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Parvaponera darwinii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Ponera genus group
Genus: Parvaponera
Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014
Type species
Belonopelta darwinii, now Parvaponera darwinii
8 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Pachycondyla darwinii casent0172436 profile 1.jpg

Pachycondyla darwinii casent0172436 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Parvaponera is a small, rarely encountered genus. Its biology is essentially unknown.


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Workers of Parvaponera can be separated from other Ponerinae by the following combination of characters: eyes small (2-4 facets) or absent, mandibles short, without a basal pit or groove, propodeal spiracle generally elongate or slit-like (oval or nearly circular in a few species), ventral apex of the metatibia with one pectinate and one simple spur and subpetiolar process triangular and with an anterior fenestra and/or a pair of teeth. They are most likely to be confused with Centromyrmex, Hypoponera or Ponera. While both Centromyrmex and Parvaponera have reduced eyes, Parvaponera lacks pusher-setae on the tibiae as found in Centromyrmex (although they are present on the mesobasitarsus in some species of Parvaponera) and has a much more complex subpetiolar process which possesses either an anterior fenestra or posteroventral teeth, both of which are lacking in Centromyrmex. While superficially similar to Hypoponera and Ponera, Parvaponera has a pair of spurs present on the metatibia while only a single spur is present in these genera.

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus



Broadly ranging with species occurring in tropical Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Solomon Islands.

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Parvaponera darwinii is widespread throughout the Old World tropics and until recently was known only from the queen caste (Terayama, 1990), which along with worker structure suggests a hypogeic lifestyle. Morgan et al. (2003) analyzed the Dufour’s gland secretions of P. darwinii (as P. indica).



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

  • PARVAPONERA [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Parvaponera Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 198. Type-species: Belonopelta darwinii, by original designation.

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


Schmidt & Shattuck (2014):

  • Worker

Small, slender ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles triangular and lacking a basal groove or pit. Clypeus generally with a central tooth or short projection, absent in a few African species. Frontal lobes moderately small. Eyes small in size or absent, located fairly anterior on head. Mesopleuron lacking a transverse groove. Metanotal groove present or absent. Propodeum not narrowed dorsally. Propodeal spiracle generally elongate or slit-like (oval or nearly round in a few African species). A row of short traction setae present on mesobasitarsus in African species (apparently absent in Asian species). Metatibial spur formula (1s, 1p). Petiole squamiform. Prora conspicuous. Girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4 apparent. Pretergite of A4 without a stridulitrum. Head and body finely punctate and with a matte surface, with sparse pilosity and abundant pubescence. Color variable, testaceous to dark brown.

  • Queen

Similar to worker but slightly larger, alate and with the other caste differences typical for ponerines.


This genus name is derived from the Latin parva, alluding to the generally small size of these ants, combined with pone, derived from the subfamily name Ponerinae.