Hypoponera orba

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Hypoponera orba
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Hypoponera
Species: H. orba
Binomial name
Hypoponera orba
(Emery, 1915)

Hypoponera orba casent0903908 p 1 high.jpg

Hypoponera orba casent0903908 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Hypoponera orba.


Hypoponera orba is similar in size, colour and general appearance to Hypoponera camerunensis and Hypoponera coeca, and the three appear to be closely related. However, camerunensis and coeca occur in leaf litter and rotten wood on the forest floors of Western and Central African countries, mostly in the rainforest zones, where coeca at least is relatively common. Morphologically the three are separated mainly by dimensional characters, but orba also has the margin between the propodeal declivity and its sides more sharply developed than in the other two.

A member of the abeillei group.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Eritrea (type locality), Ethiopia.

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.

  • orba. Ponera orba Emery, 1915g: 7, fig. 4 (w.) ERITREA. Combination in P. (Hypoponera): Santschi, 1938b: 79; in Hypoponera: Bolton, 1995b: 215. See also: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 81.

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



LECTOTYPE (paralectotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.52 (0.54), HW 0.39 (0.40), HS 0.455 (0.470), SL 0.36 (0.36), PrW 0.29 (0.29), WL 0.65 (0.66), HFL 0.34 (0.33), PeNL 0.14 (0.14), PeH 0.30 (0.30), PeNW 0.21 (0.22), PeS 0.217 (0.220). Indices: CI 75 (74), SI 92 (90), PeNI 72 (76), LPeI 47 (47), DPeI 150 (157).

Eyes absent. Scape relatively long (SI 90–92) but when laid straight back from its insertion its apex distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin; SL/HL 0.67–0.69. Funiculus distinctly with 5 enlarging apical segments. Cephalic dorsum very superficially, minutely reticulate-punctate. Pronotal dorsum almost smooth, obviously less strongly and densely sculptured than cephalic dorsum. Mesonotum and dorsum of propodeum almost smooth, shiny, almost entirely devoid of punctulae. Metanotal groove absent from dorsum of mesosoma. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent from side of mesosoma. Propodeum with an angular margin between declivity and side. Posterior surface of petiole node without short cuticular ridges that radiate from just above the peduncle. Node of petiole in profile short-nodiform, the anterior and posterior faces weakly converge dorsally; length of node just above anterior tubercle greater than length of dorsum; dorsal surface is almost flat. Subpetiolar process rounded and simple, without an angular differentiated lobe, without a sharply defined ventral tooth or angle. In dorsal view petiole node with posterior face transverse; sides and anterior face form a single convex surface. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view 0.34; width of second gastral tergite at its midlength 0.35. Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral tergite feebly developed and inconspicuous. Sides of second gastral tergite in dorsal view straight and parallel. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is slightly longer than the maximum width of the segment. Disc of second gastral tergite with densely crowded, small, superficial punctures so that the surface appears microreticulate at lower magnifications. First and second gastral tergites dorsally pubescent and with a number of very short standing setae that project just above the level of the pubescence. Full adult colour yellow.

Type Material

LECTOTYPE worker (by present designation), ERITREA: Ghinda, ix.1914 (F. Silvestri) (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa); paralectotype worker with same data but 2.ix.1914 (MSNG) [examined]. The original description mentions six worker syntypes. Two are in MSNG, now lectotype and paralectotype; the other four are presumed to be in the Silvestri collection at DEUN, which is not currently available for examination. These should also be regarded as paralectotypes. The lectotype bears an earlier label, “Lectotype Hypoponera orba (Emery). Det. R.W. Taylor, 10.iv.63”, and also has labels by Dr Fabio Penati (MSNG) that correctly state that Taylor’s designation was never published and is therefore invalid.


  • 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
  • Emery, C. 1915f. Escursioni zoologiche del Dr. Enrico Festa nell'Isola di Rodi. XII. Formiche. Boll. Mus. Zool. Anat. Comp. R. Univ. Torino 30(7 701: 1-7 (page 7, fig. 4 worker described)
  • Santschi, F. 1938b. Notes sur quelques Ponera Latr. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 43: 78-80 (page 79, Combination in P. (Hypoponera))