Polyrhachis

Smith, F., 1857, Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected at Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore, by A. R. Wallace., Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 2, pp. 42-88: 58-59

publication ID

2588

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:D09C3FFA-7EB5-4A2D-A55E-A3229619A2A2

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/5C85B77C-9A38-2B33-73DA-E8DCF26D90D5

treatment provided by

Christiana

scientific name

Polyrhachis
status

 

Genus Polyrhachis  HNS  .

Body more or less armed with spines. Antenna elongate, usually nearly as long as the body; labial palpi 4-jointed, the basal joint shortest, the three following, each in succession, longer than the preceding; the apical joint three times the length of the basal one. Maxillary palpi 6-jointed, elongate, the basal joint short, about half the length of the second joint, each of the following joints more than twice the length of the second joint. Thorax: subovate in the females; compressed and frequently flattened above in the workers; wings as in Formica ligniperda  HNS  . Abdomen globose. (Details, Plate I.)

This genus of Ants, of which the Formica bihamata  HNS  may be regarded as the type, forms a very distinct section of the Formicidae: the males I am not acquainted with. The habit of these insects is arboreal, as we learn from Mr. Jerdon, who, in his paper on Ants, in the Madras Journal, describes two species; of one, P. nidificans  HNS  , he says, " This Ant makes a small nest about half an inch or rather more in diameter, of some papyraceous material, which it fixes on a leaf; I have opened two, each of which contained one female and eight or ten workers. It is veryrare; I have only seen it in Malabar." What can be the use of the formidable spines and hooks with which these creatures are armed, it is impossible to determine; on examination we find, as might be expected in species living on trees, and probably all have the same habit, that the legs are destitute of spines, and usually of pubescence also; the calcaria at the apex of the tibiae are very short, and the tips of the tarsal joints have very short spines and hairs.

The Polyrhachis textor  HNS  , described in these papers, was captured with its nest, and was sent from Malacca by Mr. Wallace; the nest is nearly oval, not quite an inch in length, its shortest diameter being a little over half an inch; this nest is not of a papyraceous texture, but fibrous, formed, as it were, of a coarse network; the colonies must consequently be very small, as Mr. Jerdon says, consisting of only eight or ten individuals; but probably at the height of the season, when the males appear, the nests may be somewhat enlarged, as we know to be the case amongst the social Wasps.

Although these insects are usually rare, or at least seldom met with in collcetions, Mr. Wallace has captured no less than nineteen species in the East: from the New World I have only seen one or two, about four from Africa, and the same number from Australia.