Key to Ponera of East Asia

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This worker key is based on: Leong, C.-M., Guenard, B., Shiao, S.-F., Lin, C.-C. 2019. Taxonomic revision of the genus Ponera Latreille, 1804 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Taiwan and Japan, with a key to East Asian species. Zootaxa 4594 (1): 1–86 (DOI 10.11646/zootaxa.4594.1.1). and Pierce, M.P., Leong, C.-M., Guénard, B. 2019. A new species and new record of the cryptobiotic ant genus Ponera Latreille, 1804 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from Hong Kong. ZooKeys 867: 9–21 (DOI 10.3897/zookeys.867.36139)..

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Ponera

1

  • In lateral view, petiolar node very thick with convex posterior margin; with upper portion of posterior margin bulging (Fig. 6A) . . . . . 2
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 6. Lateral view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the upper portion of posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera rishen, B: Ponera. taiyangshen, C: Ponera. tamon.
  • In lateral view, petiolar node not as developed and presenting straight to convex posterior margin; with upper portion of posterior margin not bulging (Fig. 6B, C) . . . . . 3

2

return to couplet #1

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view with slightly convex anterior margin and slightly concave posterior margin (Fig. 7A). Smaller species, HW: 0.54–0.60 mm. Body color dark . . . . . Ponera rishen
Ponera rishen 43 H.jpg
Ponera rishen 43 P.jpg
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view with strongly convex anterior margin and strongly concave posterior margin (Fig. 7B). Larger species, HW: 0.65–0.75 mm. Body color reddish brown . . . . . Ponera takaminei
Ponera takaminei F53 H.jpg
Ponera takaminei F53 P.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 7. Dorsal view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera rishen, B: Ponera takaminei.

3

return to couplet #1

  • Eye large, each consisting of 20 or more facets (Fig. 8A). Larger species, HW: ca. 0.68 mm . . . . . Ponera kohmoku
Ponera kohmoku 41 H.jpg
Ponera kohmoku 41 P.jpg
  • Eye small, each consisting of 10 or fewer facets (Fig. 8B). Size variable . . . . . 4
Leong et al.2019. Figure 8. Lateral view of head (the arrow indicates the compound eye), A: Ponera kohmoku, B: Ponera alisana

4

return to couplet #3

  • Masticatory margin of mandible with 5 subequal large teeth (Fig. 9A). Smaller species, HW: 0.53–0.55 mm . . . . . Ponera pentodontos
  • Masticatory margin of mandible with 3 or 4 enlarged teeth. (Fig. 9B). Size variable . . . . . 4a
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 9. Mandible (the arrow indicates the basal teeth), A: Ponera pentodontos , B: Ponera alisana

4a

return to couplet #4

  • Masticatory margin of mandible with 4 enlarged teeth followed by a small denticle . . . . . Ponera tudigong
Ponera tudigong F3.jpg
Ponera tudigong F4.jpg


  • Masticatory margin of mandible with 3 enlarged teeth followed by a series of small to indistinct denticles; the number of denticles variable . . . . . 5

5

return to couplet #4a

  • Antennal scape, when laid backward, exceeding posterior margin of head in full-face view (Fig. 10A) . . . . . 6
  • Antennal scape, when laid backward, not exceeding posterior margin of head in full-face view (Fig. 10B) . . . . . 8
Leong et al. 2019 Figure 10. Full - face view of head (the line indicates the scape length), A: Ponera. alisana, B: Ponera japonica

6

return to couplet #5

  • Scape exceeding posterior border of head by nearly 34% of scape length . . . . . Ponera hubeiensis
Ponera-hubeiensis.jpg
  • Scape exceeding posterior border of head by < 10% of scape length . . . . . 7

7

return to couplet #6

  • Petiolar node in lateral view with straight posterior margin (Fig. 11A). HW: 0.58–0.65 mm . . . . . Ponera alisana
Ponera alisana F31 H.jpg
Ponera alisana F31 P.jpg
  • Petiolar node in lateral view with convex posterior margin (Fig. 11B). HW: 0.61–0.70 mm . . . . . Ponera chapmani
Leong et al. 2019.Figure 11. Lateral view of petiole node (the arrow indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera alisana, B: syntype of Ponera chapmani (MCZ - ENT00030919, © The Museum of Comparative Zoology).

8

return to couplet #5

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view subrectangular or subtrapezoidal, anterior and lateral margins not forming a single arch (Fig. 12A, B: the dotted line not forming a continuously circular arc; lateral margins present), with slightly convex or almost straight anterior margin . . . . . 9
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view semi-circular or oval, anterior and lateral margins constituting a single arch (Fig. 12C, D: the dotted line forming a continuously circular arc), with distinctly convex anterior margin . . . . . 12
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 12. Dorsal view of petiole node (the dotted line and arrow indicate the anterior and lateral margins of petiolar node), A: Ponera chiponensis, B: Ponera terayamai sp. n., C: Ponera japonica, D: Ponera sinensis.

