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


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)

At a Glance • Brachypterous Queen  


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


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.).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -15.3° to -27.497556°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


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


Nest Images


Queen described as brachypterous (Heinze & Hölldobler 1993)


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • 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.



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.


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 based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Kohout R. J. 2000. A review of the distribution of the Polyrhachis and Echinopla ants of the Queensland wet tropics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 46: 183-209
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.