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Golden-tailed Spiny Ants

Polyrhachis ammon, subgenus Hagiomyrma


Also known as Shiny Bums or Shiny Bum Ants. Small black ants with metallic silvery gold abdomen, two spines facing backwards at lower end of thorax. Tending 'crop' of lerps collecting the sugary secretions. If other viewers have more accurate ID I would welcome hearing from them as these ones looked different to other spiny ants researched.


Existing in a variety of habitats throughout Australia usually making a nest under bark of trees, in small hollows or cracks in logs, sometimes at ground level. These ones tending 'crop' in Eucalyptus tree about 5 feet from ground level.

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LeanneGardner 6 years ago

I agree kd. I have found the same with flies of all things, since joining P.N.

kdpicturemaker 6 years ago

Thanks Leanne. There's so many different species - the closer you look at ants the more interesting they become.

LeanneGardner 6 years ago

I think they're beautiful kd. My shots aren't very clear, but they're something to compare it too.

kdpicturemaker 6 years ago

That's probably correct martinl. They do both when the mood takes them! I've watched different ant species 'farm' lerps over the years, taking just the sugary coating, then occasionally taking the insect underneath. I'd say it depends on what their feeding regime dictates for themselves & when feeding extra ant larvae, weather conditions coming up such as a flood or drought, a number of factors seem to be in play. I have another image of smaller black ants & will post that shortly. Thank you for your observations - it's good to discuss with someone.

MartinL 6 years ago

It appears to me that the ants who are allegedly 'farming' the lerps are in fact completely eating their shells. Naked lerp insects are sitting in positions with broken edges of their lerps that seem to have been raided. One ant on the left is caught red-handed with a shell in its jaws.
Do you agree with this observation?

Spotted by

New South Wales, Australia

Lat: -29.59, Long: 152.78

Spotted on Feb 23, 2014
Submitted on Mar 2, 2014

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