Ponera pentodontos

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

The type material was collected from a soil sample in seasonal rain forest and from an unspecified ground sample.


This new species is close to Ponera sinensis, but mandible with 5 distinct subequal large teeth, Head relatively broad, CI 95-98, Petiolar node comparatively narrow, PNI 76-81, Anteroventral corner of subpetiolar process rounded. (Xu 2001)

Keys including this Species


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.

  • pentodontos. Ponera pentodontos Xu, 2001a: 53, figs. 1-3 (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. 16-27

Holotype. TL 2.7, HL 0.55, HW 0.53, CI 95, SL 0.45, SI 86, PW 0.40, AL 0.80, ED 0.03, ML 0.35, PNL 0.20, DPW 0.33, PH 0.40, PNI 81, LPI 50. Head nearly square, occipital margin weakly concave, occipital corners blunt, lateral sides weakly convex. Mandible with 5 distinct subequal large teeth. Anterior margin of clypeus convex and very bluntly angled in the middle. Apex of scape reached to 19/20 of the distance from antennal socket to occipital corner, antennal club consisted of the apical 5 segments. Eye with one facet. In profile view mesonotum weakly convex, promesonotal suture and metanotal groove distinct. Dorsum of propodeum and declivity subequal and flat, posterodorsal corner blunt. In profile view petiolar node distinctly tapering upward, anterior face straight and vertical, dorsal and posterior faces formed a single arched surface, anterodorsal corner blunt. Subpetiolar process cuneiform, fenestra circular and small, anteroventral corner rounded, posteroventral corner with a large tooth. In dorsal view petiolar node nearly semicircular, anterior and lateral borders formed a single arch, posterior border straight. Gaster weakly constricted between the two basal segments. Mandibles smooth and shining, with very sparse punctures. Head finely and closely punctured. Alitrunk, petiole and gaster finely and densely punctured. Surface of the whole body and appendages with dense decumbent pubescence, anterior portion of head, petiolar node and gaster with sparse erecj short hairs. Body in color black. Mandibles, antennae and legs yellowish brown.

Paratypes. TL 2.6-2.8, HL 0.55-0.58, HW 0.53-0.55, CI 95-98, SL 0.45-0.48, SI 82-86, PW 0.40-0.43, AL 0.80-0.83, ED 0.03-0.04, ML 0.35, PNL 0.20, DPW 0.33, PH 0.38-0.40, PNI 76-81, LPI 50-53 (5 measured).

Type Material

Holotype: worker, No. A9.7-2046, 730 m, Bubang Village, Mengla County, Yunnan Province, 17-VIH-1997, collected in a soil sample of seasonal rain forest by Zeng Guang. Paratypes: 1 worker, with same data as holotype, 1 worker, with same data as holoype but No. A97 - 2028, 8 workers, with same data as holotype but No. A97-2089, collected in a ground sample.

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 53, figs. 1-3 worker described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Guénard B., and R. R. Dunn. 2012. A checklist of the ants of China. Zootaxa 3558: 1-77.
  • 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