Ponera chapmani

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Ponera chapmani
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. chapmani
Binomial name
Ponera chapmani
Taylor, 1967

Known only from type material.


Taylor (1967) - Easily recognized by the combination of large size (head width 0.65-0.67 mm in worker, 0.67-0.68 mm in queen), compact propodeal form without strongly angled posterolateral edges, presence of transverse striae on lower parts of declivitous face of propodeum and posterior face of the node, presence of a distinct median clypeal denticle, and long scapes which slightly exceed the median occipital border (scape index 91-92).

Apparently close to the Japanese Ponera scabra, but distinguished by the characters given in the key above, and in the comparative diagnosis under scabra below. chapmani is much larger than the other known Philippine Ponera species (Ponera oreas).

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 6.989444° to 6.989444°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea, Philippines (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Nothing is known about the biology of Ponera chapmani.

Explore-icon.png Explore Overview of Ponera biology 
The general biology of species in the genus was summarized by Taylor (1967): Ponera are small ants that nest in rotting logs in forested areas or under stones in nonforested situations. In the tropical areas specimens are rarely encountered away from rain forest. In temperate areas, however, species may occur in relatively lightly forested areas. This appears to be the case with Ponera japonica, Ponera pennsylvanica and especially with Ponera coarctata. The Australian Ponera leae is essentially limited to rain forest in the northern parts of its range, but further south it may be found in dry, lightly forested areas.

Foraging is probably cryptobiotic, though some New Guinea species have been taken straying on the ground surface. Little information is available concerning feeding. However, most species are probably insectivorous. I have conducted feeding experiments with some of the New Guinea and Samoan species, including Ponera xenagos, Ponera elegantula, Ponera tenuis, Ponera incerta and Ponera woodwardi. These were unsuccessful with the larger species, except elegantula, which accepted moderately large (8-12 mm) campodeid and japygid Diplura. Tenuis and incerta accepted smaller (4-6 mm) campodeids, isotomid and sminthurid Collembola, and small newly hatched spiders (2 mm long). Negative feeding response was obtained with eggs and larvae of various ants, small crushed insects of various orders, and small myriapods. Stray workers were never observed carrying prey, and distinct middens of insect or other remains were not located near nests.

Colonies usually contain about 30 workers. Larvae and pupae are not segregated in most cases, but occasionally aggregations of pupae were observed. These may have included the total brood of the colonies involved. Larvae are attached to the floor or walls of the nest galleries by the glutinous abdominal tubercles described above, and the ants move them high up on the walls or ceilings of artificial nests, if they are flooded. Details of nuptial behavior of pennsylvanica were given by Wheeler (1900), and Haskins & Enzmann (1938). The flights appear to be of a pattern typical for ants, with the alates meeting in the air and mating there or on the ground. Colony foundation is non-claustral and independent in pennsylvanica (Kannowski 1959); judging from my observations this is typical for the genus. ‎


Males have not been collected for this species.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • chapmani. Ponera chapmani Taylor, 1967a: 47, figs. 6, 29, 30 (w.q.) PHILIPPINES.

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



Holotype. HL 0.79 mm; HW 0.67 mm; SL 0.61 mm; CI 85; SI; PW 0.53 mm; PNL 0.28 mm; PH 0.57 mm; DPW 0.43 mm; PNI 81. Mandibles with 3 well developed teeth occupying approximately apical 1/2 of masticatory border. Remainder of border with 5 or 6 distinct large denticles. Head as in fig. 29, moderately broad with almost straight sides and sl ightly concave occipital border. Clypeus with a distinct blunt median tooth about 0.03 mm high. Eyes small, not markedly convex, their maximum diameter about 0.04 mm, with 4 or 5 indistinct facets ; situated approximately 0.85 X the distance from lateral occipital border to mid-point of anterior genal border. Scapes long, exceeding median occipital border by a distance equal to about 0.25 X their maximum thickness, when laid back along head. No distinct antennal club differentiated, antennomeres increasing regularly in length and breadth towards apex ; apical segment almost as long as the 3 preceding together.

Taylor 1967 Ponera fig 27-32

General form of mesosoma as in fig. 30, lateral mesonotal and dorsal mesometanotal sutures distinctly incised. Posterolateral angles of propodeum not markedly pronounced, forming blunt angles of about 90° when viewed from above. Lateral faces of propodeurn, viewed from above, almost straight, converging slightly anteriorly; declivitous face straight to feebly concave. Petiolar node as in fig. 30. Subpetiolar fenestra moderately large, circular; posterolateral teeth strong, moderately acute. Dorsal face of node, viewed from above, almost oval. Posterolateral angles of node broadly rounded, its posterior face straight to feebly convex.

