Polyrhachis bihamarta

Polyrhachis bihamarta

     This is a stunning species with large golden bronze workers. The workers are 12-15 mm in size and are characterized by their attractive color and two large incurving hooks on their thorax. The workers have three pairs of curved spines on their bodies. The largest pair of spines look like fish hooks from which the ants get their name.

     Fish-hook ants use their spines as a defensive weapon. These spines deter predators from approaching them and picking them as food. When a predator approaches their nest, the ants will swarm out en masse, and hook onto each other using their spines. So, it is difficult for the predator to separate an individual from the group. If that doesn't work and if the predators bite them, the ants will jerk and their spines will cut the predator's mouth. Their hooks are also capable of sticking in the throat of the predator if they try to swallow them.

     The queens are slightly larger than the workers and distinguishable because they do not have the two hooked spines, and have a notably larger thorax.

     In the wild, they live in remote shaded forests and tend to nest on the forest floor inside dead logs / hollow trees. During the day as the temperature rises, they form long foraging trails looking for suitable food.

     Recently a large number of ‘young colonies’ have been shipped to European ant shops for resale to the public. Unfortunately, most if not all these colonies were false, made up of de winged female alates and given brood and workers from a mature colony. (This action has been described by the collectors on some Thai language Facebook groups.) No doubt there will be a lot of failed colonies soon giving the impression this species is difficult to keep. However, the truth is that they are quite easy to keep. If you start with a true queen and workers, they are quite easy to culture. They will take most sweet substances and dead insects. They do however like it quite warm and humid.

 

     We have a single colony for sale which we collected ourselves and has been in captivity for four months. This originally was to learn more about the species with the aim of being able to offer young colonies for sale, but of the twenty young colonies we purchased from Thai collectors which we have now kept for two months and hoped to release for sale soon, none have proven viable.

     The colony we are offering for sale has a confirmed fertile queen with about 50–75 workers, eggs, larvae, and pupae are all present. The colony actually has around 300 workers but as they release formic acid when under stress, sending the full workforce would result in them fumigating themselves in their container. We can however pack an additional container with more workers if required for an additional charge.

 

    £130.00Price