Ponera manni

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

Ponera manni P casent0187758.jpg

Ponera manni D casent0187758.jpg

Specimen Label

The types were collected from under a stone in wet soil on the floor of slightly disturbed rain forest at about 1000 m elevation. Additional collections have all come from relatively disturbed or lowland habitats.

Identification

Taylor (1967) - Size moderately large (head width 0.57 mm); eyes single-faceted, placed well back on the relatively strongly convex sides of the head; petiolar node narrow (petiolar node index 73); antennal funiculus lacking a distinctly differentiated club; mesometanotal suture clearly incised on mesosomal dorsum. This is the only known Ponera species with HW exceeding 0.43 mm, which has a PNI less than 77.

Ponera manni is easily separated from the only other Fijian Ponera of similar size (Ponera colaensis) by the combination of larger size (HW 0.50-0.54 mm in colaensis); relatively broad head (cephalic index 89; 81-83 in colaensis); distinctly incised mesometanotal suture; narrower petiolar node (PNI 86-91 in colaensis); and lighter color.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Fiji (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.

  • manni. Ponera manni Taylor, 1967a: 86, figs. 76, 77 (w.) FIJI IS.

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

Description

Worker

Taylor 1967 Ponera fig 76-77

Holotype. HL 0.64 mm; HW 0.57 mm; SL 0.47 mm; CI 89; SI 82; PW 0.41 mm; PNL 0.21 mm; PH 0.41 mm; DPW 0.30 mm; PNI 73. Mandibles triangular; outer borders slightly sinuate; masticatory border with 3 strong teeth occupying the apical 2/5 of its length, followed by a series of 7 distinct obtuse denticles, which appear in the worn mandibles of the type to have been subequal in size, and about 1/2 as large as the smallest of the apical teeth. Head as in fig. 76; occipital border moderately concave; sides relatively strongly convex. Leading edge of clypeus almost straight; anterior face with a raised obtuse median longitudinal tumosity. Palpal formula: Maxillary 2: Labial 2 (inspected). Eyes minute, single-faceted, about 0.01 mm in diameter, situated about 0.8 X the distance from lateral occipital border to median anterior genal border. Scapes noticeably more slender than usual in Ponera, almost exactly reaching median occipital border when laid back on head. Funiculus also relatively slender, distinctly expanded apically, but no definite segmental club differentiated ; apical segment about equal in length to the 2 preceding together. Mesosomal profile as in fig. 77. Mesometanotal suture very distinctly marked ; lateral mesonotal suture reduced to a faint vestige. Propodeal sides and declivity almost straight, when viewed from above ; posterolateral edges forming angles of about 90° in dorsal view. Form of node as in fig. 77. Subpetiolar fenestra distinct, oval ; posterolateral teeth acute.

Mandibles smooth and highly polished. Clypeus moderately shining, indistinctly shagreened. Head subopaque, finely and closely shagreened. Scapes moderately shining, very finely punctate. Dorsum of mesosoma fairly strongly shining, with very shallow, somewhat effaced, puncturation. The punctures less than 0.01 mm in diameter, spaced at intervals about equal to their average diameter on pronotum; somewhat closer on mesonotum; those on propodeal dorsum less distinct and more sparsely scattered. Sides of mesosoma more strongly shining than dorsum, with similar but more scattered punctures. The usual longitudinal striation of the metepisternal area represented by weak vestiges of such sculpturation. Petiolar node shining, finely punctate. First 2 gastric tergites feebly shining, with a close cover of moderately large, irregular, pilosity-bearing punctures.

Short fine erect to sub-erect pilosity moderately abundant on mandibles, clypeus, frontal lobes and dorsum of pronotum ; sparse on remainder of head and mesosoma. Similar, slightly longer, pilosity moderately abundant on petiolar dorsum and entire gaster, where hairs on ventum and apex are longest. Fine pubescence fairly abundant on head and antennae, gaster and legs; rather sparse on mesosoma and petiole, except pronotal dorsum and apex of node.

Color dull medium reddish brown, legs and gastric apex slightly paler.

Type Material

Holotype in Museum of Comparative Zoology collection (Type No. 30924).

FIJI IS.: Viti Levu: Mt Lomolaki, near Nandarivatu, 17.II.1962 (R. W. Taylor, acc. 22).

The unique holotype was taken under a stone in wet soil on the floor of slightly disturbed rain forest at about 1000 m elevation.

Etymology

This most unusual species is named for the late Dr W. M. Mann, a pioneering myrmecologist in Eastern Melanesia.

References

  • Sarnat, E. M.; Economo, E. P. 2012. The ants of Fiji. University of California Publications in Entomology 132:1-384. PDF
  • Taylor, R. W. 1967a. A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pac. Insects Monogr. 13: 1-112 (page 86, figs. 76, 77 worker described)