Hypoponera exigua

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Hypoponera exigua
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Hypoponera
Species: H. exigua
Binomial name
Hypoponera exigua
Bolton & Fisher, 2011

Hypoponera exigua P casent0226547.jpg

Hypoponera exigua D casent0226547.jpg

Specimen Label

Known only from the type material that was collected from forest leaf litter.


Bolton and Fisher (2011) - At first glance Hypoponera exigua is very similar to the South African Hypoponera traegaordhi, especially as regards the distinct combination of transverse depression and vertical cuticular ribs at the base of the posterior face of the petiole node. But traegaordhi is a distinctly smaller species in which, apart from the differences noted in the key, the apex of the scape does not approach the midpoint of the posterior margin of the head nearly as closely as in H. exigua.

A member of the abeillei group.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Ethiopia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Hypoponera inhabit and nest in leaf litter, the surface layer of soil, downed rotten wood, and soil around plant roots. Nests are typically found by turning objects on the ground, like downed wood and rocks, or through the ripping away of bark found on rotting downed wood or at the base of dead trees. Litter samples in tropical areas, especially in moist forested sites, often contain individuals of this genus. All Hypoponera are thought to be predators of small arthropods but published details about their diet are sparse. A lack of information about other aspects of their biology is also typical for most species.

The genus is most diverse in the tropics. Species found in higher latitudes tend to be more widespread, common and abundant than their tropical and subtropical congeners.



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

  • exigua. Hypoponera exigua Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 50, figs. 40-42 (w.) ETHIOPIA.

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



(holotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.66–0.68 (0.66), HW 0.52–0.54 (0.53), HS 0.590–0.610 (0.595), SL 0.44–0.48 (0.44), PrW 0.39–0.43 (0.41), WL 0.86–0.90 (0.88), HFL 0.45–0.48 (0.46), PeNL 0.16–0.19 (0.18), PeH 0.40–0.43 (0.42), PeNW 0.30–0.32 (0.31), PeS 0.293–0.313 (0.303) (10 measured). Indices: CI 78–80 (80), SI 83–89 (83), PeNI 72–79 (76), LPeI 39–45 (43), DPeI 168–188 (172).

Eyes absent. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; gap between apex of scape and midpoint of margin ca 0.10 × SL, about half the apical width of the scape; SL/HL 0.67 –0.71. Cephalic dorsum finely and densely reticulate-punctate. Lateroventral areas of head with small, evenly spaced, superficial punctures. Punctate sculpture on dorsum of mesosoma faint and superficial, almost entirely effaced on propodeum. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent or extremely feebly present. Mesopleuron smooth, its anterior margin bluntly angulate behind the anterior coxa. Metanotal groove entirely absent from dorsum. Declivity of propodeum separated from sides by distinct marginations, the latter con-spicuous in profile. Posterior surface of petiole node with a series of 4–5 short cuticular ridges at its base which radiate upward from the posterior peduncle. The cuticular ridges terminate dorsally in a darkly coloured, arched transverse rim or carina that is more darkly coloured than the surrounding cuticle. This transverse rim marks the upper boundary of a shallow transverse depression, within which the cuticular ridges are located. The depression terminates at each side in a short, vertical carina that ascends the posterolateral edge of the node and is visible in profile. With petiole node in profile the anterior and posterior faces are approximately parallel and the dorsum is distinctly rounded. Subpetiolar process an elongate low lobe that terminates in a short ascending angle at about the midlength of the sternite. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite with a continuous row of strong cross-ribs. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view is subequal to, or slightly greater than, the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is distinctly less than the maximum width of the segment. Disc of second gastral tergite with small punctures that are relatively close-packed but narrowly separated by smooth cuticle; spaces between the punctures are less than the puncture diameters. First gastral tergite in profile with very short standing setae that project only slightly above the level of the decumbent pubescence. Full adult colour light brown.

Paratype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype worker, Ethiopia: Bale reg., Bale Mts N.P., Harenna For., Katcha area, 2400 m., 24.viii.1998, #10c, leaf litt.+bushpig drop., in For. (G. Cuccodoro & D. Erne) (Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève).

Paratypes. 30 workers with same data as holotype (MHNG, The Natural History Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Barry Bolton Reference Collection).


  • Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2011. Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi. Zootaxa 2843: 1-118. PDF