|Alliance:||Pachycondyla genus group|
Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014
|Ponera constricta, now Mayaponera constricta|
Mayaponera is a monotypic genus widespread in Central and South America. It is found in wide range of natural and farming habitats.
Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Mayaponera workers lack any obvious autapomorphies and superficially have a very generalized appearance. They are most likely to be confused with some Neoponera and Mesoponera, but Mayaponera differs from Neoponera in its round propodeal spiracles, deeply impressed metanotal groove (at most only slightly impressed in Neoponera), and strongly narrowed propodeum with a dorsal longitudinal groove. It can be separated from the handful of Neoponera species in which the propodeal spiracle is round (some members of the N. emiliae group) by the presence of narrow and fang-like metasternal processes (the processes are triangular-shaped in Neoponera). Mayaponera differs from Mesoponera in having a complex metapleural gland orifice and prominent arolia.
Keys including this Genus
Mayaponera constricta is widespread in the Neotropics from Central America to Bolivia and southern Brazil (Mackay & Mackay, 2010).
Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps
Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Very little is known about the habits of Mayaponera. Mackay & Mackay (2010) reviewed Mayaponera constricta as part of their study of New World Pachycondyla while Longino (2013) and Baena (1993) summarized their observations on the species in Costa Rica and Colombia, respectively. The genus is common in a range of habitats from mature rainforests to cocoa plantations and other farm habitats, where it is frequently collected in leaf litter samples (Longino, 2013) and pitfall traps (Mackay & Mackay, 2010). Nests usually occur in rotting wood but can also be found directly in soil (often under stones), and workers forage predominantly at night on and among leaf litter (Baena, 1993; Longino, 2013; Mackay & Mackay, 2010). M. constricta apparently uses tandem running to recruit nestmates to food sources (S. Levings, pers. comm. cited in Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990). Both alate and ergatoid queens occur (Longino, 2013), and reported colony sizes are small (up to 29 workers; Baena, 1993) though nothing else is known about their reproductive or social behavior. Orivel & Déjean (2001) measured the toxicity of M. constricta venom. Given that it holds a critical phylogenetic position in the midst of several taxa with highly derived characteristics, additional observations on the ecological and behavioral traits of Mayaponera would be of great assistance in reconstructing character evolution in the Pachycondyla group.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- MAYAPONERA [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
- Mayaponera Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 143. Type-species: Ponera constricta, by original designation.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Medium-sized (TL 6–7.5 mm) slender ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles triangular, with about a dozen teeth on the masticatory margin. Clypeus with a broadly convex anterior margin and a subtle median emargination. Frontal lobes of moderate size. Eyes of moderate size, placed anterior of head midline. Metanotal groove deeply impressed. Propodeal dorsum strongly narrowed and with a longitudinal groove. Propodeal spiracles round. Metapleural gland orifice complex, with a posterior U-shaped cuticular lip and a shallow lateral groove. Metatibial spur formula (1s, 1p). Arolia prominent. Petiole a thick scale. Gaster with only a weak girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4. Stridulitrum present on pretergite of A4. Head and body finely punctate, with scattered pilosity and dense pubescence. Color dark brownish gray. See also Mackay & Mackay (2010).
Both alate and ergatoid queens are known for Mayaponera constricta. Ergatoids lack a deeply impressed metanotal groove and have a bulkier mesosoma than workers (Longino, 2013). See also Mackay & Mackay (2010).
See description in Forel (1908) and Mackay & Mackay (2010).
Described by Wheeler & Wheeler (1952, 1976).
Mayaponera is named in memory of the first author’s daughter Maya and for the Maya peoples of southern Mexico and northern Central America, included in the range of the genus. The suffix -ponera is derived from the subfamily name Ponerinae.
- Mackay, W. P., and E. E. Mackay 2010. The Systematics and Biology of the New World Ants of the Genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellon Press, Lewiston.
- Mayr, G. 1884. [Untitled. Descriptions of eight new species.]. Pp. 31-38 in: Radoszkowsky, O. Fourmis de Cayenne Française. Tr. Rus. Entomol. Obshch. 18:30-39. (page 31, worker described)
- Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa. 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1)