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Everything You Need to Know About Polyrhachis Dives Weaver Ants

Polyrhachis Dives weaver ants care


We are excited to introduce you to the fascinating world of the Polyrhachis dives, a species of exotic weaver ant that is gaining popularity among ant keepers—the second-best favourite ants in our top 10. The first place is held by the Asian Weaver Ants - Oecophylla smaragdina. Polyrhachis dives aka exotic spiny ants belong to the diverse Polyrhachis genus, known for their incredible silk-spinning abilities used in nest construction.

As experienced antkeepers and suppliers, we acquired a colony of Polyrhachis dives on our annual trip to China in 2007, and we plan to share our journey of caring for this Asian weaver ant species, including setting up their polyrhachis dives nest and understanding their unique dietary needs. Get ready to explore the captivating behaviours and characteristics that make the Polyrhachis Dives queen and workers such intriguing creatures!


Find out more about Asian Weaver Ants: The Masters of Nest Building and Colony Structure


Habitat and Behavior of Polyrhachis Dives-Weaver Ants

Polyrhachis dives, the Asian weaver ant, is a fascinating species with unique habitat preferences and behaviours. These ants thrive in hot and humid environments, requiring temperatures between overnight:24 and daily:30°C and humidity levels of 50-70% in the outworld and in the nest - a constant temperature of 28°C and air humidity around 65-70%. They construct intricate nests using the silk their larvae produce to bind together materials like moss, grass, sticks, and dirt into a distinctive ball-shaped structure.

  • Polyrhachis dives colonies can grow remarkably large, potentially reaching tens of thousands of workers with multiple, up to 50 queens in nature (polygyne ant species). We have reached around 3000 workers in 3 years, starting with 7 queens and around 100 workers.

  • These ants are recognised for their courageous and dynamic behaviour, boasting superior sensation skills. When agitated, they might emit formic acid or try to nip in self-protection.

  • Though Polyrhachis ants are not capable of stinging, they have the ability to spray formic acid when they feel threatened.

Polyrhachis dives exhibit a diverse range of behaviours and adaptations:

  1. Habitat Patterns: The exclusive presence of these ants is observed in the old-world territories of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. They demonstrate a myriad of nesting tendencies such as constructing nests using cartons and silk in trees, establishing nests within the cavities of plants, creating terrestrial nests beneath objects, and building nests under the ground within the soil.

  2. Foraging and Diet: Polyrhachis dives, along with its other species, enjoy a diverse food palette that includes honeydew from trophobionts such as aphids, the nectar of plants, and insects both alive and deceased. You can spot them scavenging anywhere from shrubbery to treetops, and they remain active throughout the day and night.

  3. Reproductive Strategies: The breeding methods of Polyrhachis ants differ significantly, with certain types having a monogynous (one queen) system, others being polygynous (several queens), and some even demonstrating pleometrosis (establishment of colonies by multiple queens). Specifically, the Polyrhachis dives species is polygynous, often housing 50 or more queens within a single colony.

Physical Characteristics

The Asian weaver ant, scientifically known as Polyrhachis dives, is a species that stands out due to its unique physical traits. The queen is around 12 mm long and the worker ants vary between 6-8 mm.

  • Distinctive Features: These ants are characterised by mandibles featuring 5 teeth, a front clypeal edge that is notched with sharp side teeth, and direct, flat, sharp pronotal spines. The propodeal spines are thin and spread with bent ends, whereas the petiole exhibits sharp dorsolateral spines and a set of intervening teeth.

  • Colouration and Adornments: Polyrhachis dives ants exhibit a deep yellow-brown hue, highlighted by a metallic gloss, while their legs show a darker shade compared to the rest of their body. Unique features include the presence of bent golden bristles on the mandibles, upright hairs on the clypeus and gaster, as well as thickly packed silver-golden fuzz.

  • Queen Characteristics: The queens are larger than workers as you know by default. They have shorter spines, a more deeply emarginate clypeal margin, and more convex eyes compared to the workers.

Care Requirements

To properly care for Polyrhachis dives, also known as the Asian weaver ant, it's essential to recreate their natural surroundings and cater to their specific needs. These insects flourish in environments that are both hot and moist, so providing appropriate accommodation and managing temperature is key. Various housing options can be used, from outworlds attached to nesting modules to spacious containers that allow for the creation of their elaborate silk nests.