Mandibles smooth and shining. Clypeus moderately shining, irregularly punctate. Front of head opaque with a close cover of coarse, more or less foveolate punctures, about 0.01 mm in diameter. Scapes fairly coarsely and closely punctate. Occipital area of head and entire pronotum moderately shining, with scattered fine punctures. Mesonotum semi-opaque with coarse foveolate punctures about 0.01 mm in diameter, separated by distance equal to approximately 1/2 their maximum diameter. Dorsum of propodeum moderately shining, with punctures similar to those of mesonotum, but more widely spaced at distances about equal to their maximum diameter. Sides of mesosoma moderately shining, with scattered punctae. Lower 1/2 of mesepisternum and entire metepisternal area finely longitudinally striate-rugose; a few broken fragments of such sculptures on side of propodeum, above spiracle. Declivitous face of propodeum shining with a cover of moderately spaced transverse striae, which are partly obliterated in the middle of upper 1/2 of face, which is smooth and shining. A few remnants of similar longitudinal striae above effaced area. Node moderately shining, scattered fine irregular punctae on dorsal and anterolateral faces, posterior face generally shining on upper 1/2, but transversely archedstriate-rugose on lower portion. Arched striae of posterior face of node continued at sides onto lower posterior parts of its lateral faces, and from there down over posterior 1/2 of subpetiolar process ; trend of sculpture in these areas almost vertical. First gastric tergite subopaque, fairly coarsely and closely punctate, with a scaly appearance, due to individual punctures being deep anteriorly and barely depressed below the interpunctural surface posteriorly. Second gastric tergite similarly but more finely sculptured.

Pilosity moderately abundant, a few erect hairs on mandibles, clypeus, frontal lobes, scapes, dorsum of mesosoma, declivitous face of propodeum. More abundant sub-erect hairs on dorsum of node, and entire gaster. Pubescence everywhere moderately abundant, least so on sides of mesosoma, node and gaster. Color dull medium reddish brown; frons, dorsal faces of propodeum and 1 st 2 gastric segments more darkly infuscated. Legs, mandibles, antennae and tip of gaster rich orange-brown.

Paratypes. 3 paratype workers from the same series as holotype with following dimensions and indices: HL 0.77-0.78 mm; HW 0.65 mm; SL 0.60 mm; CI 83-84; SI 92; PW 0.52-0.53 mm; PNL 0.26-0.27 mm; PH 0.55-0.56 mm; DPW 0.41-0.42 mm; PNI 79-80. These specimens closely resemble the holotype. The eyes may range up to a maximum diameter of 0.05 mm, with 4-6 facets ; posterior mandibular denticles range down to 4 in number; and scapes may exceed median occipital border by up to 0.5 X their maximum thickness. Palpal formula (1 specimen dissected); Maxillary 2: Labial 2.


Paratypes. A single dealate and 8 alates from the same series as holotype (presumably collected from the same colony) with following dimensions and indices : HL 0.79-0.81 mm; HW 0.67-0.68 mm; SL 0.62-0.63 mm; CI 83-86; SI 91-94 ; PW 0.63-0.64 mm; PNL 0.28-0.30 mm; PH 0.61 -0.63 mm; DPW 0.47-0.48 mm; PNI 74-76. Maximum diameter of eye 0.21 -0.23 mm, ocular index 29-30. Palpal formula (1 specimen dissected): Maxillary 2 : Labial 2. Differing from the worker in the usual characters of full sexuality. Structure of head, clypeus, mandibles and antennae as in worker; scapes exceeding occipital border by about 0.5 X their maximum thickness. Anterior extremity of compound eyes situated 1/3-1/2 their maximum diameter from midpoint of anterior genal border. Mesomal structure complete, inferior pronotal angles bluntly pointed; parapsidal furrows distinct, notaulices absent. Forewing venation (fig. 6) unique among known larger Ponera in that the 2nd abscissa of Rs + M arises distal to anterior base of medio-cubital cross-vein (m-cu). Propodeal angles as in worker, node thinner, more or less transversely elongate oval in dorsal view. Sculpture, color, pilosity and pubescence in general as in worker; mesosomal sculpture a little more intense, especially longitudinal rugosity of metepisternal areas and sides of propodeum. Transverse striate-rugosity of declivitous propodeal face more distinct than in worker and not effaced in center. Sculpture of metasoma as in worker.

Type Material

Holotype and paratypes (worker and queen) in Museum of Comparative Zoology (Type No. 30919); paratypes in Bernice P. Bishop Museum and Australian National Insect Collection (workers and queens) , The Natural History Museum and National Museum of Natural History (queens only).

The type series was located in the J. W. Chapman collection (MCZ): PHILIPPINE IS.: Mindanao: Mt. Apo, 1500-1800 m (C. F. Clagg), no ecological details cited, probably collected in rain forest.


This species is named for the late Dr James W. Chapman, in recognition of his contributions to Philippine myrmecology and entomology.


  • Taylor, R. W. 1967a. A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pac. Insects Monogr. 13: 1-112 (page 47, figs. 6, 29, 30 worker, queen described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on http://www.newguineants.org/. Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Taylor R. W. 1967. A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph 13: 1-112.