The Aliens Of The Ant World
Australia is well known for its incredible collection of unique and unusual animals and the ants known as Polyrhachis are no exception.
Polyrhachis is one of the most diverse and visually stunning genera in the world with over 900 known species! Besides Australia, these ants are also found throughout South East Asia and even in some parts of Africa.
They have adapted to the harsh environments in which they live and are well known for their formidable rows of protective spikes and spines and their vibrant, almost metallic, colours.
If you are wanting to find these gals, try taking a bush walk where they are often found but don't forget to look up every once in a while. Unlike most ants who build their nests in the ground, some species of Polyrhachis such as P.australis are actually arboreal, meaning that they build their nests in trees amongst the leaves. These arboreal species of Polyrhachis use their silk producing larvae to weave the leaves together to create their nest.
If you are out looking for a Polyrhachis queen this brings about another set of challenges as the queens look very similar to the workers and in some species the only obvious difference between queens and worker are their wing muscles and wings scars.