Ponera nangongshana

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Ponera nangongshana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. nangongshana
Binomial name
Ponera nangongshana
Xu, Z., 2001

The type material was collected from a soil sample in monsoon evergreen broad-leaf forest and from a ground sample.


Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 21.96269444° to 21.91625°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: China (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.


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. ‎



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

  • nangongshana. Ponera nangongshana Xu, 2001a: 55, figs. 13-15 (w.) CHINA.

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



Xu 2001 figs. 1-15

Holotype. TL 2.6, HL 0.58, HW 0.48, CI 83, SL 0.40, SI 84, PW 0.38, AL 0.75, ED 0.03, ML 0.25, PNL 0.20, DPW 0.28, PH 0.38, PNI 73, LPI 53. Head roughly rectangular, longer than broad, weakly narrowed anteriorly. Occipital margin weakly concave, occipital corners bluntly prominent, lateral sides weakly convex. Mandible with 3 enlarged apical teeth followed by a series of minute denticles. Anterior margin of clypeus convex. Apex of scape reached to 9/10 of the distance from antennal socket to occipital corner, antennal club consisted of the apical 5 segments. Eye with one facet. In profile view dorsum of alitrunk weakly convex, promesonotal suture and metanotal groove distinct. Dorsum of propodeum longer than declivity, declivity flat. posterodorsal corner of propodeum bluntly angled. In profile view petiolar node thick, roughly square, anterior and posterior faces nearly straight and parallel, dorsal face weakly convex, anterodorsal and posterodorsal corners blunt. Subpetiolar process with small circular fenestra, anteroventral corner obliquely truncate, posteroventral corner without tooth. In dorsal view petiolar node roughly rectangular, anterior and lateral borders convex, posterior border nearly straight. Gaster distinctly constricted between the two basal segments. Mandibles smooth and shining, sparsely punctured. Head closely and finely punctured and dim. Alitrunk and gaster densely and finely punctured, less shining. Petiole shining, with very weak punctures. Surface of the whole body with very sparse erect short hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Appendages with dense decumbent pubescence, but without erect hairs. Body in color yellowish brown to reddish brown.

Paratype workers: TL 2.4-2.8, HL 0.55-0.60, HW 0.48, CI 79-83, SL 0.40-0.43, SI 84-89, PW 0.38-0.40, AL 0.73-0.78, ED 0.03-0.04, ML 0.28, PNL 0.20, DPW 0.28-0.30, PH 0.35-0.38. PNI 69-80, LPI 53-57 (5 measured). As holotype but body in color yellowish brown to reddish brown.

Type Material

Holotype: worker, No. A98-824, 1620 m, Nangongshan Mountain, Mengla County, Yunnan Province, 15-III-1998, collected in a soil sample of monsoon evergreen broad-leaf forest by He Yunfeng. Paratypes: 3 workers, with same data as holotype; 1 worker, with same data as holotype but No. A98-819; 6 workers, with same data as holotype but Nos. A97-2184, A97-2186, 1525 m, 18-VIII-1997, collected in ground samples.

The type specimens are deposited in the Insect Collection, Southwest Forestry College, Kunming, Yunnan Province, P.R. China.


  • Taylor, R. W. (1967). A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph, 13: 1–112. PDF
  • Xu, Z.-H. 2001b. A systematic study on the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of China. Entomotaxonomia 23: 51-60 (page 55, figs. 13-15 worker described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Fontanilla A. M., A. Nakamura, Z. Xu, M. Cao, R. L. Kitching, Y. Tang, and C. J. Burwell. 2019. Taxonomic and functional ant diversity along tropical, subtropical, and subalpine elevational transects in southwest China. Insects 10, 128; doi:10.3390/insects10050128
  • Guénard B., and R. R. Dunn. 2012. A checklist of the ants of China. Zootaxa 3558: 1-77.
  • Song Y., Z. Xu, C. Li, N. Zhang, L. Zhang, H. Jiang, and F. Mo. 2013. An Analysis on the Ant Fauna of the Nangun river Nature Reserve in Yunnan, China. Forest Research 26(6): 773-780.
  • Xu Z. H. 2001. A systematic study on the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of China. Entomotaxonomia 23: 51-60.
  • Xu Z. 2001. Four new species of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Yunnan, China. Entomotaxonomia 23(3): 217-226