Animal Species:Green-head Ant

Green-head Ants are one of the most abundant and widespread of Australian insects.

Green-head Ant

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Green-head Ant

Alternative Name/s

Green Ant

Identification

The metallic colour of Green-head Ants can vary from a green-blue to a green-purple sheen.

Size range

5 mm - 7 mm

Distribution

Green-head Ants are found throughout Australia.

Habitat

Green-head Ants live in urban areas, forests and woodlands, heath.

Feeding and Diet

Green-head Ants have a broad-ranging diet, but they generally feed on animal material both as scavengers and predators. They move quickly while foraging, which generally occurs during the day, on the ground and among vegetation.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Green-head Ants are able to colonise disturbed areas quickly and have become common in urban areas. These ants are one of the first insects to forage after bush fires and are sometimes found as soon as the embers have stopped smouldering.

Unlike many ants, rain presents no problem to Green-head Ants, as long as it is only a light shower in continued sunshine. In overcast, cloudy conditions these ants return to their nests, which are usually in soil, under twigs or wood and often at the base of shrubs.

Danger to humans and first aid

Green-head Ants can sting. An ice pack or commercially available spray may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of an allergic reaction, medical attention should be sought.

Classification

Species:
metallica
Genus:
Rhytidoponera
Subfamily:
Ponerinae
Family:
Formicidae
Superfamily:
Vespoidea
Suborder:
Apocrita
Order:
Hymenoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags ants, insects, invertebrates, arthopods, identification, wildlife of sydney, stinging, bites,

2 comments

David Britton - 9.02 AM, 21 February 2012

Andrew, because we are not licensed pest controllers I can't comment on the right insecticides for control of these ants. However, I can say that it is unlikely that you will be able to control them for any length of time without repeated applications which will be detrimental to other insects and animals in the area. These ants are very good at colonising disturbed areas, and will recolonise in a very short time. I was not able to locate any detailed information in relation to the venom in Rhytidoponera species in a short search of academic papers, but I expect that someone somewhere has looked into this.

AWC - 12.02 PM, 17 February 2012
These ants are extremely resistant to most insect sprays, and "dusts" including permethrin. I've used biphenthrin with good effect, but am cautious to only use it next to existing nest openings. Can anyone give me details of; a) best evidence for insecticide use, and b) the venom they inject? (eg. acid/alkaline, chemical nature, etc.?) Thanks, AWC

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