Hypoponera spei

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hypoponera spei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Hypoponera
Species: H. spei
Binomial name
Hypoponera spei
(Forel, 1910)

Hypoponera spei P casent0217348.jpg

Hypoponera spei D casent0217348.jpg

Specimen Label

Hypoponera spei has been collected from ground-litter in montane forest and in coastal forest.


A member of the boerorum group. Extremely closely related to Hypoponera boerorum. In fact, the two may eventually prove to be conspecific (see boerorum and Hypoponera natalensis).

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Mozambique, South Africa (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 Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • spei. Ponera spei Forel, 1910e: 423 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Combination in Hypoponera: Bolton, 1995b: 216. Senior synonym of fidelis and material of the unavailable name sancta referred here: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 101. See also: Arnold, 1915: 77.
  • fidelis. Ponera spei var. fidelis Santschi, 1926b: 207, fig. 1 (w.q.) SOUTH AFRICA. Combination in Hypoponera: Bolton, 1995b: 214. Junior synonym of spei: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 101.
  • sancta. Ponera spei r. devota var. sancta Forel, 1914d: 213 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Unavailable name (Bolton, 1995b: 216). Material referred to spei: Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 101.

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



Measurements: HL 0.70–0.87, HW 0.61–0.74, HS 0.655–0.815, SL 0.48–0.59, PrW 0.43–0.56, WL 0.94–1.18, HFL 0.52–0.66, PeNL 0.19–0.24, PeH 0.44–0.55, PeNW 0.30–0.39, PeS 0.310–0.387 (20 measured). Indices: CI 82–89, SI 77–85, PeNI 68–76, LPeI 40–46, DPeI 150–180.

Eyes present, of 1–7 ommatidia that may be depigmented or partially fused. In full-face view apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, fractionally fails to reach, or just touches, the midpoint of the posterior margin; SL/HL 0.66–0.76. Reticulate-punctulate sculpture of cephalic dorsum fine, but head more densely sculptured than pronotal dorsum. Propodeal dorsum smooth, with only faint traces of scattered, minute punctulae. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent or with a weak vestige still visible. Metanotal groove distinctly incised on dorsum of mesosoma; mesonotum with a well-defined posterior margin. Propodeal declivity separated from side by a blunt angle or a weak margination, without sharp carinae. Mesopleuron smooth and shining. Petiole in profile with the anterior and posterior faces of the node convergent dorsally; node distinctly longer just above the anterior tubercle than at the dorsum. Subpetiolar process variable in shape: at one extreme an elongate lobe with a sharp posteroventral angle, at the other a more bluntly rounded, shorter lobe; intermediates between these two extremes are present. Anterior margin of subpetiolar process, near its base, with a conspicuous pit, from which a sensory seta arises. In dorsal view the petiole node distinctly broader than long. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view slightly less than the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite with strong cross-ribs. Posttergite of second gastral segment, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, distinctly broader than long. Punctures on disc of second gastral tergite distinct, dense but not appearing microreticulate. With first gastral segment in profile its dorsum with elongate fine standing setae, the longest of which are only fractionally shorter than those at the apex of the tergite. Full adult colour yellowish brown to medium brown.

In most worker specimens of spei the eye consists of 1–4 ommatidia but commonly up to about 7 may be observed. At minimum there is only a single ommatidium, and it is often depigmented and poorly defined. Where several ommatidia occur they are often partially fused, so that the limits of individual ommatidia are obscured and the eye appears blister-like under low magnification.

Type Material

Bolton and Fisher (2011) - Holotype worker, SOUTH AFRICA: Montagnes du Natal (Wroughton) (Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève) [examined].

Syntype worker and queen, SOUTH AFRICA: Natal, Krantz Kloof, 21.i.1914 (H.D. Marley) (Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel) [queen examined].


  • Arnold, G. 1915. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part I. Ponerinae, Dorylinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 1-159 (page 77, see also)
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 216, 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
  • Forel, A. 1910f. Note sur quelques fourmis d'Afrique. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 54: 421-458 (page 423, worker described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Arnold G. 1915. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part I. Ponerinae, Dorylinae. Annals of the South African Museum 14: 1-159.
  • Bolton B. and B. L. Fisher. 2011. Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2843: 1-118
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Santschi F. 1926. Description de nouveaux Formicides éthiopiens (IIIme partie). Revue Zoologique Africaine (Brussels) 13: 207-267.