Ponera chiponensis

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Ponera chiponensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. chiponensis
Binomial name
Ponera chiponensis
Terayama, 1986

Nothing is known about the biology of Ponera chiponensis.

Identification

This new species resembles Ponera japonica, Ponera incerta, or Ponera swezeyi by the 5-segmented antennal club and size of body (HW 0.32-0.50 mm in workers), but can be distinguished by the shape of petiole and the absence of mesonotal-propodeal suture on the dorsum of alitrunk. (Terayama 1986)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: Taiwan (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

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

Nomenclature

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

  • chiponensis. Ponera chiponensis Terayama, 1986: 593, figs. 6-10 (w.q.) TAIWAN.

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

Description

Worker

Terayama 1986 figs. 6-10

Holotype. HL 0.53 mm; HW 0.40 mm; SL 0.35 mm; C180; S184; WL 0.73 mm; PW 0.73 mm; PH 0.31 mm; PNL 0.18 mm; DPW 0.25 mm; TL ca. 2.0 mm.

Head subrectangular, with weakly convex sides and slightly concave occipital border. Mandibles with 3 developed teeth occupying approximately apical 2/5 of masticatory border; remaining border with a series of 5 small regular denticles. Clypeus slightly produced in the middle, with very weak median tooth. Eyes extremely small, composed of single facet, situated about 0.8 x the distance from lateral occipital border to midpoint of anterior genal border. Antennae 12-segmented, remarkably short and thick; scape not reaching median occipital border; antennal club 5-segmented, ratio of length from the base about 3: 5: 6: 6: 14, apical segment 1. 75 x as long as broad.

Dorsal outline of alitrunk horizontal; mesonotum weakly convex; posterolateral corners of propodeum not markedly pronounced, forming blunt angles; declivitous face of propodeum barely straight to feebly concave. Mesonotal-propodeal suture not incised on the dorsum of alitrunk. Petiolar node in profile, thick, rectangular; anterior border straight, dorsal border horizontal, posterior border very weakly angulated near the middle; dorsal face, viewed from above, trapezoidal as in Fig. 8, posterior border concaved. Fenestra of subpetiolar process large, oval; posterolateral teeth well developed.

Head, scapes, and gaster closely punctated; alitrunk less density punctated than head; 2nd gastric tergite somewhat less punctated than 1st gastric tergite. Posterior 1/2 of dorsal face of propodeum and dorsal face of petiolar node smooth and shining with a few scattered punctures. Mandibles smooth and shining. Pubescence moderately abundant, distributed evenly over the entire body. Erect or suberect pilosity present on antennal scapes, head, dorsum of alitrunk, and gaster.

Color brown to light brown; mandibles, antennae, legs, subpetiolar process, and tip of gaster yellowish.

Paratypes. Five paratype workers from the same series as holotype with following dimentions and indices: HL 0.51-0.53 mm; HW 0.40-0.42 mm; CI 78-79; SI 83-88; WL 0.70-0.74 mm; A W 0.30-0.31 mm; PH 0.30-0.33 mm; PNL 0.18-0.20 mm; DPW 0.25 mm.

Queen

Paratypes. HL 0.54-0.56 mm; HW 0.43-0.45 mm; SL 0.36-0.38 mm; CI 80; SI 81; WL 0.83-0.88 mm; A W 0.36-0.40 mm; PH 0.33-0.35 mm; PNL 0.20-0.21 mm; DPW 0.28-0.31 mm; TL ca. 2.4 mm. (Two females were measured.)

Head subrectangular as in Fig. 9, with almost subparallel sides and slightly concave occipital border. Antennal club 5-segmented. Maximum diameter of compound eye 0.10 mm. Mesosoma and petiole as in Fig. 10. Pilosity and coloration as in worker.

Type Material

Holotype. Worker, 22. VII. 1982, Chihpen, Taitung City, Taiwan, M. Terayama leg.

Paratypes. One female, 8 workers, from the same nest as holotype; 1 worker, 23. VII. 1982, same locality, M. Terayama leg.; 3 workers, 24. VII. 1982, same locality, M. Terayama leg.; 1 female, 10. VIII. 1980, same locality, M. Terayama leg.

Type depository. The holotype and some paratypes will be deposited in the National Science Museum, Tokyo, and the other paratypes in the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Science, Japan, and the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute.

Leong et al. (2019): Type material examined: TAIWAN. Paratypes, 2 workers, Taitung City, Chihpen, 22 VII 1982, M Terayama leg (Maromu Terayama Collection: LCM_MT-Ponera-17). 1 worker, Taitung city, Chihpen, 24 VII 1982, M Terayama leg (Maromu Terayama Collection: LCM_MTPonera-18). 1 dealate queen, Taitung city, Chihpen, 24 VII 1982, M Terayama leg (Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute).

References