Iroponera

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Iroponera
Iroponera odax
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Ponera genus group
Genus: Iroponera
Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014
Type species
Iroponera odax
Diversity
1 species
(Species Checklist)

Iroponera odax casent0102331 p 1 high.jpg

Iroponera odax casent0102331 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Iroponera is a monotypic genus (Iroponera odax) restricted to south-eastern Australia. It occurs in wet forested habitats and is infrequently encountered.

Identification

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Iroponera workers are recognizable by the presence of a single metabial spur, absence of eye (although small dimples or slight discolorations are sometimes present where the eyes would be expected) and elongate and narrow mandibles with three or four small, widely spaced teeth. In overall body shape and size Iroponera closely resembles Hypoponera or Ponera, and all of these genera share the single metatibial spur. However, the unique mandibular shape and lack of eyes will separate this genus from others in the subfamily.

Keys including this Genus

 

Distribution

Iroponera is restricted to south-eastern Australia (southern New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania).

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Biology

This genus has been encountered only a handful of times and very little is known regarding its biology. All collections have been made at wetter sites consisting of wet sclerophyll woodlands. Nests occur in soil under rocks or under bark and contain only a few workers. The lack of eyes, small body size and pale color suggest a hypogeic lifestyle, and this may explain their infrequent collection. (Schmidt and Shattuck 2014)

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • IROPONERA [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Iroponera Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 196. Type-species: Iroponera odax, by original designation.

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

Description

Worker

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Small-sized (TL 2.6 mm) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles elongate and narrow, with three or four small, widely spaced teeth on the masticatory margin, the basal margin essentially absent, and lacking a basal groove or pit. Anterior clypeal margin broadly rounded and convex. Frontal lobes moderately large. Antennae often with a four segmented apical club. Eyes essentially absent, at most with small dimples or slight discolorations present where the eyes would be expected. Metanotal groove reduced to a suture. Propodeum broad dorsally. Propodeal spiracles round to oval. Metatibial spur formula (1p). Petiole nodiform. Helcium projecting from near midheight of anterior face of A3. Prora reduced and apparently absent. Girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4 apparent. Head, mesosoma and petiole weakly sculptured and with a matte surface, gaster weakly punctate. Head and body with scattered pilosity and a moderately dense pubescence. Color orange.

Etymology

The name Iroponera is based on the Latin ironia, assumed ignorance, combined with the suffix -ponera, derived from the subfamily name Ponerinae. The name expresses our surprise at finding such a novel genus in a well-collected country like Australia.

References