Hypoponera meridia

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

Hypoponera meridia P casent0395928.jpg

Hypoponera meridia D casent0395928.jpg

Specimen Label

An unusual Hypoponera in that it has been collected from and appears to be a denizen of grasslands.

Identification

A member of the abeillei group. See the nomenclature section of Hypoponera natalensis for identification remarks.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa (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.

  • meridia. Hypoponera meridia Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 70, figs. 73-75 (w.q.) SOUTH AFRICA.

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

The series from South Africa, Gauteng Prov. (data below, in SAMC, AFRC, BBRC) is extremely close to meridia and fits the above description except for being slightly darker and slightly larger than other series examined, but the LPeI in this series is consistently somewhat higher. Measurements: HL 0.54–0.56, HW 0.41–0.42, HS 0.475–0.490, SL 0.34–0.36, PrW 0.32–0.33, WL 0.68–0.70, HFL 0.35–0.36, PeNL 0.18–0.20, PeH 0.30–0.32, PeNW 0.24–0.25, PeS 0.240–0.257 (9 measured). Indices: CI 73–77, SI 82–86, PeNI 75–78, LPeI 58–65, DPeI 125–139. Besides this, the cross-ribs at the base of the cinctus of the second gastral tergite are extremely feeble and appear undeveloped in a few specimens; even at their strongest the cross-ribs appear as a row of minute, feeble punctures that may be difficult to see. This Gauteng series is currently maintained as meridia because it is by no means certain that separation at species-rank can be justified. The species is run out at two places in the key to reflect the variation of development of the gastral cross-ribs. Also see Hypoponera natalensis.

Description

Worker

(holotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.52–0.54 (0.52), HW 0.38–0.40 (0.40), HS 0.415–0.470 (0.460), SL 0.32–0.34 (0.34), PrW 0.28–0.30 (0.29), WL 0.67–0.70 (0.67), HFL 0.32–0.34 (0.32), PeNL 0.14–0.16 (0.15), PeH 0.28–0.30 (0.29), PeNW 0.20–0.23 (0.21), PeS 0.210–0.230 (0.213) (10 measured). Indices: CI 72–77 (77), SI 83–89 (85), PeNI 70–78 (72), LPeI 47–55 (52), DPeI 133–144 (140).

Eyes absent or at most with an indistinct small depigmented spot. In full-face view apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin; SL/HL 0.62–0.65. Reticulate-punctulate sculpture of cephalic dorsum fine; head more densely sculptured than pronotal dorsum. Lateroventral surfaces of head almost smooth, only with very widely separated, minute punctulae. With mesosoma in dorsal view the metanotal groove absent. Propodeal declivity separated from sides by blunt angles or weak marginations. Mesopleuron smooth and shining. Petiole in profile with the node relatively short and of moderate height, the anterior and posterior faces parallel or at most extremely feebly convergent dorsally; dorsal surface shallowly broadly convex. Subpetiolar process usually with a low, blunt ventral angle. Posterior surface of petiole node without a transverse groove or impression above the peduncle, but sometimes a slender transverse carina is present that is immediately adjacent to the peducle. Without cuticular ridges that radiate upwards from the posterior petiolar peduncle. In dorsal view the petiole node distinctly broader than long. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view less than the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite with short, feeble and indistinct cross-ribs that often appear merely as a row of aligned weak punctures. Posttergite of second gastral segment, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, distinctly broader than long. Disc of second gastral tergite shallowly reticulate-punctate to microreticulate. With first gastral segment in profile its dorsum with sparse short standing setae. Full adult colour yellow to yellowish brown.

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype worker, South Africa: Kwazulu Natal, Umtamvuna Nat. Res., 31°02.704’S, 30°10.080’E, 220 m., 15.xi.2000, Winkler bag extraction, leaf litter, Pondoland Coastal Plateau, sour grassland, KW00-W23, CASENT 0395928 (S. van Noort) (California Academy of Sciences).

Paratypes. 3 workers and 1 delalate queen, with same data as holotype but coded KW00-W24, CASENT 0395317; KW00-W25, CASENT 0395327; KW00-W25, CASENT 0395328; KW00-W25, CASENT 0395330 (queen) (CASC).

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