Neoponera magnifica

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Neoponera magnifica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Neoponera
Species: N. magnifica
Binomial name
Neoponera magnifica
(Borgmeier, 1929)

Neoponera magnifica ufv-labecol-000003 p 1 high.jpg

Neoponera magnifica ufv-labecol-000003 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of this species.

Identification

From Mackay and Mackay (2010): Neoponera magnifica could be confused with the Mexican and Central American Neoponera lineaticeps, the Colombian (and Venezuelan?) Pachycondyla fuscoatra and the Brasilian to the Argentinean Pachycondyla striata. The shiny patches of dense golden pubescence medial and lateral to the eyes make this species easily recognized, but this patch of hairs is not always present. The coarse striae on the dorsum of the pronotum of N. magnifica are unlike nearly all of the other species of Pachycondyla (which separate it from N. lineaticeps and P. fuscoatra) and are only approached by workers of P. striata. It can be easily separated from P. striata as it lacks or nearly lacks erect hairs on the shaft of the scape, whereas P. striata has numerous erect and suberect hairs on the shaft. The striae of N. magnifica are much coarser: the center of the pronotum has 2 - 3 striae per 0.1 mm, versus 3 - 4 striae per 0.1 mm in P. striata. Neoponera magnifica has a total of about 35 sharply defined striae across the widest point of the disc of the pronotum, whereas there are about 50 (mostly poorly defined) striae in N. striata.

The striae on the pronotum are very similar to those of the Brasilian Paltothyreus tarsatus (and the Old World P. tarsatus). It is undoubtedly due to convergence, as the two species are otherwise very distinct. Neoponera magnifica can be easily separated as it lacks the extra pair of teeth on the inner border of the tarsal claws (present in P. tarsatus) and the angles on the upper anterior corners of the gaster (present in P. tarsatus).

It is difficult to place this unusual species in a complex, but the presence of the stridulatory file and the sharp pronotal carina suggest that it is related to the crenata species complex. On the other hand the shape of the petiole and the form of the subpetiolar process are similar to members of the constricta species complex. The coarse striae on the dorsum of the pronotum would easily separate N. magnifica from all of the other members of the crenata species complex, as well as from Mayaponera constricta and Neoponera metanotalis (emiliae species complex).

Both Borgmeier (1929) and Kempf (1961) considered N. magnifica to be closely related to Neoponera procidua. This does not appear to be the case, as N. procidua lacks the stridulatory file on the second pretergite, although the pronotal carina of N. procidua is even sharper than it is in N. magnifica. The shape of the petioles of the workers of the two species are essentially identical, as is the anterior face of the postpetiole (first gastral tergum), although it is much more angulate in N. procidua. It would probably be justified to place N. magnifica in its own complex, but then essentially all of the members of the complex would have to be placed in separate complexes. It will be placed in the emiliae species complex, until the members of the complex are better known.

Distribution

BRASIL (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil (type locality), Colombia.

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Neoponera magnifica for further details

Biology

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • magnifica. Pachycondyla magnifica Borgmeier, 1929: 196 (w.) BRAZIL. Combination in Neoponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 151. See also: Kempf, 1961c: 198. See also: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 451.

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

Description

Worker

From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The worker is a moderately large (total length 13 - 15 mm) black ant with black appendages and reddish brown mandibles. The mandibles have about ten teeth; the first (apicalmost) three or four are much larger than the remainder. The head is narrowed anteriorly and the posterior border is slightly concave. The eyes are large (maximum diameter 0.6 mm) located about 1 diameter from the anterior margin of the head (side view). The scapes are short and extend only to the posterior lateral margins of the head. The malar carina is not developed. The pronotal shoulder forms a carina, which slightly overhangs the sides of the pronotum. The metanotal suture is poorly marked, but the sculpture changes from fine longitudinal striae on the mesonotum, to fine punctures, which are slightly aligned transversely across the dorsal face of the propodeum. The propodeal spiracle is slit-shaped; the posterior lateral margins of the propodeum are marked with carinae. The petiole is relatively narrow when viewed in profile with a nearly straight anterior face and a broadly rounded posterior face, which meets the anterior face at the highest point on the petiole. The posterior lateral margins are formed into carinae. The subpetiolar process is moderately developed and angulate posteriorly. The anterior face of the postpetiole is straight and meets the dorsal face at nearly a right angle. The second pretergite of the gaster has a stridulatory file (Kempf, 1961). The metasternal process cannot be seen in the available specimens.

Erect hairs are sparse on most surfaces, with a few long (up to 0.6 mm) hairs located on the clypeus, mandibles and ventral surface of the head and ventral surface of the gaster, the erect hairs on the remainder of the head are relatively short (up to 0.2 mm) with a few scattered on the dorsum of the head, erect hairs are very sparse on the dorsum of the mesosoma and absent on the dorsum of the petiole and dorsum of the gaster, the tibiae lack erect hairs. Appressed golden pubescence is dense on the region posterior to and lateral to the eyes, where it hides the sculpture; the remainder of the ant has very sparse appressed hairs, which are not noticeable.

The mandibles are dull with elongate punctures, the medial lobe of clypeus has obvious longitudinal striae and the entire dorsum of head has coarse striae, which diverge posteriorly. The dorsum of pronotum has very coarse striae, transverse on anterior part of pronotum, longitudinal on posterior ⅔ of the pronotum. The mesonotum is with fine longitudinal striae, the dorsum of propodeum has very fine transverse striae formed from punctures. The side of the pronotum is covered with horizontal striae on the upper half, the ventral half has very fine longitudinal striae, the entire mesopleuron is covered with very fine horizontal striae. The side of propodeum has similar sculpture. The anterior face and side of the petiole are with very fine striae and are moderately shining, the posterior face is nearly smooth and glossy, the gaster is very finely punctate smooth and shiny.

Type Material

Brasil: Goiás, Goiânia, Campinas. 1 paratype worker seen, Museum of Comparative Zoology (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Etymology

The name of this species is derived from the Latin word magnificus, which means splendid, referring to the unusual form of this species. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

References

  • Borgmeier, T. 1929. Zur Kenntnis der brasilianischen Ameisen. EOS. Rev. Esp. Entomol. 5: 195-214 PDF
  • Kempf, W. W. 1961e. As formigas do gênero Pachycondyla Fr. Smith no Brasil (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 10: 189-204 (page 198, see also)
  • 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. Information from this publication is used with permission from the authors.
  • 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)