Key to North American Genera of Ponerinae (Fisher and Cover)

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This key to the genera of North American Ponerinae has been adapted from Fisher & Cover (2007).

1

  • Mandible long and straight, in full-face view inserted in the middle of the front margin of the head, with two or three large teeth near tip; inner margin without teeth (A). Petiolar node with at least one tooth or spine (B). No visible constriction between abdominal segments 3 and 4 (C) => 2
  • Mandible short to long and triangular to straight, in full-face view inserted at the side (lateral corner) of the head, with the teeth (when present) located along the inner margin (AA). Petiolar node without spines or teeth (BB). Visible constriction between abdominal segments 3 and 4 present (CC) => 3

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 25a.png

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 25b.png

2

  • Petiolar node with a prominent vertical tooth or spine (A). With the head viewed from the back near the neck of the pronotum, the top of the head as in (B) => Odontomachus (Species key)
  • In side view, petiolar node strongly transversely compressed (narrow); and when seen from front or rear with dorsal margin concave, with a tooth on each lateral corner (AA). With the head viewed from the back near the neck of the pronotum, the top of the head as in (BB). (Not commonly collected, central and southern Florida.) => Anochetus (Anochetus mayri)

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 26.png

3

  • Outer face of tibia of middle leg with many coarse, spine-like bristles in addition to hairs and apical spur (A). Basal portion of mandible with a distinct dorsolateral oval pit near the insertion (difficult to see) (B). (Not commonly collected, southeast and south central U.S.) => Cryptopone (Cryptopone gilva)
  • Outer face of tibia of middle leg may have hairs, but lacks coarse, spine-like bristles except at apex (AA). Basal portion of mandible without a dorsolateral oval pit near the insertion => 4

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 27.png

4

  • Small ants; total length 3 mm or less. The inner tip of hind tibia, when viewed from in front, with a single, large, comb-like (pectinate) spur; without a second smaller spur in front of the pectinate main spur (A) => 5
  • Large ants; total length greater than 4 mm. The inner tip of hind tibia, when viewed from in front, with either two pectinate spurs, one large and one small (AA), or a large pectinate spur and a much smaller simple spur (use high magnification, 50 to 100 x) (AAA) => 6

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 28.png

5

  • Petiole, in side view, with lobe-like subpetiolar process that has a circular, often translucent thin spot (window) toward the front, and two small, sharp teeth or angles projecting posteriorly (A) => Ponera (Species key)
  • Subpetiolar process a simple rounded lobe, without a translucent thin spot toward the front when viewed from the side and without sharp teeth or angles to the rear (AA) => Hypoponera (Species key)

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 29.png

6

  • Promesonotal suture present and metanotal suture absent on mesosomal dorsum (A). Tibia of middle and hind legs each with two pectinate spurs, one large and one small (teeth on the small spur can be difficult to see; use high magnification, 50 to 100 x) (B). Frontal lobes and antennal sockets widely separated (C). (Not commonly collected, southern Florida and extreme southern Texas.) => Platythyrea (Platythyrea punctata)
  • Both promesonotal and metanotal sutures present on mesosomal dorsum (AA). Tibia of middle and hind legs each with two spurs, one large and pectinate, and the other small and simple (use high magnification, 50 to 100 x) (BB). Frontal lobes and the antennal sockets very close together (CC) => 7

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 30a.png

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 30b.png

7

  • Tarsal claws on the hind legs finely pectinate (A). Mandibles slender and elongated and without teeth on inner margin (B) => Leptogenys (Species key)
  • Tarsal claws on hind legs simple, without teeth on inner margin (AA). Mandibles always subtriangular and armed with teeth (BB) => 8

Fisher & Cover 2007, Key Fig. 31.png

8

  • Metapleural gland orifice with a posterior, inverted U-shaped cuticular lip (opening lateral and anterior of posterior propodeal face) (Fig. A) => 9
  • Metapleural gland orifice without a posterior U-shaped cuticular lip (opening separated from posterior propodeal face by a very narrow, low flange) (Fig. B) => 10

SSP03.jpg

9

  • Hypopygium with a row of stout setae along each side of the sting (sometimes partially hidden by surrounding thinner hairs) (Fig. A). Stridulatory organ absent from A4 pretergite. Arolia not prominent and white. Preocular carinae absent => Pachycondyla (Pachycondyla harpax)
  • Hypopygium without a row of stout setae along each side of the sting. Stridulatory organ present on A4 pretergite (Fig. B). Arolia prominent, projecting and usually bright white. Preocular carinae present or absent => Neoponera (Neoponera villosa)

SSP06.jpg

10

  • Mesosomal profile discontinuous, the propodeum lower than the mesonotum. Mandible with a basal pit or groove. Propodeal spiracle round. Prora absent from anterior margin of first gastral sternite (Fig. A) (Introduced in SE USA) => Brachyponera (Brachyponera chinensis)
  • Mesosomal profile nearly continuous, the metanotal groove shallow or absent. Either mandible without a basal pit or groove and propodeal spiracle round or ovoid, or mandible with a basal pit or groove and propodeal spiracle slit-shaped. Prora present on anterior margin of first gastral sternite (Fig. B) => Pseudoponera (Pseudoponera stigma)

SSP15.jpg

References

  • Fisher, B. L.; Cover, S. P. 2007. Ants of North America. A guide to genera. Berkeley: University of California Press, xiv + 194 pp.