Ponera rishen

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Ponera rishen
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. rishen
Binomial name
Ponera rishen
Terayama, 2009

Ponera rishen side (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg

Ponera rishen top (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg

Specimen labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Ponera rishen.


Resembles to Ponera takaminei from the Ryukyus in Japan and Taiwan, but is separated from the latter by the straight posterior margin of petiolar node and the black body color.


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: Taiwan (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.

  • rishen. Ponera rishen Terayama, 2009: 111, figs. 49-51 (w.) TAIWAN.

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



Terayama 2009 figs. 39-64

Holotype. Head densely punctate, with straight posterior margin and convex sides in full face view. Antennal scape reaching posterior margin of head, SI = 75; club consist of 5 segments. Eye small.

Pro- and mesonota moderately punctate, posterolateral corner of propodeum forming an angle. Petiolar node large and wide, upper portion of posterior margin produced backward in profile; in dorsal view, dorsal disc 0.5 times as long as wide, with convex anterior margin and almost straight posterior margin. Subpetiolar process with strong posteroventral teeth.

Measurements (mm). HL 0.73, HW 0.60, SL 0.45, WL 0.95, PL 0.25, PH 0.53, DPW 0.45, TL 3.2.

Color. Body black, mandible and antenna brown, legs yellow.

Type Material

Holotype. Worker, Riyuetan, Nantou Pref., 28.vii.- 2.viii.1988.

Paratypes. 6 workers, same data as the holotype.

Type depository. The holotype is deposited in NIAES, and paratypes in NIAES, NSMT and TARl.


The specific epithet is the Chinese noun Rishen, which is the name of a Taiwanese god.


  • Taylor, R. W. 1967. A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph, 13: 1–112. PDF