Housing Options:

Temperature and Humidity:

  • Ideal temperature range: 24-30°C

  • Humidity levels: 50-80%

  • Use a heat cable or heating mat for temperature regulation

  • Maintain humidity with regular misting or a large flat Greek sponge water reservoir

Diet and Feeding:

  • Varied diet of proteins and sugars

  • Protein sources: fruit flies, crickets or locusts and mealworms

  • Sugar sources: organic honey, sugar water, plant nectaries

  • Provide a constant supply of purified (mineral/bottled) freshwater


You might be interested in this article as well: From Sugar to Insects: What Do Ants Eat


Nesting Materials:

Substrate: coconut fibre, wood shavings, or Exotic Ant substrate

  • Provide materials like Natural Nest balls, twigs, leaves, and moss for nest construction

  • Allow ample space for their intricate silk nests to develop

Handling and Care Tips:

  • Wear protective gear when handling to avoid potential bites or acid sprays

  • Feed small colonies (up to 50 workers) with dead insects (mealworms, crickets or locusts), boiled for 10 seconds and chopped in half. You will have lots of fun watching Dives hunting fruit flues though. These ants are super fast!

  • Gradually introduce new food sources to avoid stressing the colony

  • Monitor for potential pests or mold growth, and maintain cleanliness

By replicating their natural environment and providing proper care, you can successfully keep and observe the fascinating behaviours of Polyrhachis dives in captivity.


Need more nesting materials and accessories: Ant Keeping Equipment and Essentials


Why Polyrhachis Dives?

Polyrhachis dives, the Asian weaver ant, is an exceptional species that offers a unique and captivating experience for antkeepers and hobbyists. These ants stand out for their intricate nest-building abilities, fascinating behaviours, and striking physical characteristics. Keeping a colony of Polyrhachis dives allows you to witness firsthand their remarkable silk-spinning skills and the construction of their distinctive ball-shaped nests.

  • Engaging Behaviors: Observing the daily activities and interactions within a Polyrhachis dives colony is an enthralling experience. Their bold and active nature, coupled with their excellent sensing abilities, make them fascinating subjects for study and observation, making them perfect for your office or classroom.

  • Suitable for beginner antkeepers: This ant species is calm in manner and easy to control, making it an ideal choice for those just starting their journey with exotic ants or for more seasoned enthusiasts. They exhibit rapid development, especially once the colony has more than 30 workers. Being native to tropical climates, these ants remain active year-round, eliminating the need for hibernation.

  • Educational Opportunities: Tending to these ants gives us a priceless understanding of their intricate societal configurations, breeding tactics, and adjustments to their indigenous environments. It presents a practical educational opportunity for antkeepers, regardless of whether they are veterans or novices in the field.

  • Unique Nesting Habits: Observing the assembly of Polyrhachis dives' complex silk domiciles is an enthralling procedure. They demonstrate their cleverness and adaptability in their capacity to amalgamate diverse substances using the silk generated by their offspring.

  • Aesthetic Appeal: The glistening metallic sheen, unique spikes, and silvery-golden bristles that embellish the workers and queens of Polyrhachis dives make them visually captivating. Their inclusion in a carefully crafted formicarium or vivarium can inject a visually intriguing and foreign component to your ant-keeping arrangement.

By keeping Polyrhachis dives, you gain the opportunity to appreciate the wonders of nature up close while contributing to the growing community of ant enthusiasts dedicated to understanding and preserving these fascinating creatures.



FAQs

What distinguishes Polyrhachis dives from other ants?

Ants of the Polyrhachis dives species are distinguished by their dimensions, hue, and glossiness. The worker ants generally measure between 6 and 8 mm, while the size of the queen ant is conspicuously larger, roughly around 12mm. They showcase a deep yellow-brown body colour that glistens with a metallic shine, and their limbs are tinted slightly darker than their main body.


What constitutes the diet of Polyrhachis ants?

Polyrhachis ants have a diverse diet essential for their colony's health. They feed on various food insects, including cockroaches and crickets, and enjoy a sweet syrup made from water and honey. They also consume fruits (bananas, grapes etc), vegetables, protein jelly, and even cooked chicken or tuna.


Do Polyrhachis ants create fully enclosed nests?

Polyrhachis species predominantly live in trees and construct nests made from vegetation and silk produced by the ants. While some species may build underground nests, most Polyrhachis queens are semi-claustral, meaning they partially forage for food during the initial colony establishment phase.


What are the primary food sources for Polyrhachis ants?

Polyrhachis ants, such as the Polyrhachis lamellidens, have a diet that includes both plant-based and animal-based nutrients. They obtain nitrogen by consuming plant matter and insect secretions, while their main carbohydrate intake comes from sap-sucking insects like aphids and psyllids.




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