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Rattle Ants

Polyrhachis australis


The Rattle Ant (aka Black Weaver Ant and Dome-backed Spiny Ant) is a medium-sized ant. It is shiny black with humped back. They have spines on their thorax. Body length is approx. 6-7 mm. They build their nests on trees using plants leaves, dry plant materials and soil which are woven together with silk of their larvae. Sometimes the colony builds more than one nest on the same plant. When their nest is disturbed (I gave it a good tap), they will come out and look for the intruder. They will also make the distinct 'rattle' noise by movement across the hard leaf surface to warn the intruder. Here's some info on the Rattle/Spiny Ant species


These ants were nesting in a tree. They constructed a nest over a 4 day period, and here's my documentation of their efforts -


I see these ants from time to time, but usually in trees or bushes. Green ants, which are roughly the same size, are more ground-dwelling, and they are the ones I see most frequently. Please note the little white door on the nest. Perhaps they use this to seal the nest against the elements.

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Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

( having a go at all of us without 20-20 senses :-)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 6 years ago

That gave me the best belly laugh!!! Totally unexpected. I think you're having a go at me.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 6 years ago

I checked the ants out again today. Gave the tree a good shake and watched the ants swarm. Couldn't hear them though. A lot of background noise from traffic, etc., but then my hearing, like my eyesight, isn't as fab as it used to be.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Get two - double the laughs.
Peter Chew says they rattled and you can bet he would have listened.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 6 years ago

I don't know yet, Mark. Too windy today to hear if they did or didn't. That's also why the pics are a bit fuzzy. I'll keep an eye on these guys and let you know. I might need one of the old fashioned ear trumpets. That'll get a few laughs.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Fascinating. I've not heard of these. And they really do rattle.

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Mar 4, 2014
Submitted on Mar 4, 2014

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