Hypoponera jocosa

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Hypoponera jocosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Hypoponera
Species: H. jocosa
Binomial name
Hypoponera jocosa
Bolton & Fisher, 2011

Known only from the type series. Bolton and Fisher (2011) state there are only three workers known, yet the paratypes are listed as consisting of two workers and a dealate queen.

Identification

Bolton and Fisher (2011) - Hypoponera jocosa is easily distinguished from all other known species in its complex. The species that resemble H. jocosa most closely include Hypoponera jeanneli, Hypoponera mixta, Hypoponera quaestio, Hypoponera surda and Hypoponera ursa, but in all of these the petiole node is distinctly less slender in profile and is relatively narrower in dorsal view. LPeI and DPeI in jocosa are 35–38 and 179–200 respectively, whereas the indices in the other five together are LPeI 43–50 and DPeI 137–172. In addition, the scapes of jocosa are relatively short, with SI 81–85 and SL/HL 0.66–0.68. In mixta, surda and ursa these indices are SI 86–93, SL/HL 0.71–0.75. There is overlap with jocosa only in some specimens of jeanneli, which has SI 82–88, SL/HL 0.64–0.72, but in this species LPeI is greater than, and DPeI less than, the figures seen in jocosa.

The ridges at the base of the posterior face of the petiole are small and inconspicuous. If these are overlooked, jocosa specimens will key out at the couplet that contains Hypoponera molesta and Hypoponera venusta. However, the differently shaped petioles of the three species will quickly separate them. In molesta and venusta together, their combined LPeI is 47–56, considerably greater than the LPeI 35–37 of jocosa. Individually, the PeNI of molesta (89–94) is much greater than that of jocosa (69–74), while the DPeI of venusta (139 – 160) is much lower than that of jocosa (179 – 200).

A member of the abeillei group.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Ethiopia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Hypoponera inhabit and nest in leaf litter, the surface layer of soil, downed rotten wood, and soil around plant roots. Nests are typically found by turning objects on the ground, like downed wood and rocks, or through the ripping away of bark found on rotting downed wood or at the base of dead trees. Litter samples in tropical areas, especially in moist forested sites, often contain individuals of this genus. All Hypoponera are thought to be predators of small arthropods but published details about their diet are sparse. A lack of information about other aspects of their biology is also typical for most species.

The genus is most diverse in the tropics. Species found in higher latitudes tend to be more widespread, common and abundant than their tropical and subtropical congeners.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • jocosa. Hypoponera jocosa Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 64 (w.q.) ETHIOPIA.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

In the known Ethiopian fauna jocosa resembles juxta. The possibility must be considered that the latter is merely a small representative of the former in which the minute cuticular ridges of the posterior petiole have been lost. However, among the very few specimens currently available the juxta holotype is distinctly smaller than the specimens of jocosa and has a somewhat differently shaped petiole, as indicated by comparison of their respective measurements and indices. For the present, until more material can be accumulated, these differences are considered sufficient to separate them as separate taxa.

Description

Worker

(holotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.59–0.60 (0.60), HW 0.48 (0.48), HS 0.535–0.540 (0.540), SL 0.39–0.41 (0.40), PrW 0.36–0.38 (0.37), WL 0.76–0.80 (0.78), HFL 0.39–0.40 (0.38), PeNL 0.14–0.15 (0.15), PeH 0.38–0.40 (0.39), PeNW 0.25–0.28 (0.27), PeS 0.257–0.273 (0.270) (3 measured). Indices: CI 80–81 (80), SI 81–85 (83), PeNI 69–74 (73), LPeI 35–37 (38), DPeI 179–200 (180).

Eyes absent. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; SL/HL 0.66–0.68. Cephalic dorsum densely reticulate-punctate; lateroventral surfaces of head with scattered small punctures that are separated by shining areas of cuticle. Pronotal dorsum obviously much less strongly and less densely sculptured than cephalic dorsum, with scattered small punctures. Metanotal groove absent from dorsum of mesosoma, though a faint vestige of the junction between mesonotum and propodeum remains. Propodeum marginate between declivity and side. Posterior surface of petiole node with about 4 short, inconspicuous cuticular ridges that are restricted to the extreme apex of the peduncle and extreme base of the node. Node of petiole in profile slender, short and high, with the anterior and posterior faces parallel and the dorsum shallowly convex. Petiole node in dorsal view broad relative to its length; posterior face transverse and anterior face convex, the dorsum longest medially and tapering rapidly on both sides. Subpetiolar process with a blunt ventral angle. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view slightly greater than width of second gastral tergite at its midlength. Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral tergite very conspicuous, coarse and densely crowded. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is distinctly less than the width of the segment at its midlength. Disc of second gastral tergite with sharply incised, coarse, conspicuous punctures that are separated by areas of glossy cuticle; the diameters of the punctures are equal to or slightly less than the distances that separate the punctures. First gastral tergite in profile densely pubescent dorsally and with short setae present. Full adult colour: cephalic dorsum black; mesosoma, petiole and gaster dark brown.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Ethiopia: Ilubador Region, Buno Bedele, nr Bedele, 29/31.vii.2002, Museo Zoologico “La Spe-cola”, num. MAG 2484 (A. Sforzi & L. Bartolozzi) (MSNF).

Paratypes. 2 workers and 1 dealate queen, with same data as holotype (MSNF, Barry Bolton Reference Collection).

References

  • Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2011. Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi. Zootaxa 2843: 1-118. PDF