Rhytidoponera mettallica Click to enlarge image
Green-head Ant, Rhytidoponera mettallica from the Royal National Park Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    metallica
    Genus
    Rhytidoponera
    Subfamily
    Ponerinae
    Family
    Formicidae
    Super Family
    Vespoidea
    Suborder
    Apocrita
    Order
    Hymenoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    5 mm - 7 mm

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

Identification

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

Habitat

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

Distribution

Green-head Ants are found throughout Australia.

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

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.