9

return to couplet #8

  • Dorsum of petiolar node in lateral view convex and relatively acute, with broadly convex posterior margin (Fig. 13A) . . . . . Ponera terayamai
Ponera terayamai F59 H.jpg
Ponera terayamai F61 D.jpg
  • Dorsum of petiolar node in lateral view slightly convex, blunt, with straight and sloping posterior margin (Fig. 13B, C) . . . . . 10
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 13. Lateral view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the dorsal margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera terayamai sp. n., B: Ponera chiponensis, C: Ponera baka.

10

return to couplet #9

  • Subpetiolar process with large posteroventral teeth and large circular fenestra (Fig. 13B). Larger species, HW: 0.39–0.43 mm. Body color dark brown . . . . . Ponera chiponensis
Ponera chiponensis F38 H.jpg
Ponera chiponensis F38 P.jpg
  • Subpetiolar process with small or indistinct posteroventral teeth, and small circular fenestra (Fig. 13C). Smaller species, HW: ≤ 0.35 mm. Body color yellowish brown . . . . . 11
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 13. Lateral view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the dorsal margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera terayamai sp. n., B: Ponera chiponensis, C: Ponera baka.

11

return to couplet #10

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view rectangular, broader than long, with slightly convex anterior margin (Fig. 14A). Larger species, HW: ca. 0.33 mm . . . . . Ponera baka
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view subquadrate, about as wide as long, with straight anterior margin (Fig. 14B). Smaller species, HW: 0.27–0.28 mm . . . . . Ponera shennong
Ponera shennong head (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg
Ponera shennong side (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 14. Dorsal view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the anterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera baka, B: Ponera shennong.

12

return to couplet #8

  • Subpetiolar process without developed posteroventral teeth (Fig. 15A) . . . . . 13
  • Subpetiolar process with developed posteroventral teeth (Fig. 15B) . . . . . 16
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 15. Lateral view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the posterovental teeth in subpetiolar process), A: Ponera xantha, B: Ponera scabra.

13

return to couplet #12

  • Metanotal groove in lateral view indistinctly or weakly incised (Fig. 16A). Petiolar node in lateral view anterior and posterior margins converging, not parallel . . . . . 14
  • Metanotal groove in lateral view deeply and broadly incised (Fig. 16B). Petiolar node in lateral view with parallel anterior and posterior margins . . . . . Ponera nangongshana
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 16. Lateral view of mesosoma (the arrow indicates the metanotal groove), A: Ponera yuhuang, B: Ponera nangongshan.

14

return to couplet #13

  • In full-face view, posterior margin of head distinctly concave (Fig. 17A). Petiolar node in lateral view thick (LPeI: 63), with sloping and straight posterior margin. Smaller species, HW: ca. 0.35 mm. Body yellowish brown . . . . . Ponera xantha
  • In full-face view, posterior margin of head slightly concave or straight (Fig. 17B, C). Petiolar node in lateral view relatively thin (LPeI: ca. 50), with almost vertical and slightly convex posterior margin. Larger species, HW ≥ 0.40 mm. Body brown to dark brown . . . . . 15
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 17. Full-face view of head, A: Ponera xantha, B: Ponera yuhuang, C: Ponera bawana

15

return to couplet #14

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view oval, with slightly convex posterior margin (Fig. 18A). Larger species, HW: ca. 0.53 mm . . . . . Ponera bawana
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view arched, with straight posterior margin (Fig. 18B). Smaller species, HW: ca. 0.40 mm . . . . . Ponera yuhuang
Ponera yuhuang head (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg
Ponera yuhuang side (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 18. Dorsal view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera bawana, B: Ponera yuhuang.

16

return to couplet #12

  • Length of 8th antennal segment as long as 7th antennal segment (Fig. 19A) Metanotal groove indistinctly incised. Smaller species, HW: 0.30–0.31 mm . . . . . Ponera szaboi
Ponera szaboi H casent0249232.jpg
Ponera szaboi P casent0249232.jpg
  • Length of 8th antennal segment ≥ 1.5 times length of 7th antennal segment (Fig. 19B) . . . . . 17
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 19. Full-face view of head (the arrow indicates the antennal segment), a: Ponera szaboi (CASENT0907297, Zach Lieberman, AntWeb, 2017), b: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017).

17

return to couplet #16

  • Metanotal groove in dorsal view indistinctly incised or almost obliterated (Fig. 20A) . . . . . 18
  • Metanotal groove in dorsal view weakly incised (Fig. 20B) . . . . . 22
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 20. Dorsal view of mesosoma (the arrow indicates the metanotal groove), A: Ponera wui sp. n., B: Ponera tamon.

