Ponera borneensis

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Ponera borneensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. borneensis
Binomial name
Ponera borneensis
Taylor, 1967

Only known from the type material.

Identification

Taylor (1967) - The basic characters distinguishing this species from its relatives Ponera elegantula and Ponera augusta are incorporated in the accompanying key to species of Ponera. For details of relationships and diagnostic features of these species see P. elegantula.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Known only from the mountains of central Borneo.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo (type locality), Indonesia, Malaysia.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Nothing is known about the biology of Ponera borneensis.

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.

Castes

Male and larval characters not known. One of the worker paratypes has the remains of a pupal cocoon in its jaws; so augusta presumably has enclosed pupae. (Taylor 1967)

Nomenclature

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

  • borneensis. Ponera borneensis Taylor, 1967a: 69, figs. 61, 62 (w.q.) BORNEO.

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

Description

Worker

HL 0.62-0.65 mm; HW 0.53-0.57 mm; SL 0.46-0.49 mm; CI 86-88; SI 86-89; PW 0.42-0.44 mm; PNL 0.22-0.23 mm; PH 0.41-0.44 mm; DPW 0.36-0.39 mm; PNI 86-90. General form as shown in accompanying figures. Close to Ponera augusta of New Guinea, differing from it in the following characters:

Taylor 1967 Ponera fig 59-64

1. Those indicated in the dimensions above-narrower head (i.e., lower cephalic index), relatively high petiolar node, higher petiolar node index.

2. Apical mandibular teeth occupying slightly less than 1/2 the masticatory border, followed by about 10 to 12 minute, indistinct denticles. Palpal formula: Maxillary 2: Labial 2 (2 specimens dissected).

3. Eyes averaging slightly larger-maximum diameter 0.07-0.09 mm, with about 12 to 16 irregular facets.

4 Scapes shorter, their apices almost exactly reaching median occipital border when they are laid back on head.

5. Mesometanotal and lateral mesonotal sutures much less distinctly marked. The former a more or less distinct incised line, sometimes difficult to see, except in reflected light.

6. Mandibles smooth and shining. Clypeus shining in center, with scattered indistinct punctures; irregularly shagreened at sides. Front of head opaque, coarsely and closely punctate, punctures slightly smaller and more separated than in augusta. Sides of head moderately shining, with a cover of medium punctures (diameter ca 0.006 mm) separated by distances of slightly more than their maximum diameter. Scapes moderately coarsely shagreened; mesosomal dorsum feebly shining, sculpturation similar to sides of head but slightly more dense; mesonotal puncturation not markedly more dense than pronotum, that of propodeal dorsum less distinctly impressed. Punctures of mesonotum less spaced than those of pronotum and propodeum. Sides of mesosoma strongly shining, almost completely lacking sculpture except for relatively fine longitudinal striation on entire lower halves of mesepisternum and metepisternal areas. Node and gaster moderately shining, with scattered, pilosity-bearing, point punctures. The sculpturation of borneensis, particularly that of the sides of the head and the postcephalic areas, is thus considerably less intense than in augusta.

7. Pilosity and pubescence as in P. augusta.

8. General color dark blackish brown, with reddish brown infuscation on node and gaster, notably on subpetiolar process and gastric apex. Mandibles, antennae and legs bright golden brown.

Worker types. The above description is based on a series of 13 workers. One has been designated as holotype, the remainder as para types. The holotype has the following dimensions: HL 0.64 mm; HW 0.56 mm; SL 0.48 mm; CI 87; SI 86; PW 0.42 mm; PNL 0.23 mm; PH 0.43 mm; DPW 0.37 mm; PNI 88.

Queen

Paratypes. 3 alates were originally mounted with the workers described above. One is callow and the others show signs of shrinkage due to drying. This is especially apparent in the node, where the posterior face is fairly strongly concave and the apical crest rather acute in side view. This condition, which is also seen in several paratype workers, is clearly due to contraction of the transverse faces of the node and is not normal for the species. The most intact specimen (MCZ collection) has the following dimensions: HL 0.68 mm; HW 0.58 mm; SL 0.52 mm; CI 85; SI 90; PW 0.53 mm; PNL 0.25 mm; PH 0.49 mm; DPW 0.42 mm; PNI 79; maximum diameter of compound eye 0.21 mm; ocular index 36. Scape almost exactly reaching median occipital border ; ocelli distinctly developed; parapsidal lines present. Wing venation of coarctata type. Sculpture and coloration as in worker, wing veins very pale yellowish brown. Palpal formula: Maxillary 2: Labial 2 (callow inspected).

Type Material

BORNEO: Mt Tibang, 1500 m (E. Mjoberg), collected from a rotting log.

Holotype and paratypes deposited in Museum of Comparative Zoology collection; duplicate paratypes, worker and queen, in Bernice P. Bishop Museum and Australian National Insect Collection; workers only in The Natural History Museum, Forel Coll., and National Museum of Natural History.

References

  • Taylor, R. W. 1967a. A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pac. Insects Monogr. 13: 1-112 (page 69, figs. 61, 62 worker, queen described)