Polyrhachis olybria

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Polyrhachis olybria
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. olybria
Binomial name
Polyrhachis olybria
Forel, 1912

Polyrhachis-olybria HUMCZ001L.jpg

Polyrhachis-olybia HUMCZ001D.jpg

Specimen Label

Polyrhachis olybria is a relatively common species known from Thailand, peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, south to Borneo, Sumatra and Java and as far east as the Philippines.


A member of the bihamata group of the subgenus Polyrhachis.

Workers of P. olybria are relatively similar to those of Polyrhachis bellicosa and Polyrhachis erosispina with their relationship and distinguishing characters discussed in remarks section of P. bellicosa and also in detail by Kohout (1998: 508). Polyrhachis olybria differs from both other species by its reddish-brown first gastral tergite and the acute, dorsoposteriorly projecting, propodeal spines. Also, the outline of clypeus in profile of P. olybria is evenly convex, while the summit of convexity in the other two species is distinctly higher and closer to the base of clypeus. The sides of head behind the eyes in P. olybria are only weakly convex before converging towards the occipital margin in virtually straight line, while in other two species, the sides of the head behind the eyes are distinctly convex throughout their length. With respect to queens, the dorsa of the mesoscutum and mesoscutellum in P. olybria are covered with numerous short to medium length hairs, which are distinctly less abundant in P. erosispina and completely absent in P. bellicosa.

Specimens from Sumatra are rather similar to those from peninsular Malaysia in being generally darker in colour and having their pronotal spines relatively straight and only weakly bent downwards. In contrast, specimens from Sabah are distinctly lighter in colour and have the tips of their pronotal spines usually curved downwards and weakly backwards. Despite this variation, specimens from across the entire distribution are closely similar in most other aspects and I believe all are conspecific. (Kohout, 2014)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia (type locality), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore.
Oriental Region: Thailand.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




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

  • olybria. Polyrhachis olybrius Forel, 1912n: 73 (q.) INDONESIA (Sumatra). Combination in P. (Myrmhopla): Emery, 1925b: 197; in P. (Polyhachis): Kohout, 1998: 508.

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




Kohout (2014) - (topotype cited first): TL c. 8.87, 8.11 – 9.88; HL 2.06, 1.96 – 2.46; HW 1.78, 1.75 – 2.06; CI 86, 84 – 89; SL 2.71, 2.34 – 3.09; SI 152, 144-155; PW 0.97, 0.94 – 1.15; PeH 2.29, 2.12 – 2.56; PeI 111, 107 – 121; MTL 3.58, 3.43 – 3.78 (1+22 measured).

Mandibles with 5 teeth, distinctly reducing in length towards mandibular base. Anterior clypeal border arcuate. Clypeus with blunt, posteriorly raised, median carina; clypeus convex in profile with only weakly impressed basal margin. Frontal triangle distinct. Frontal carinae sinuate with distinctly raised margins; central area relatively flat with frontal furrow. Sides of head in front of eyes converging into mandibular bases in weakly convex line; behind eyes, sides weakly convex before converging into relatively narrow occipital margin in virtually straight line. Eyes only moderately convex, in full face view usually not or only marginally exceeding lateral cephalic outline in some specimens. Median ocellus present in some specimens but usually obscure or lacking; lateral ocelli lacking with relative positions indicated by minutely raised cephalic sculpturation. Pronotal humeri armed with moderately long, acute, anterolaterally and somewhat ventrally directed spines; outer borders of spines continuous basally with rather blunt, weakly rounded lateral margins that terminate before reaching well impressed promesonotal suture. Mesonotal dorsum with lateral margins strongly raised into almost pyramidal, rather compressed, posterodorsally projecting spines, with tips subparallel or weakly curved outwards. Metanotal groove poorly indicated. Propodeal dorsum without any traces of lateral margins, posterior angles produced as short, acute, dorsoposteriorly directed spines, that are contiguous at bases and form a ‘V’ when viewed from behind; propodeal dorsum about 1.5× longer than weakly concave declivity. Petiole columnar, bearing a pair of slender, subparallel, dorsally hook-shaped spines. Anterior face of first gastral segment widely rounding onto dorsum.

Mandibles finely, longitudinally striate with numerous piliferous pits. Head, mesosoma and petiole reticulate-punctate, opaque; tips of spines smooth and highly polished. Gaster finely shagreened.

