Collected from primary and montane forest leaf-litter.
Bolton and Fisher (2011) - Among the Afrotropical species of Hypoponera, eleven are defined by the following combination of three characters in the worker: sharply defined metanotal groove absent; posterior face of petiole node with short cuticular ridges above the peduncle; base of cinctus with cross-ribs. Of these, Hypoponera tecta has a sharp, triangular denticle that overhangs the midpoint of the anterior clypeal margin in full-face view. Hypoponera exigua and Hypoponera traegaordhi have a transverse dark rim above the cuticular ridges on the posterior petiole, and the ridges lie within a shallow groove whose upper margin is the rim. Hypoponera faex is a large species (HL 0.88, HW 0.72) with a conspicuously developed eye. H. faex and Hypoponera hebes both have very coarse sculpture on the lateroventral surfaces of the head and also on most of the pronotum. Hypoponera surda has sparse, widely spaced small punctures on the disc of the second gastral tergite. The remaining five species, Hypoponera mixta, Hypoponera jeanneli, Hypoponera jocosa, Hypoponera quaestio and Hypoponera ursa, form a closely related complex in which the eye is usually absent, the pronotal sculpture is markedly less dense and intense than that on the head, and the punctures on the disc of the second gastral tergite are larger and more closely packed than in surda. H. jocosa is isolated by its tall, slender petiole node and relatively short scapes. H. mixta is closely related and very similar to jeanneli and ursa, but is larger, has a more parallel-sided second gastral tergite and has a relatively slightly longer scape, SI 87–93 as opposed to 82–88 in the other two. The separation of jeanneli and ursa is currently unsatisfactory.
A member of the abeillei group.
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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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.
- jeanneli. Ponera jeanneli Santschi, 1935b: 262, fig. 3 (w.) KENYA. Combination in P. (Hypoponera): Santschi, 1938b: 79; in Hypoponera: Bolton, 1995b: 215. Senior synonym of abyssinica, imatongica: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 62.
- imatongica. Ponera coarctata subsp. imatongica Weber, 1942a: 44, fig. 3 (w.) SUDAN. Combination in Hypoponera: Taylor, 1967a: 12. Raised to species: Taylor, 1967a: 12. Junior synonym of jeanneli: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 62.
- abyssinica. Ponera (Hypoponera) jeanneli st. abyssinica Santschi, 1938b: 80, fig. 2 (w.q.) ETHIOPIA. [Unresolved junior primary homonym of Ponera abyssinica Guérin-Méneville, 1849: 352 (now in Pachycondyla).] Combination in Hypoponera: Bolton, 1995b: 213. Raised to species: Bernard, 1953b: 205. Junior synonym of jeanneli: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 62.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Bolton and Fisher (2011) - Measurements: HL 0.58–0.64, HW 0.46–0.52, HS 0.525–0.580, SL 0.40–0.45, PrW 0.34–0.40, WL 0.75–0.85, HFL 0.39–0.44, PeNL 0.16–0.19, PeH 0.34–0.40, PeNW 0.24–0.28, PeS 0.237–0.283 (39 measured). Indices: CI 77–85, SI 82–88, PeNI 65–74, LPeI 43–50, DPeI 137–165.
Eyes usually absent but rarely an eye spot or vestigial ommatidium is discernible. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach, or just touches, the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; SL/HL 0.66–0.72. Cephalic dorsum reticulate-punctate. Pronotal dorsum almost smooth, obviously much less strongly and densely sculptured than cephalic dorsum. Metanotal groove absent from dorsum of mesosoma or at most a very superficial and indistinct indentation present that is almost effaced. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent from side of mesosoma. Propodeum weakly marginate between declivity and side. Posterior surface of petiole node with a series of very short cuticular ridges that radiate upward from the peduncle. Node of petiole in profile with the anterior and posterior faces weakly convergent dorsally. Subpetiolar process with a ventral angle. In dorsal view petiole node with posterior face transverse; sides and anterior face form a single convex surface, but not thickly D-shaped. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view subequal to width of second gastral tergite at its midlength. Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral tergite strongly developed and conspicuous. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is equal to, or very slightly less than, the width of the segment at its midlength. Disc of second gastral tergite with sharply incised, small punctures that are close-packed but separated by areas of glossy cuticle; the diameters of the punctures are equal to, or slightly less than, the distances that separate the punctures. First and second gastral tergites dorsally pubescent and with a number of short standing setae that project above the level of the pubescence.
Syntype worker, KENYA: Camp 1 de l’Elgon, M. Elgon, Vers. Est, st. 13, 2100 m, C. Arambourg 1932-33 (Chappuis & Jeannel) (Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel) [examined].
Syntype worker and queen, ETHIOPIA: Scoia, Let Marefia, vii.87 (Ragazzi) (NHMB) [queen examined].
Ponera coarctata subsp. imatongica Syntype workers, SUDAN: Imatong Mts, Equatoria, 24.vii. - 5.viii.1939, 6100 - 6200 ft, nos. 1387, 1390 (N.A. Weber) (Museum of Comparative Zoology) [examined].
- Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 215, Combination in Hypoponera)
- Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2011. Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi. Zootaxa 2843: 1-118. PDF
- Santschi, F. 1935b. Hymenoptera. I. Formicidae. Mission Sci. Omo 2: 255-277 (page 262, fig. 3 worker described)
- Santschi, F. 1938b. Notes sur quelques Ponera Latr. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 43: 78-80 (page 79, Combination in P. (Hypoponera))