Boloponera ikemkha

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Boloponera ikemkha
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Boloponera
Species: B. ikemkha
Binomial name
Boloponera ikemkha
Hawkes, 2018

Boloponera ikemkha casent0254322 p 1 high.jpg

Boloponera ikemkha casent0254322 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Label

Boloponera ikemkha specimens were found within the Sekhukhuneland Centre of Plant Endemism, an area recognised for its unique plant diversity, and were limited to a narrow strip of riparian woodland (canopy less than 10 m) in the much drier Sekhukhune Mountain Bushveld. No Boloponera specimens were located during more intensive surveys in this area, which suggests that B. ikemkha prefers the moister riverine fringe which has denser tree cover.

Boloponera ikemkha is considered to be extremely rare and is believed to be threatened by current and planned mining activities in the Sekhukhuneland Centre of Plant Endemism.


See the Boloponera identification section for features that separate the worker from similar Ponerinae genera.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




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

  • vicans. Boloponera ikemkha Hawkes, 2018: 27, figs. 1-4, 24 (w.ergatoid q) SOUTH AFRICA.

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



Measurements (3 measured, holotype in parentheses): TL 3.35–3.42 (3.42), HL 0.76–0.77 (0.77), HW 0.61–0.62 (0.62), HH 0.48–0.49 (0.49), SL 0.43–0.44 (0.44), TLW 0.28–0.29 (0.28), ML 0.46 (0.46), PW 0.45–0.46 (0.45), WL 1.06–1.08 (1.07), PeNH 0.38–0.39 (0.39), PeH 0.43–0.44 (0.43), PeW 0.34–0.35 (0.34), PeNL 0.36–0.37 (0.36), ProTL 0.36–0.38 (0.37), MesTL 0.30–0.32 (0.31), MetTL 0.38–0.39 (0.38), Gt1L 0.56–0.57 (0.57), Gt1W 0.57–0.58 (0.58), Gt2L 0.66–0.68 (0.68), Gt2W 0.57–0.58 (0.58). Indices and estimates: CI 80–82 (81), SI 70–71 (71), HVe 0.117–0.124 (0.124), Gt1WI 53–55 (55), Gt2WI 53–55 (55) (all measurements in mm except HVe, which is presented in mm3).

