Metallic golden ant (Ilsa, Jakarta, Indonesia)


Hi,

I'm having some trouble identifying these ants I found in my garden today (in Tangerang, on the western outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia).

I disturbed a small colony of very beautiful ants.

At first I thought they were carpenter ants but on closer inspection saw they were a shiny metallic golden colour all over.

I took some photos (attached), but the resolution is not great (iPhone4), hopefully it is enough for an ID.

Here are some other details on which may or may not help with an ID...

Nest location - by accident I left a mat hanging over an unused light post for 3 weeks (while on holiday). The post (1m) is in the center of my yard (sure under by grass), a few meters away from any plants and garden litter.

It is the monsoon season has been raining almost non-stop while I was away. However the inside of the mat is slightly water proof.

When I returned today I went outside to retrieve the matt to wash it again & discovered a small colony of golden ants living underneath.

They had made a small open nest with some dead grass loosely held together.

I saw a few small white fuzzy balls which I could possibly be eggs - I have only ever seen smooth opaque ant eggs/larvae before.

However when I disturbed their nest (by picking up the mat) the ants did not grab anything to carry with them (I've seen other ants carry their eggs/larvae when disturbed.

After googling everything about golden colored ants the 2 species which were the closest match are:

Camponotus sericeventris
Polyrhachis ammon

But I'm still not sure but have not been able to find any other ants that are shiny metallic gold.

If you have any insight it would be greatly appreciated.

Warmest regards,
Ilsa

photo 3.JPG
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Dear Ilsa,

Thank you for contacting AntBlog and sending photos! The ant you found is certainly from the genus Polyrhachis, so we called in the world's authority on the genus, Rudy Kohout. Here is what Rudy had to say:

"It is difficult to say with absolute confidence what species it is, but it is certainly a member of the subgenus Myrmhopla. I also believe that the pics represent Polyrhachis (Myrmhopla) dives Fr. Smith, a very widespread species ranging from south-east Asia south to northern Australia. It is a morphologically stable species with the pubescence ranging from rather abundant and completely hiding underlying sculpturation, to relatively sparse. The colour of the pubescence varies from a rich golden (as on the photos) to rather dull, silvery grey (as in most Australian specimens)."

Polyrhachis ants have some amazing diversity in spines. Click on the link above for the genus or you can also see some of the diversity here.

Keep watching ants!
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

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