18

return to couplet #17

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view oval, with convex posterior margin (Fig. 21A). Smaller species, HW: ca. 0.45 mm . . . . . Ponera longlina
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view not oval, with straight to slightly concave posterior margin (Fig. 21B, C, D). Larger species, HW ≥ 0.49 mm . . . . . 19
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 21. Dorsal view of petiolar node (the arrow indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera longlina, B: Ponera. wui sp. n., C: Ponera scabra, D: Ponera menglana.

19

return to couplet #18

  • Side of propodeum with weak to strong striae and hairs in lateral view (Fig. 22A, B, C). Body color variable. Larger species, HW ≥ 0.55 mm . . . . . 20
  • Side of propodeum shining and smooth (Fig. 22D). Body color reddish brown. Smaller species, HW: 0.49–0.52 mm . . . . . Ponera wui
Ponera wui F66 H.jpg
Ponera wui F68 D.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 22. Lateral view of propodeum (the arrow indicates the contained portion between metapleuron and propodeum), A: Ponera scabra, B: Ponera menglana, C: Ponera paedericera, D: Ponera wui sp. n.

20

return to couplet #19

  • Lateral faces of metapleuron and propodeum weakly striate (Fig. 22AC) . . . . . 21
  • Lateral faces of metapleuron and propodeum strongly striate (Fig. 22B) . . . . . Ponera menglana
Ponera menglana H casent0235336.jpg
Ponera menglana P casent0235336.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 22. Lateral view of propodeum (the arrow indicates the contained portion between metapleuron and propodeum), A: Ponera scabra, B: Ponera menglana, C: Ponera paedericera, D: Ponera wui sp. n.

21

return to couplet #20

  • Apex of antennal scape, when laid backward, with a remaining distance to the posterolateral corner of ca. 10% of the scape length. Lateral faces of metapleuron and propodeum weakly striate (Fig. 22C) . . . . . Ponera paedericera
Ponera paedericera w.jpg
  • Apex of antennal scape, when laid backward, with a remaining distance to the posterolateral corner of ≤ 5% of the scape length. Metapleuron and propodeum with relatively strong striae and abundant hairs in lateral view (Fig. 22A) . . . . . Ponera scabra
Ponera scabra H casent0281908.jpg
Ponera scabra P casent0281908.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 22. Lateral view of propodeum (the arrow indicates the contained portion between metapleuron and propodeum), A: Ponera scabra, B: Ponera menglana, C: Ponera paedericera, D: Ponera wui sp. n.

22

return to couplet #17

  • Anterodorsal corner of petiolar node in lateral view protruding forward (Fig. 23A) . . . . . Ponera diodonta
  • Anterodorsal corner of petiolar node in lateral view not protruding forward (Fig. 23B, C, D). . . . . . 23
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 23. Lateral view of petiole (the arrow indicates the anteriorodorsal corner of petiolar node), A: Ponera diodonta, B: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017), C: Ponera oreas, D: Ponera pianmana.

23

return to couplet #22

  • Apex of antennal scape, when laid backward, with a remaining distance to the posterolateral corner of ≤ 5% of the scape length. . . . . . 29
  • Apex of antennal scape, when laid backward, with a remaining distance to the posterolateral corner of ≥ 10% of the scape length . . . . . 24

24

return to couplet #23

  • Dorsum of petiolar node in lateral view convex without forming distinct angle on posterodorsal corner; anterodorsal corner clearly much higher than posterodorsal corner (Fig. 24AB) . . . . . 25
  • Dorsum of petiolar node in lateral view slightly convex without forming distinct angle on posterodorsal corner; anterodorsal corner slightly higher, or as high as posterodorsal corner (Fig. 24CDEF) . . . . . 26
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 24. Lateral view of petiole, A: Ponera pianmana, B: Ponera bishamon, C: Ponera japonica, D: Ponera swezeyi (CASENT0900367, Will Ericson, AntWeb, 2017), E: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017), F: Ponera taiyangshen. Figure

25

return to couplet #24

  • Third abdominal tergum distinctly longer than broad in dorsal view (ATI ≥ 105) . . . . . Ponera bishamon
Ponera bishamon F36 H.jpg
Ponera bishamon F36 P.jpg
  • Third abdominal tergum broader than long in dorsal view (ATI ≤ 96) . . . . . Ponera pianmana

26

return to couplet #24

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view relatively thicker (Fig. 25A) . . . . . 27
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view relatively thin (Fig. 25B) . . . . . 28
Leong et al. 2019. 25. Dorsal view of petiole, A: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017), B: Ponera taiyangshen, C: Ponera japonica, D: Ponera swezeyi.

