Polyrhachis wilsoni

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Polyrhachis wilsoni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Polyrhachis
Subgenus: Aulacomyrma
Species: P. wilsoni
Binomial name
Polyrhachis wilsoni
Kohout, 2007

Polyrhachis wilsoni casent0009242 p 1 high.jpg

Polyrhachis wilsoni casent0009242 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Polyrhachis wilsoni.


Kohout (2007) - A remarkable species, easily distinguished from all other known members of the subgenus by the very elongate, strongly divergent, propodeal spines.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The subgenus this species is a member of, Aulacomyrma, is poorly colected. Kohout (2007) summarized what is known about their biology in a revision of the species in the subgenus. This offers an explanation as to why most Aulacomyrma are known from few collections and specimens. There are only two records of nests being found. A small colony of Polyrhachis dohrni was collected by Kohout from a dry hollow twig on a living tree at the edge of lowland rainforest. The internal walls of the twig cavity were lined with a little silk. Ward collected a nest of Polyrhachis wardi from a dry twig of a rainforest tree. The colonies of both species were rather small, with only a few workers (5 and 11 respectively, including 2 and 3 alate queens and a single male). If such a nesting pattern is the norm for other species of the subgenus, that might explain the general scarcity of Aulacomyrma material even in the best collections. Many Aulacomyrma species are described and only known from a holotype.


Known only from the worker caste.


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

  • wilsoni. Polyrhachis (Aulacomyrma) wilsoni Kohout, 2007a: 214, figs. 47, 50, 53 (w.) NEW GUINEA.

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



TL c. 4.13-4.84 (4.59); HL 1.12-1.28 (1.25); HW 1.00-1.15 (1.09); CI 87-92 (87); SL 1.22-1.31 (1.28); SI 114-122 (117); PW 0.94-1.09 (1.00); MTL 1.09-1.22 (1.22) (12 measured).

Anterior margin of clypeus arcuate with very shallow notch medially; in profile clypeus weakly convex. Sides of head in front of eyes gently converging anteriorly. Eyes convex, clearly breaking cephalic outline in full face view. Frontal carinae distinctly raised, sinuate; frontal area relatively wide, with short median carina that merges posteriorly into cephalic sculpture. Mesosoma marginate along entire length. Pronotal humeri armed with broad-based, triangular, blunt, teeth. Mesonotal and propodeal dorsa fused, with lateral margins deeply emarginate, terminating in very long, outwardly curved spines, their posterior margins continued as tranverse, deeply inwardly bowed ridges, that meet medially and separate propodeal dorsum from declivity. Petiole with sharp, dorsal margin, shallowly indented medially; lateral spines acute and curved backwards, their tips slightly upturned. Anterior face of first gastral segment concave, accommodating posterior face of petiole; anterodorsal margin of concavity distinct medially, but not raised above dorsal face of segment.

Sculpture of head, mesosoma and sides of gaster consisting of regularly spaced striae, mostly longitudinal on dorsum of head and sides of gaster, anteriorly converging on pronotal dorsum, converging posteriorly and joining along midline on mesonotal and propodeal dorsa. Propodeal declivity, petiole and dorsum of first gastral segment shagreened.

Abundant, yellowish, semi-erect to erect hairs present on all body surfaces and appendages, longest hairs almost as long as greatest diameter of eye. Hairs absent from inferior edges of scapes and dorsal surfaces of femora. Body with mostly off-white or yellowish, appressed pubescence, denser and silvery on metapleuron and reddish on gastral dorsum.

Black, with antennal scapes, distal portions of femora, proximal and distal ends of tibiae and basal segments of tarsi dark to medium brown; funiculi and rest of legs distinctly lighter, medium to light yellowish brown or reddish-yellow.

Type Material

HOLOTYPE: PAPUA NEW GUINEA, Huon Pen., lower Busu R., 5.v.1955, lowland rf., E. O. Wilson #950 (worker). PARATYPES: data as for holotype, but 3.v.1955, E. O. Wilson #895, 969 (3 workers) and 9.v.1955, E. O. Wilson #984) (worker); Bulolo, 3000ft, 19.xii.1970, rf., B. B. Lowery (4 workers); W. Bulolo, 2500ft, 22.xii.1970, rf., B. B. Lowery (3 workers). Type deposition: holotype and 2 paratypes in Museum of Comparative Zoology; 2 paratypes each in Queensland Museum, Australian National Insect Collection, The Natural History Museum and California Academy of Sciences.


Named in honor of Prof. Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University, who collected many new Aulacomyrma species during his extensive field work throughout Papua New Guinea.