Polyrhachis bihamata

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Polyrhachis bihamata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Polyrhachis
Species group: bihamata
Species: P. bihamata
Binomial name
Polyrhachis bihamata
(Drury, 1773)

Polyrhachis bihamata casent0010659 profile 1.jpg

Polyrhachis bihamata casent0010659 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Specimens have been collected from rainforest. Hung (1970) - In East India, one bihamata nest of silky yellowish-brown material was found close to the ground in the center of a dump of bamboos (Bingham, 1903).


A member of the bihamata group of the subgenus Polyrhachis.

Keys including this Species


Kohout (2014) - Polyrhachis bihamata has been recorded throughout Southeast Asia, from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar to Malaysia and south to Borneo, Sumatra, possibly Java and Bali. It was also listed by Fr. Smith (1858: 58; 1862: 39; 1863: 126; 1865: 69) variously from India, the Indonesian islands of Waigeo, Bacan, Seram and Sulawesi and from New Guinea, however, I believe that many of these records are based on misidentified specimens, representing mostly Polyrhachis olybria and/or Polyrhachis bellicosa and Polyrhachis erosispina.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines.
Oriental Region: Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Male and immature stages in SMFG (Dr W.H.O. Dorow coll.); a single male in QMBA.


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

  • bihamata. Formica bihamata Drury, 1773: 73, pl. 38, figs. 7, 8 (w.) MADAGASCAR (Johanna I.). [Locality in error, see Bolton, 1973b: 352.] Mayr, 1872: 139 (q.); Emery, 1887a: 238 (q.); Donisthorpe, 1942b: 70 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1990b: 763 (l.). Combination in Polyrhachis: Smith, F. 1857a: 59. Senior synonym of affinis Le Guillou: Mayr, 1872: 139; Dalla Torre, 1893: 259; of minor Karavaiev, perplexa, tonsilis: Hung, 1970: 16; Kohout, 1998: 508.
  • affinis. Formica affinis Le Guillou, 1842: 314 (q.) BORNEO. [Unresolved junior primary homonym of Formica affinis Leach, 1825: 290.] Combination in Polyrhachis: Roger, 1863b: 7. Junior synonym of bihamata: Mayr, 1872: 139; Dalla Torre, 1893: 259.
  • perplexa. Polyrhachis (Polyrhachis) bihamata var. perplexa Santschi, 1925f: 92 (w.) LAOS. Junior synonym of bihamata: Hung, 1970: 16.
  • minor. Polyrhachis bihamata var. minor Karavaiev, 1927e: 12 (w.) INDONESIA (Java). [Unresolved junior primary homonym of minor Forel, above.] Junior synonym of bihamata: Hung, 1970: 16.
  • tonsilis. Polyrhachis (Polyrhachis) bihamata var. tonsilis Santschi, 1928h: 133 (w.) INDONESIA (Sumatra). Junior synonym of bihamata: Hung, 1970: 16.

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

Kohout (2014) - Polyrhachis bihamata was redescribed by Hung (1970: 16), who also proposed the synonymy of all three subspecific forms with the nominal species. Kohout (1998: 508) accepted Hung’s decision regarding the synonymy of P. bihamata perplexa but was hesitant to accept the synonymy of P. bihamata tonsilis. Similar to Santschi (1928), Kohout considered P. bihamata tonsilis to be an intermediate ‘form’, but between P. bihamata and P. olybria, rather than between P. bihamata and P. bellicosa. Kohout (1998) also examined the unique holotype of P. bihamata minor, described by Karavaiev from Java, and based on its similarity to P. bihamata tonsilis commented that “Judging from the available specimens, I believe that the synonymy of P. bihamata minor with P. bihamata tonsilis, and elevation of the latter to specific status could be justified”. However, the only available specimen besides the types is a topotypical individual (Sumatra, Sibolangit, 1919, J.A. Loerzing) and I am not prepared to make any nomenclatural changes without additional material. Consequently I have maintained the status quo and adopted Hung’s (1970) proposed synonymies.



Hung (1970) - Syntypes: Four workers of perplexa measured-HW 2.30-2.45 mm, HL 2.63-2.75 mm, CI 87-89, SL 3.35-3.58 mm, SI 138-146, PW 1.25-1.37 mm, MPL 4.50-4.88 mm, PSEI 67-71. PH 3.00-3.18 mm. Two workers of tonsilis measured HW 2.15-2.25 mm, HL 2.50 mm, CI 86.90, SL 3.13-3.15 mm, SI 139-146, PW 1.05-1.13 mm, MPL 2.50 mm, MTL (missing), PSEI 67-68, PH 2.75-2.90 mm.

