Neoponera agilis

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Neoponera agilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Neoponera
Species: N. agilis
Binomial name
Neoponera agilis
Forel, 1901

Pachycondyla agilis casent0281904 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla agilis casent0281904 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


A rarely collected species with large workers that have elongate mandibles. Individuals are dark colored and are covered with a fine yellowish pubescence.


Mackay and Mackay (2010): There are only two species of Neoponera which have greatly elongated mandibles: Neoponera agilis and Neoponera rostrata. Neoponera agilis can be separated from N. rostrata by the lack of a pronotal carina.

The holotype of N. agilis is apparently lost and the holotype of N. goyana was not available. Borgmeier (1937) distinguishes N. goyana from N. rostrata, but not from N. agilis. The two taxa do not appear to differ significantly, based on the descriptions and N. goyana is considered to be a synonym of N. agilis. It is doubtful that N. agilis can be separated from N. rostrata, but sufficient material is not available to evaluate the variation in the two species. The specific distinction of the three species was doubted by Kempf (1978).


Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Mackay and Mackay (2010): Kempf (1978) mentioned this species occurs in cerrado [dense scrub vegetation] in Brazil. Kusnezov (1969) collected three specimens along a path in a tropical rain forest.


Rarely collected.





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

  • agilis. Neoponera (Eumecopone) agilis Forel, 1901e: 336 (w.) U.S.A. (locality in error; type-locality possibly Colombia: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 199). Combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 302; in Neoponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 151. Senior synonym of golbachi, goyana: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 199.
  • goyana. Neoponera (Eumecopone) goyana Borgmeier, 1937b: 230, figs. 11-14 (w.) BRAZIL. Combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 305. Senior synonym of golbachi: Kempf, 1978: 36. Junior synonym of agilis: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 199.
  • golbachi. Neoponera (Eumecopone) golbachi Kusnezov, 1969: 36 (w.) ARGENTINA. Junior synonym of goyana: Kempf, 1978: 36; of agilis: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 199.



Mackay and Mackay (2010): (Based on Forel, 1901 and Borgmeier, 1937): the worker is a moderately large (the lengths of the mesosoma and gaster are 10.5 mm, the length of the head, including the mandibles 4.8 mm, length of mandibles 2.3 mm) dark ant with the mesosoma, gaster, antenna, clypeus and legs in part reddish brown and petiole dark brown. The mandibles are yellowish ferrugineous. The mandibles are extremely long with 18 teeth or denticles, which alternate between large and small. The clypeus is convex anteriorly; the head is narrowed anteriorly, with the posterior corners rounded and the posterior border straight. The malar carina is developed, but does not reach the eye. The eyes are located slightly anterior to the middle of the head and are strongly convex (diameter 0.5 mm). The scape extends about ⅓ its length past the posterior lateral corner of the head. The pronotal shoulder is completely rounded without a carina, the metanotal suture is deeply impressed on the dorsum of the mesosoma (similar to P. constricta) and breaks the sculpture; the propodeal spiracle is slit-shaped. The petiole is wider than tall with the anterior face ascending to the apex and is posteriorly truncated. The subpetiolar process is triangular anteriorly followed by a broad concave region.

The body is completely covered with a fine yellowish pubescence. The pilosity is sparse, short on the head and the antenna, sparse on the mesosoma, but abundant on the gaster and the anterior face of the mandibles. The middle of the clypeus has two short hairs.

The head is covered with foveolate punctures; the clypeus is covered with longitudinal striae (not present in the description of P. agilis) and with two or three transverse coarse rugae. The mandibles are shiny with sparse punctures. The mesosoma has punctures finer than those on the head; the propodeum has fine transverse striae. The petiole is reticulated and truncated, the apex has a brilliant smooth area. The gaster is finely punctate and subopaque.


The female is unknown, although Kempf (1978) lists an alate female from Brasil. Kusnezov (1969) mentions in a footnote that he collected an ergatotype, which is deposited in the Instituto Miguel Lillo, # 4792. (Mackay and Mackay (2010).


No males are known for this species.

Type Material

Apparently lost. Forel reported in his original description that he received a single specimen with the label "Cal." He interpreted this to mean "Californie" but this appears to be an error as the species is highly unlikely to be found there. Mackay and Mackay (2010) suggest the label should have been "Col." for Columbia. This would place the locality much closer to the currently known range of P. agilis. The holotype may be lost hence it is not possible to check the the original label.


The name of this species comes from the Latin word agilis, which means nimble, presumably referring to the activity of this species. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


  • Borgmeier, T. 1937. Formigas novas ou pouco conhecidas da América do Sul e Central, principalmente do Brasil. Arch. Inst. Biol. Veget. Rio de Janeiro 3:217-255.
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1995a. [Untitled. Taxonomic changes in Pachycondyla attributed to Brown.] Pp. 302-311 in: Bolton, B. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 302, Combination in Pachycondyla)
  • Forel, A. 1901j. Variétés myrmécologiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 334-382 (page 336, worker described)
  • Kempf, W. 1978. Five new synonyms for the Argentine ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 20:35-38.
  • Kusnezov, N. 1969. Nuevas especies de hormigas. Acta Zoológica Lilloana 24:33-38.
  • Mackay, W. P., and E. E. Mackay 2010. The Systematics and Biology of the New World Ants of the Genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellon Press, Lewiston. Information from this publication is used with permission from the authors.
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1).