Head subrectangular, moderately longer than wide (CI 80–82), posterior margin shallowly indented medially, sides almost straight but slightly divergent in anterior half, rounding posteriorly into the broadly convex vertices. Torular lobes extremely large and protruding anteriorly over the clypeus, forcing the medial portion of the posterior margin of the clypeus anterad of, and overhanging, the medially concave anterior clypeal margin. Torular lobes translucent and highly polished, without any trace of striate sculpture except in the median strip between the lobes, a few piligerous foveolae present adjacent to this strip and in the posterior portion of the lobes. A pair of short, weakly diverging setae arise medially at the upper (= posterior) margin of the clypeus, a second similar but more strongly divergent and longer pair arise below these from about the midlength of the clypeus and a third pair of strongly convergent setae arise from the lower (= anterior) clypeal margin. The latter setae cross each other at about their midlength. Lateral portion of clypeus divided into sloping anterior and flat posterior sections by a transverse carina. Clypeus smooth and shining, weakly sculptured posterolaterally and with several weak and incomplete diagonal carinae anteriorly. Frontal carinae are very short, fading out immediately behind the torular lobes and failing to reach the mid-length of the head. Eyes and ocelli absent. Mandibles smooth and shining with scattered piligerous punctures, elongate, curved inward apically and each with an apical and a preapical tooth, with an additional blunt tooth near and another at the base of the masticatory margin. A fine but distinct groove arises dorsally at the base of the basal margin, running diagonally across the outer surface of the mandible, reaching the lateroventral margin at about one third of the length of the mandible and continuing along this margin to the apex, but no dorsal groove parallel to the masticatory margin is present. Antennal scapes short, stout, basally curved and distally thickened; when laid back, scapes fall short of the posterior margin of the head by about half their length. Antennal segment 2 slightly longer than broad, segments 3 to 10 distinctly broader than long. Two-segmented club formed by segment 11, which is slightly broader than long, and the apical (12th) segment, which is twice as long as broad. Scapes with strong sub-appressed pubescence only, lacking erect setae, remaining segments with appressed pubescence and short suberect setae, all segments smooth and shining, unsculptured except for piligerous punctures. Head smooth and shining with scattered piligerous foveolae everywhere apart from a small posterodorsal patch medially, the foveolae irregularly spaced but on average separated by more than their diameter. Hairs arising from the foveolae appressed and medially oriented on dorsum of head. Foveolae weakly longitudinally aligned, spaces between them smooth and shining dorsally and posteriorly but laterally, anteriorly and ventrally undose. Mesosoma: laterally striate, becoming undose dorsolaterally, the sculpture stronger on the pronotum and metapleura, weaker on the mesopleura. All dorsal surfaces smooth and shining medially, weakly undose laterally. Entire dorsal mesosoma with scattered piligerous foveolae which are more widely spaced medially. Promesonotal suture well-defined and flexible, metanotal groove entirely absent dorsally and only faintly discernible laterally. Katepisternum well-defined and isolated by a sharply incised suture, anepisternum also sharply defined dorsally, but not posteriorly, where it is contiguous with the metapleuron. Propodeal spiracles round, situated at about the mid-height of the sides of the propodeum. Propodeal declivity flanked by strongly developed translucent lamellae running from the posterolateral corners of the propodeum to the metapleural lobes, with which they are confluent. In profile the propodeal dorsum meets the declivity in an obtuse angle, the surfaces separated by a weakly defined arched edge that is confluent with the lateral lamellae. Declivity shallowly concave in dorsal view, mostly smooth, but weakly shagreenate in upper half. Metapleural lobes broadly rounded, incurved ventrally. Metapleural gland bulla expanded and protruding posterolaterally, the orifice opening dorsally and obscured posteriorly in lateral view by the upwardly extended ventral flap. Pretarsal claws without preapical teeth. Metafemur dorsally with a strip of thin cuticle slightly more than half its length through which an apparently glandular structure can be seen (see Figure 2D), the surface neither flattened nor indented; mesofemur lacking any such feature. Petiole: node in dorsal view distinctly wider behind than in front, in profile with anterior and posterior faces convergent, the node tapering to the very broadly rounded summit. Subpetiolar process keel-like, slightly recurved and produced posteriorly as a blunt point. Anterior face of node with weakly reticulate sculpture; posterior face smooth, with a few very faint short striae radiating from the posterior petiolar peduncle. Sides of node smooth posterodorsally and with undose sculpture anteroventrally restricted; dorsal surface of node smooth. Lateral and dorsal surfaces of node with scattered piligerous foveolae, which are absent from anterior and posterior faces. Anterior disc of petiole ventrally with a broad C-shaped strip of cuticle around a thinner semicircular patch (see Figure 2F). Gaster with tergites smooth and shining, very weakly undose between scattered piligerous foveolae, pubescence appressed to sub-appressed. Sting present, weakly curved. Pilosity: standing hairs absent from all dorsal surfaces of head and body apart from posterior margin of gastral tergite 2 (A4) and dorsum of subsequent tergites. Meso- and metathoracic tibiae each with a single subapical pectinate spur and a pair of elongate setae located more proximally on the ventral surface. Outer surfaces of femora as well as pro- and metathoracic tibiae with short appressed pubescence, mesothoracic tibiae with longer suberect setae. Colour: medium reddish-brown, legs and apical two antennal segments slightly paler.

Type Material

Holotype worker. SOUTH AFRICA, Limpopo, Sekhukhune, De Grooteboom 373 KT portion 1, 1025 ±10m, -24.93625, 30.14494 ±5m, P. Hawkes, J. Fisher, S. Pillay, 08.xii.2016, TRP2016b-TSF-131, Riverine fringe forest (in Sekhukhune Mountain Bushveld), hand collected 10–15 cm deep in soil at base of tree, CASENT0254322 (South African Museum).

Paratype workers. 2 specimens, same data as holotype, CASENT0254323 (California Academy of Sciences), CASENT0254324 (Afribugs Collection).