27

return to couplet #26

  • Petiolar node in dorsal view relatively thin (Fig. 24E). Posterior margin of head slightly concave (Fig. 26A). Clypeus without distinct median tooth . . . . . Ponera incerta
Ponera incerta ANIC32-001477 head 100-Antwiki.jpg
Ponera incerta ANIC32-001477 side 80-Antwiki.jpg
  • Petiolar node in lateral view relatively thicker (Fig. 24F). Posterior margin of head more concave (Fig. 26B). Clypeus with distinct median tooth present (observation of the specimen using various angles needed) . . . . . Ponera taiyangshen
Ponera taiyangshen head (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg
Ponera taiyangshen side (www.niaes.affrc.go.jp).jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 24. Lateral view of petiole, A: Ponera pianmana, B: Ponera bishamon, C: Ponera japonica, D: Ponera swezeyi (CASENT0900367, Will Ericson, AntWeb, 2017), E: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017), F: Ponera taiyangshen. Figure
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 26. Full-face view of head, A: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017), B: Ponera taiyangshen.

28

return to couplet #26

  • Posterior margin of head concave (Fig. 27A). Anterior margin of petiolar node in dorsal view well convex (Fig. 25C). Larger species, HW: 0.41–0.50 mm. Body color brown . . . . . Ponera japonica
Ponera japonica casent0008646 head 1.jpg
Ponera japonica casent0008646 profile 1.jpg
  • Posterior margin of head almost straight (Fig. 27B). Anterior margin of petiolar node in dorsal view well convex (Fig. 25D). Smaller species, HW: 0.32–0.34 mm. Body color yellowish brown . . . . . Ponera swezeyi
Ponera swezeyi casent0173001 head 1.jpg
Ponera swezeyi casent0173001 profile 1.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. 25. Dorsal view of petiole, A: Ponera incerta (CASENT0178448, April Nobile, AntWeb, 2017), B: Ponera taiyangshen, C: Ponera japonica, D: Ponera swezeyi.
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 27. Full-face view of head, A: Ponera japonica (CASENT0915295, Zach Lieberman, AntWeb, 2017), B: Ponera swezeyi (MCZ-ENT00593416, Michele Esposito, AntWeb, 2017).

29

return to couplet #23

  • Petiolar node in lateral view with strongly convex posterior margin (Fig. 28A, B). Petiolar node in dorsal view with concave posterior margin, and large portion of the declivity clearly visible (Fig. 29A, B) . . . . . 30
  • Petiolar node in lateral view with straight to slightly convex posterior margin (Fig. 28C, D). Petiolar node in dorsal view with straight or slightly concave posterior margin, and small portion of the declivity visible (Fig. 29C, D) . . . . . 31
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 28. Lateral view of petiole (the arrow indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera sinensis, B: paratype of Ponera tamon, C: syntype of Ponera oreas, D: paratype of Ponera guangxiensis.
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 29. Dorsal view of petiole (the dotted line indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera sinensis, B: Ponera tamon, C: Ponera oreas, D: Ponera guangxiensis.

30

return to couplet #29

  • Petiolar node in lateral view with broadly convex posterior margin (Fig. 28A). Petiolar node in dorsal view thin (Fig. 29A). Body color dark brown . . . . . Ponera sinensis
Ponera sinensis F47 H.jpg
Ponera sinensis F47 P.jpg
  • Petiolar node in lateral view with convex posterior margin (Fig. 28B). Petiolar node in dorsal view relatively thicker (Fig. 29B). Body color lighter brown . . . . . Ponera tamon
Ponera tamon 55 H.jpg
Ponera tamon 55 P.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 28. Lateral view of petiole (the arrow indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera sinensis, B: paratype of Ponera tamon, C: syntype of Ponera oreas, D: paratype of Ponera guangxiensis.
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 29. Dorsal view of petiole (the dotted line indicates the posterior margin of petiolar node), A: Ponera sinensis, B: Ponera tamon, C: Ponera oreas, D: Ponera guangxiensis.

31

return to couplet #29

  • Posterodorsal corner of petiolar node forming a blunt angle in lateral view (Fig. 30A specimen collected in Sarawak, Malaysia; also see Taylor 1967, Fig. 71). Subpetiolar process with small posteroventral teeth . . . . . Ponera oreas
Ponera oreas H casent0281907.jpg
Ponera oreas P casent0281907.jpg
  • Posterodorsal corner of petiolar node convex in lateral view (Fig. 30B specimen collected in Vietnam; also see Zhou 2001, Fig. 74). Subpetiolar process with larger posteroventral teeth . . . . . Ponera guangxiensis
Zhou 2001 F33-34.jpg
Leong et al. 2019. Figure 30. Lateral view of petiole, A: 'Ponera oreas collected in Sarawak, Malaysia, B: guangxiensis collected in Vietnam.