dalla Torre (1893) and Wheeler (1919) to be junior synonyms of P. armata . However, P. defensa was later revived from synonymy by Emery (1925) and considered by him and subsequent authors, including Bolton (1995) and Dorow (1995), to be a subspecies of P. armata. This decision was presumably based on variation in the colour of the gaster which is black in the nominate subspecies and reddish-brown in defensa. I strongly suspect that the subspecific status of defensa is unwarranted but am reluctant to formalise the synonymy before a more detailed examination of the variation of P. armata across its entire geographic range.


Type Material

Kohout (2008) - Holotype queen. PHILIPPINES, MINDANAO, Zamboanga, ?Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle (type presumed lost).


  • Baltazar, C. R. 1966. A catalogue of Philippine Hymenoptera (with a bibliography, 1758-1963). Pac. Insects Monogr. 8: 1-488 (page 281, listed)
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 393, see also)
  • Forel, A. 1915b. Results of Dr. E. Mjöbergs Swedish Scientific Expeditions to Australia 1910-13. 2. Ameisen. Ark. Zool. 9(1 16: 1-119 (page 107, Combination in P. (Myrmhopla))
  • Karavaiev, V. 1927f. Ameisen aus dem Indo-Australischen Gebiet. III. Zb. Prats Zool. Muz. 3:3-52 [= Tr. Ukr. Akad. Nauk Fiz.-Mat. Vidd. 7:3-52]. (page 29, male described)
  • Kohout, R.J. 2007. Polyrhachis (Myrmhopla) maryatiae, a new species of the armata group from Borneo (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Formicinae). Asian Myrmecology, 1, 1–5.
  • Kohout, R.J. 2008a. A review of the Polyrhachis ants of Sulawesi with keys and descriptions of new species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 52:255-317. PDF
  • Le Guillou, E. J. F. 1842 [1841]. Catalogue raisonné des insectes hyménoptères recueillis dans le voyage de circumnavigation des corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 10: 311-324 PDF (page 313, queen described)
  • Mayr, G. 1867a. Adnotationes in monographiam formicidarum Indo-Neerlandicarum. Tijdschr. Entomol. 10: 33-117 (page 46, worker described)
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 9, Combination in Polyrhachis)
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 9, Senior synonym of pandarus)
  • Shrestha B, Tanaka E, Hyun MW, Han JG, Kim CS, Jo JW, Han SK, Oh J, Sung JM, Sung GH. 2017. Mycosphere Essay 19. Cordyceps species parasitizing hymenopteran and hemipteran insects. Mycosphere 8(9): 1424–1442 (DOI 10.5943/mycosphere/8/9/8).
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1990b. Larvae of the formicine ant genus Polyrhachis. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 116: 753-767 (page 759, larva described)