Ponera tamon

AntWiki - Where Ant Biologists Share Their Knowledge
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ponera tamon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. tamon
Binomial name
Ponera tamon
Terayama, 1996

Ponera tamon F13-16.jpg

Nothing is known about the biology of Ponera tamon.


Terayama (1996) - In general appearance similar to Ponera japonica, but easily distinguished from the latter by 1) head much wider and CI 86-91 (77 -82 in japonica); 2) petiolar node thiner in dorsal view; 3) posterolateral corners of propodeum only weakly angulate, and 4) posterodorsal border of node not forming an angle.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Japan (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.

  • tamon. Ponera tamon Terayama, 1996: 11, figs. 10-16 (w.q.) JAPAN.

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



Terayama 2009. Figures 39-64.

Holotype. HL 0.51 mm; HW 0.45 mm; SL 0.38 mm; 0 88; SI 84; WL 0.74 mm; PW 0.35 mm; PH 0.35 mm; PNL 0.18 mm; DPW 0.28 mm; PNI 80; TL 2.5 mm.

Head 1.17 x as long as wide, with slightly convex sides and slightly concave posterior margin in frontal view. Eyes small, each consisting of 3-4 indistinct facets. Antennae with 12 segments; scape short, not reaching the posterolateral margin of head; apical 5 segments forming a club.

Profile of alitrunk as in figure; dorsal margin almost straight; posterolateral comers of propodeum dully angulated. Petiolar node thick and wide, with straight anterior margin and convex posterior margin in lateral view; posterodorsal comer rounded, not forming an angle; viewed from above, node 0.45 x as long as wide, with very slightly concave posterior margin. Subpetiolar process with acute posterolateral teeth; fenestra circular.

First gastral tergite 0. 83 x as long as wide in dorsal view; 2nd tergite 0.62x as long as wide.

Head and alitrunk coarsely microreticulate; punctures separated by less than 0.5 x their own diameters. Gaster moderately punctate; punctures on 1st tergite less than those on 2nd.

Pubescence moderately abundant, and erect hairs present on the dorsa of alitrunk and petiole, and entire gaster.

Body black; clypeus reddish brown; mandibles, antennae and legs yellowish brown.

Variation. Dorsal width of petiole in workers varies in the materials of Okinawa and Amami Is. from 0.28 to 0.32 mm, and in that of Taiwan from 0.31 to 0.39 mm. Coloration of body also varies from dark brown to almost black. These differences may reflect the geographical variation within a single species. Morphometric data are summarized in Table 1.


Paratypes. HL 0.60-0.63 mm; HW 0.53-0.55 mm; SL0.45-0.46 mm; CI 87-88; SI 86-88; WL 0.90-0.92 mm; PW 0.48-0.53 mm; PNL 0.18-0.20 mm; PH 0.43-0.45 mm; DPW 0.35-0.38 mm; TL 3.0-3.2 = (n = 3).

Head slightly longer than wide. Antennal scapes almost reaching the posterolateral comers of head in frontal view. Eyes 0.13-0.14 mm in length. Ocelli forming an acute triangle.

Alitrunk and petiole as in Figures. Petiolar node with straight anterior margin and convex posterolateral corner in lateral view; disc thin, 0.32x as long as wide, with straight posterior margin in dorsal view.

Head and alitrunk coarsely microreticulate; punctures separated by less than 0.5 x their own diameters. Gaster moderately punctate. Color as in worker.

Type Material

Holotype. Worker, Uken-son, Amami-oshima, Kagoshima Pref., Japan, 1.VII.1983, M. Terayarna leg.

Paratypes. Japan: - 7 workers, 1 female, same data as holotype; 13 workers, Sumiyo-son, Amami-oshima, Kagoshima Pref., M. Terayarna leg.; 1 worker, Nazeshi, Amami-oshima, Kagoshima Pref., 21.III.1980, M. Terayama leg.; 9 workers, 1 female, Okinoerabu-jima, Kagoshima Pref., 17.III.1989, M. Terayama leg., 1 worker, Yoron-jima, Kagoshima Pref., 14.III.1980, M. Terayama leg.; 3 workers, 1 female, Hirara, Miyako-jima, Okinawa Pref., 20.VIII.1979, M. Terayama leg.; 2 workers, Sonai, Iriomote-jima, Okinawa Pref., 29.VII.1979, M. Terayama leg.; 29 workers, Izena-jima, Okinawa Pref., 31.III.1985, H. Takamine leg.; 16 workers, Nago, Okinawa-jima, Okinawa Pref., 3.X.1984, H. Takamine leg.; 33 workers, Naha, Okinawa-jima., Okinawa Pref., 15.XII.1984, H. Takamine leg.; 6 workers, 2 females, Sata-misaki, Kagoshima Pref., 9.VIII.1984, S. Kubota leg.


The specific name is the Japanese noun Tamon-ten, which is the name of one of the four guardian dieties in buddhism.