Ponera diodonta

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Ponera diodonta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. diodonta
Binomial name
Ponera diodonta
Xu, Z., 2001

The holotype worker was collected in monsoon evergreen broadleaf forest.

Identification

This new species is close to Ponera japonica Wheeler, but lateral sides of head more straight; in profile view anterodorsal corner of petiolar node higher than posterodorsal corner, subpetiolar process with fenestra small, posteroventral border with 2 teeth. (Xu 2001)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: China (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.

  • diodonta. Ponera diodonta Xu, 2001c: 221, figs. 25-27 (w.) CHINA.

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

Description

Worker

Xu 2001 figs. 16-27

Holotype. TL 2.5, HL 0.60, HW 0.50, CI 83, SL 0.43, SI 87, PW 0.38, AL 0.77, ED 0.02, ML 0.27, DPW 0.32, PNI 83. PH 0.43, PNL 0.20. LPI 46. Head roughly rectangular, longer than broad, weakly narrowed forward. In full face view, occipital margin weakly emarginate, occipital corners roundly prominent, lateral sides weakly convex. Masticatory margin of mandible with 3 apical teeth and followed by a row of indistinct minute denticles. Anterior margin of clypeus evenly convex. Antennae short, apex of scape failed to reach occipital corner by 1/7 of its length, antennal club with 5 segments.

Eye with only one facet. In profile view, dorsum of thorax weakly convex, promesonotal suture depressed, metanotal groove fine and distinct. Dorsum of propodeum as long as declivity, posterodorsal corner rounded. In profile view, petiolar node roughly rectangular, slightly narrowed upward, anterior and posterior faces straight, dorsal face evenly convex, anterodorsal corner prominent and higher than posterodorsal corner, the latter rounded. Subpetiolar process cuneiform, fenestra small and circular, anteroventral corner rounded, posteroventral border with 2 teeth. In dorsal view, petiolar node semicircular, anterior and lateral borders roundly convex, posterior border slightly concave, length: width = 5:9. Mandibles smooth and shining. Head closely and finely punctured, dull. Pronotum, mesonotum and gaster densely and finely punctured, relatively shining. Propodeum and petiolar node superficially and finely punctured, shining. Dorsum of head and thorax with sparse short erect hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Petiolar node and gaster with abundant erect hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Scapes with sparse erect hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Dorsa of tibiae with dense decumbent pubescence, without erect hairs. Body in color reddish brown. Head and middle portion of gaster blackish brown. Mandibles, antennae and legs brownish yellow.

Type Material

Holotype: worker: No. A008, 1600 m, Shangjiang, Shangjiang Town, Lushui County, Yunnan Province, 23-III-2000, collected by Mr. Xu Zhenghui in monsoon evergreen broadleaf forest.

References

  • Taylor, R. W. (1967). A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph, 13: 1–112. PDF
  • Xu, Z.-H. 2001c. Four new species of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Yunnan, China. Entomotaxonomia 23: 217-226 (page 221, figs. 25-27 worker described)