HW 1.88-2.50 mm, HL 2.25-2.75 mm, CI 75-97, SL 3.00-3.50 mm, SI 133-170, PW 1.05-1.40 mm, MPL 2.38-3.15 mm, MTL 4.00-4.75 mm, PSEI 64-115. PH 2.50-3.13 mm. Alitrunk more or less rounded. Pronotum somewhat flat above but without traces of margins. Pronotal spines pointed outwards and bent backwards. Mesonotum with two pyramidal spines contiguous at base, rising upwards and bent backwards. Metanotal groove replaced by a ridge. Propodeum with two contiguous ridges. Basal face inclined, about twice as long as the declivity. Petiole columnar bearing a pair of long, somewhat flattened hook-shaped spines which in most cases are parallel or even contiguous. Body sparsely covered with suberect hairs. Head black. Alitrunk. petiole, gaster and legs moderate reddish-brown or grayish-red, but the tip of the gaster is always darker in color.

Kohout (2014) - TL c. 9.47 – 11.99; HL 2.17 – 2.77; HW 1.91 – 2.47; CI 81-94; SL 2.82 – 3.53; SI 133 – 149; PW 1.11 – 1.36; PeH 2.37 – 3.12; PeI 100-119; MTL 3.98 – 4.79 (19 measured).

Dimensions (bihamata perplexa syntypes): TL c. 10.84 – 12.45; HL 2.50 – 2.71; HW 2.25 – 2.37; CI 87 – 90; SL 3.17 – 3.53; SI 140 – 149; PW 1.16 – 1.26; PeH 2.92 – 3.12; PeI 113 – 119; MTL 4.33 – 4.84 (6 measured).

Dimensions (bihamata tonsilis syntypes): TL c. 10.08 – 10.73; HL 2.43 – 2.46; HW 2.15 – 2.21; CI 88 – 90; SL 3.12; SI 141 – 145; PW 1.06; PeH 2.77 – 2.87; PeI 114 – 117; MTL (missing) (2 measured).

Dimensions (bihamata minor holotype): TL c. 9.12; HL 2.21; HW 1.96; CI 89; SL (missing); PW 1.06; PeH 2.25; PeI 102; MTL 3.93.


Kohout (2014) - TL c. 13.30; HL 2.77; HW 2.37; CI 85; SL 3.93; SI 166; PW 2.67; PeH 1.31; PeI 47; MTL 4.69 (1 measured).

Queen distinctly larger than worker and with usual characters identifying full sexuality, including three ocelli, complete thoracic structure and wings. The queen of P. bihamata was described by Mayr (1872) and the details are not repeated here. It is somewhat similar to queen of P. ypsilon, with both having the pronotal spines reduced to bluntly angular prominences. The mesoscutum in P. bihamata, however, is distinctly more slender and the golden pilosity and pubescence shorter and less abundant.

Type Material

KOHOUT (2014) - ?Holotype worker. Type locality: ISLAND OF JOHANNA, near MADAGASCAR (locality evidently in error – see Bolton, 1973: 352) (types/s presumed lost).


  • Baltazar, C. R. 1966. A catalogue of Philippine Hymenoptera (with a bibliography, 1758-1963). Pac. Insects Monogr. 8: 1-488 (page 279, listed)
  • Bolton, B. 1973b. The ant genus Polyrhachis F. Smith in the Ethiopian region (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 28: 283-369 (page 352, [Locality in error, see Bolton, 1973b: 352.])
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 259, Senior synonym of affinis)
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1942b. Descriptions of a few ants from the Philippine Islands, and a male of Polyrhachis bihamata Drury from India. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(9): 64-72 PDF (page 70, male described)
  • Drury, D. 1773. Illustrations of natural history. Wherein are exhibited upwards of two hundred and twenty figures of exotic insects, according to their different genera. Vol. 2. London: B. White, vii + 90 pp. (page 73, pl. 38, figs. 7, 8 worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1887a [1886]. Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia. [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 24[=(2)(4): 209-240 (page 238, queen described)
  • Hung, A. C. F. 1970. A revision of ants of the subgenus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Orient. Insects 4: 1-36 (page 16, Senior synonym of minor Karavaiev, perplexa and tonnsilis)
  • Kohout, R. J. 1998. New synonyms and nomenclatural changes in the ant genus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Mem. Qld. Mus. 42: 505-531 (page 508, Senior synonym of minor Karavaiev, perplexa and tonnsilis)
  • Kohout, R.J. 2014. A review of the subgenus Polyrhachis (Polyrhachis) Fr. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae) with keys and description of a new species. Asian Myrmecology 6, 1–31.
  • Mayr, G. 1872. Formicidae Borneenses collectae a J. Doria et O. Beccari in territorio Sarawak annis 1865-1867. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 2: 133-155 (page 139, Senior synonym of affinis Le Guillou)
  • Smith, F. 1857a. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected at Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore, by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 2: 42-88 (page 59, Combination in Polyrhachis)
  • Smith, Fr. 1863. Notes on the geographical distribution of the aculeate Hymenoptera collected by Mr. A.R. Wallace in the Eastern Archipelago. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 7: 109-131.
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1990b. Larvae of the formicine ant genus Polyrhachis. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 116: 753-767 (page 763, larva described)