Philidris nagasau

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Philidris nagasau
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Philidris
Species: P. nagasau
Binomial name
Philidris nagasau
(Mann, 1921)

Philidris nagasau casent0171058 p 1 high.jpg

Philidris nagasau casent0171058 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Philidris nagasau is polydomous. It cultivates and manages large Squamellaria colonies by collecting and planting the plants’ seeds under tree bark and fertilising its crop from the seedling stage onward. The ants feed on sugar- and amino-acid-rich floral food rewards produced by mature Squamellaria plants (Chomicki and Renner 2016; Chomicki et al. 2016, Chomicki and Renner 2019). The ants obligately use the domatia of this plant for their nests.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Fiji (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Chomicki and Renner (2019) studied nutrient uptake in ephipytic plants in the genus Squamellaria. Seeds of this plant are placed under bark by P. nagasau, and the ants obligately use the ephiphyte, which forms a domatia, for their nests. This study showed that nutrient uptake was greatly enhanced by the ants, putatively through the ants defecating on absorptive warts found on the inside walls of the domatia. The warts are thought to be analogous to root hairs in their capacity and function.



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • nagasau. Iridomyrmex nagasau Mann, 1921: 470, fig. 27 (w.) FIJI IS. Combination in Philidris: Shattuck, 1992a: 18. Senior synonym of agnatus, alticola: Sarnat & Economo, 2012: 36.
  • agnatus. Iridomyrmex nagasau subsp. agnatus Mann, 1921: 472 (w.) FIJI IS. Combination in Philidris: Shattuck, 1992a: 18. Junior synonym of nagasau: Sarnat & Economo, 2012: 36.
  • alticola. Iridomyrmex nagasau subsp. alticola Mann, 1921: 472 (w.) FIJI IS. Combination in Philidris: Shattuck, 1992a: 18. Junior synonym of nagasau: Sarnat & Economo, 2012: 36.



  • Chomicki, G. and S. S. Renner. 2019. Farming by ants remodels nutrient uptake in epiphytes. New Phytologist. 223:2011-2023. doi:10.1111/nph.15855
  • Mann, W. M. 1921. The ants of the Fiji Islands. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 64: 401-499 (page 470, fig. 27 worker described)
  • Sarnat, E.M. & Economo, E.P. 2012. The ants of Fiji: 384 pp. UC Publications in Entomology, University of California Press.
  • Shattuck, S. O. 1992a. Review of the dolichoderine ant genus Iridomyrmex Mayr with descriptions of three new genera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. Entomol. Soc. 31: 13-18 (page 18, Combination in Philidris)