Mandibular masticatory borders with a few golden hairs. Anterior clypeal margin with several medium length, golden setae medially and a fringe of only marginally shorter setae laterally. A few pairs of medium length, golden hairs on clypeus, along frontal carinae and on vertex and occipital corners. A few, medium length, golden hairs on fore coxae; gaster with numerous, moderately long hairs on venter and around apex. Hairs completely absent from antennal scapes and all dorsal body surfaces. Closely appressed, golden pubescence distributed over most body surfaces, except spines; pubescence somewhat longer and semierect at bases of spines and on propodeal dorsum.

Colour. Head, including mandibles and antennae, tips of spines and tarsi black; tibiae very dark reddish-brown; pronotal and mesonotal lateral margins narrowly bordered with black or dark brown. Mesosoma, most of petiole and coxae light to medium reddish-brown with femora darker towards distal ends. Gaster with first tergite yellowish or reddish-brown; subsequent tergites progressively darker, somewhat infuscated reddish-brown; posterior margins narrowly lined with black.


Kohout (2014) - (syntypes cited first): TL c. 10.33 – 10.58, 10.08 – 11.24; HL 2.27 – 2.34, 2.18 – 2.34; HW 1.75 – 1.81, 1.72 – 1.81; CI 77, 77 – 80; SL 3.03 – 3.22, 2.93 – 3.22; SI 173 – 178, 166 – 180; PW 2.09, 1.96 – 2.12; PeH 1.22 – 1.34, 1.18 – 1.34; PeI 52 – 59, 50-61, MTL 3.67 – 4.03, 3.63 – 4.03 (2+9 measured).

Queen larger than worker with usual characters identifying full sexuality, including three ocelli, complete thoracic structure and wings. It was described at length by Forel (1912: 73) and discussed by Kohout (1998: 508) with details not repeated here. Similarly to the worker, the queen of P. olybria closely resembles those of Polyrhachis bellicosa and Polyrhachis erosispina.

Type Material

Kohout (2014) - Syntype queens. Type locality: INDONESIA, SUMATRA, Indrapura (Tritschler), MHNG, QMBA (examined).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Andersen A. N., R. J. Kohout, and C. R. Trainor. 2013. Biogeography of Timor and Surrounding Wallacean Islands: Endemism in Ants of the Genus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith. Diversity 5: 139-148.
  • Bluthgen N., D. Mezger, and K.E. Linsenmair. 2006. Ant-hemipteran trophobioses in a Bornean rainforest- diversity, specificity and monopolisation. Insectes Sociaux 53: 194-203.
  • Chapman, J. W., and Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327
  • Davidson D. W., S. C. Cook, R. R. Snelling and T. H. Chua. 2003. Explaining the Abundance of Ants in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Canopies. Science 300: 969-972.
  • Davidson, D.W., J.-P. Lessard, C.R. Bernau and S.C. Cook. 2007. The Tropical Ant Mosaic in a Primary Bornean Rain Forest. Biotropica 39(4):468-475
  • Figueras G. S., and O. M. Nuneza. 2013. Species diversity of ants in karst limestone habitats in Bukidnon and Davao Oriental, Mindanao, Philippines. Advances in Environmental Sciences - International Journal of the Bioflux Society 5(3): 306-315.
  • Forel A. 1912. Einige neue und interessante Ameisenformen aus Sumatra etc. Zool. Jahrb. Suppl. 15: 51-78.
  • Hashimoto Y., Y. Morimoto, E. S. Widodo, and M. Mohamed. 2006. Vertical distribution pattern of ants in a Bornean tropical rainforest (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 47(3): 697- 710.
  • Kishimoto-Yamata K., F. Hyodo, M. Matsuoka, Y. Hashimoto, M. Kon, T. Ochi, S. Yamane, R. Ishii, and T. Itioka. 2012. Effects of remnant primary forests on ant and dung beetle species diversity in a secondary forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. Journal of Insect Conservation DOI 10.1007/s10841-012-9544-6
  • Kohout R. J. 1998. New synonyms and nomenclatural changes in the ant genus Polyrhachis Fr. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 42: 505-531
  • 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.
  • Pfeiffer M.; Mezger, D.; Hosoishi, S.; Bakhtiar, E. Y.; Kohout, R. J. 2011. The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list. Asian Myrmecology 4:9-58
  • Robson Simon Ant Collection, 05-Sept-2014
  • Robson Simon Database Polyrhachis -05 Sept 2014
  • Sukimin S., M. Mohamed, and H. Aris. 2010. Ant diversity of Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 6:89-101.
  • Trainor C.R., and A.N. Andersen. 2010. The ant fauna of Timor and neighbouring islands: potential bridges between the disjunct faunas of South East Asia and Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 58: 133-144.