Polyrhachis javanica

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Polyrhachis javanica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Myrmothrinax
Species: P. javanica
Binomial name
Polyrhachis javanica
Mayr, 1867

Polyrhachis javanica casent0906584 p 1 high.jpg

Polyrhachis javanica casent0906584 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia (type locality), Malaysia, Philippines.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb





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

  • javanica. Polyrhachis thrinax var. javanica Mayr, 1867a: 52 (w.) INDONESIA (Java). Emery, 1887a: 222 (q.); Karavaiev, 1927e: 13 (m.). Combination in P. (Myrmothrinax): Wheeler, W.M. 1919e: 127. [Misspelled as javana by Emery, 1887a: 222; Forel, 1893c: 19 (in key).] Subspecies of thrinax: Emery, 1896d: 378; Wheeler, W.M. 1909d: 343. Raised to species: Kohout, 1998: 510.

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

Kohout (2008) - Polyrhachis javanica, a member of the aequalis-group, was reported from Sulawesi by Emery (1901, 1925) but I consider this record erroneous. Emery evidently based his record on specimens collected from Sulawesi by Fruhstorfer that were identified by Mayr. I have examined four of these specimens (MCZC) bearing original identification tags inscribed as follows: (1) specimen from Patunuang – “Polyrhachis thrinax Rog. v. javan. Mayr det. Mayr”; (2) specimen from Toli-Toli – “Polyrhachis thrinax Rog. det. Mayr”, “var. javana Mayr det. Mayr”; (3) specimen from Toli-Toli: “P. thrinax Rog. v. javanica det. Mayr”; (4) specimen from Patunuang “Polyrhachis thrinax Rog. det. Mayr”, “var. javana Mayr det. Mayr”. Mayr described P. thrinax javanica in 1867 and about thirty years passed before the identifications of Fruhstorfer’s specimens. javanica had been returned to its owners and Mayr evidently lacked any material for comparison. Consequently, the accuracy of his identifications was compromised and ultimately incorrect. Moreover, Fruhstorter’s specimens comprised two, superficially similar, but distinct newly described species. Specimens (1) and (2) are Polyrhachis incognita, while specimens (3) and (4) are Polyrhachis deceptor.

Mayr (1867), in his orginal description, designated a holotype for P. thrinax javanica. However, there are two available specimens in NRMS that are undoubtedly from the original series. Of these, I consider the specimen bearing Mayr’s identification tag to be the holotype. The holotype is pinned and in relatively good condition. It agrees with Mayr’s short description of that species to the extent that “[…] petiolus nodiformis supra spinis 3 gracilibus, subaequilongis, erectis, Paulo postice directis et rectis” and further on “… wärend bei dem von mir untersuchten Exemplare der mittlere Dorn nur um Weniges länger ist als die seitlichen Dornen”. However, Mayr failed to mention that the apex of the middle spine is shallowly emarginated. The second specimen, once apparently pinned, is fragmented with the pronotum missing and the head, mesonotum, propodeum, petiole, gaster and two legs glued separately onto a card. Both specimens are exceptionally small (HL 1.37) and do not match any of the recently examined Myrmothrinax specimens from Sulawesi. They each bear two identical locality labels inscribed ‘Java’ and ‘Kinb.’ , with the holotype also bearing Mayr’s identification tag – “P. thrinax v. javana det. Mayr”. It is surprising that Mayr frequently used ‘javana’ (including on the holotype tag), instead of ‘javanica’ as it was originally published. The incorrect spelling ‘javana’ was also used by Emery (1887) and Forel (1893).



  • Baltazar, C. R. 1966. A catalogue of Philippine Hymenoptera (with a bibliography, 1758-1963). Pac. Insects Monogr. 8: 1-488 (page 284, listed)
  • 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 222, queen described)
  • Emery, C. 1896j. Saggio di un catalogo sistematico dei generi Camponotus, Polyrhachis e affini. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (5)5:363-382 (page 378, Subspecies of thrinax)
  • 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 13, male described)
  • 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 510, Raised to species)
  • 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
  • Mayr, G. 1867a. Adnotationes in monographiam formicidarum Indo-Neerlandicarum. Tijdschr. Entomol. 10: 33-117 (page 52, worker described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1909d. Ants of Formosa and the Philippines. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 26: 333-345 (page 343, Subspecies of thrinax)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1919f. The ants of Borneo. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 63: 43-147 (page 127, Combination in P. (Myrmothrinax))