Green-head Ant

Rhytidoponera metallica

Green-head ant (Rhytidoponera metallica) A Green-head ant worker showing the heavily pitted body with strong metallic reflections.

Green-head ants are one of the commonest garden ants in south-eastern Queensland where they are responsible for most ant stings. The sting is painful but generally short-lived, but is known to produce severe allergic reactions in some people. Green-head ants are found throughout Australia and are common in open forests, woodlands, grasslands and pastures. They nest in the soil, either in open ground or under rocks and logs. The workers are scavengers and predators of other invertebrates but also collect plant seeds and honeydew from sap-sucking insects.

In Brisbane, people call these ants 'green ants'. However, this can be confusing, because when people from north Queensland talk about green ants they are referring to Green Tree Ants.

Identification

Workers are 4.5 to 5 mm long and black with metallic green, blue and purple reflections. Their bodies are heavily armoured and pitted and the waist has a single segment. All the workers within a nest are similar in size (monomorphic).

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