Ponera bishamon

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Ponera bishamon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. bishamon
Binomial name
Ponera bishamon
Terayama, 1996

Ponera bishamon F18-20.jpg

Nothing is known about the biology of Ponera bishamon.


Terayama (1996) - Unique in having an elongate gaster.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Japan (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The general biology of species in the genus was summarized by Taylor (1967): Ponera are small ants that nest in rotting logs in forested areas or under stones in nonforested situations. In the tropical areas specimens are rarely encountered away from rain forest. In temperate areas, however, species may occur in relatively lightly forested areas. This appears to be the case with Ponera japonica, Ponera pennsylvanica and especially with Ponera coarctata. The Australian Ponera leae is essentially limited to rain forest in the northern parts of its range, but further south it may be found in dry, lightly forested areas.

Foraging is probably cryptobiotic, though some New Guinea species have been taken straying on the ground surface. Little information is available concerning feeding. However, most species are probably insectivorous. I have conducted feeding experiments with some of the New Guinea and Samoan species, including Ponera xenagos, Ponera elegantula, Ponera tenuis, Ponera incerta and Ponera woodwardi. These were unsuccessful with the larger species, except elegantula, which accepted moderately large (8-12 mm) campodeid and japygid Diplura. Tenuis and incerta accepted smaller (4-6 mm) campodeids, isotomid and sminthurid Collembola, and small newly hatched spiders (2 mm long). Negative feeding response was obtained with eggs and larvae of various ants, small crushed insects of various orders, and small myriapods. Stray workers were never observed carrying prey, and distinct middens of insect or other remains were not located near nests.

Colonies usually contain about 30 workers. Larvae and pupae are not segregated in most cases, but occasionally aggregations of pupae were observed. These may have included the total brood of the colonies involved. Larvae are attached to the floor or walls of the nest galleries by the glutinous abdominal tubercles described above, and the ants move them high up on the walls or ceilings of artificial nests, if they are flooded. Details of nuptial behavior of pennsylvanica were given by Wheeler (1900), and Haskins & Enzmann (1938). The flights appear to be of a pattern typical for ants, with the alates meeting in the air and mating there or on the ground. Colony foundation is non-claustral and independent in pennsylvanica (Kannowski 1959); judging from my observations this is typical for the genus.



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

  • bishamon. Ponera bishamon Terayama, 1996: 13, figs. 17-20 (w.) JAPAN.

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



Holotype. Worker. HL 0.48 mm; HW 0.38 mm; SL 0.28 mm; CI 79; SI 74; WL 0.58 mm; AW 0.28 mm; PNL 0.18 mm; PH 0.29 mm; DPW 0.23 mm; PNI 78; TL 1.9 mm.

Head slender, 1.27 x as long as wide, with subparallel sides and weakly concave posterior comer in frontal view. Mandibles with 3 apical teeth followed by minute several denticles. Antennae with 12 segments; scape not reaching posterior comer of head; apical 5 segments forming a club. Clypeus with a distinct median tooth. Eyes small, consisting of a single facet only.

Dorsal margin of alitrunk almost straight from the midlength of pronotum to posterior end of propodeum in lateral view; posterodorsal comer of propodeum dully angulate in lateral view. Petiolar node thick; disc 0.40x as long as wide, with concave posterior margin in dorsal view. Subpetiolar process with small and dull posterolateral teeth; fenestra circular.

Gaster long; 1st segment 1.15 x as long as wide in dorsal view; 2nd segment slightly shorter than 1st, 1.0x as long as wide.

Head, antennal scapes and pronotum microreticulate; mesonotum and propodeum moderately punctate; petiole smooth with punctures sparsely; 1st and 2nd gastral tergites moderately punctate.

Body blackish brown; mandibles, antennae and legs yellow.

Type Material

  • Holotype, worker, Iriomote-jima, Okinawa Pref., Japan, H. Takamine.


The specific name is the Japanese noun bishamon-ten, which is the name of one of the four guardian deities in buddhism.