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Polyrhachis mitrata

Polyrhachis mitrata

     This is a very attractive species with a jet-black thorax/head and a bright red abdomen. The workers are about 5 - 6 mm in size, and the queens are slightly larger at 7 - 8 mm.

     Mature colonies have a single queen and are quite small with between 200 - 300 workers. They create nests on low-growing shrubs/trees between overlapping leaves that are lightly bound together with a mixture of plant debris and silk from their larvae. On occasion, they will also utilize gaps in or under the bark of older trees. As the colony increases in size, they will often form additional sub nests on nearby plants. These act as recruitment sites for workers when food is found far from the original nest.

     Their natural food mostly consists of sweet secretions from sap-sucking insects, but they will also eat any dead insects that they can find.

     They have nuptial flights during the rainy season and new queens will establish colonies on their own. They usually create a foundation chamber in a curled-up leaf, and when their eggs hatch into larvae they will leave their chamber at night to look for food.

     They are best kept in a natural landscaped habitat with plenty of branches to forage along. Small artificial nests can be used if suspended off the ground, or something more natural such as a large smooth-leaved potted plant.

     This species has only recently become available for hobbyists and is still quite difficult to obtain. However, because of its attractive colour and ease of care should become quite popular.


     Summary: An attractive species that responds well in captivity, does not need a large habitat area, and is easy to feed.


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