Ponera szentivanyi

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Ponera szentivanyi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. szentivanyi
Binomial name
Ponera szentivanyi
Wilson, 1957

Only known from two type specimens.


Taylor (1967) - The 4-segmented club and lack of an incised mesometanotal suture allow placement to the tenuis group.

Differs from Ponera petila by its larger size, narrower head (CI 75 versus 78), and other dimensional differences. Sculpturation of the head and mesosoma of szentivanyi is about intermediate between that described for petila and szaboi.

Differs from Ponera szaboi by its smaller size (HW 0.30-0.31 mm, PW 0.23 mm, DPW 0.15 mm; opposed to 0.34 mm, 0.28 mm and 0.21-0.24 mm respectively in szentivanyi), relatively short scapes (SI 79-83, against 94 in szentivanyi) and a less intense sculpturation of the mesosoma.

Keys including this Species


Known only from SE New Guinea.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -5.333° to -9.166667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea (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 szentivanyi.

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. ‎


Queen, male, and immature stages unknown.


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

  • szentivanyi. Ponera szentivanyi Wilson, 1957b: 372, figs. 1, 2 (w.) NEW GUINEA. See also: Taylor, 1967a: 103.

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



Holotype. HW 0.34 mm; HL 0.45 mm, SL 0.32 mm, CI 76, 81 94, PW 0.28 mm (petiole height not measured; see paratype), petiolar node length 0.16 mm, dorsal petiole width 0.24 mm. Three well developed teeth occupying the apical two-fifths of the masticatory border, followed basally by an indeterminate number of minute denticles. Eye minute, consisting of a single ommatidium, located about 0.8 the distance from the lateral occipital border to the midpoint of the anterior genal border. Antennal club distinctly 4-jointed, considerably longer than the remainder of the funiculus. Head elongate (CI 76) with very feebly convex sides, and feebly but distinctly concave occipital border. Petiolar node seen from side relatively thin, elongate-trapezoidal; seen from directly above, so that the posterior face is exactly parallel with the line of vision, the node as a whole forms slightly more than a half-circle, but the dorsal surface alone forms much less than a half-circle; seen from the preceding position the posterior face is feebly but distinctly concave. Subpetiolar process somewhat reduced, its apex right-angular.

Body sculpturing approximately as described for P. huonica Wilson.

Pilosity and pubescence as in P. caledonica Wilson.

Body uniformly light brownish yellow; appendages clear yellow.

Paratype. A single callow worker taken with the holotype has the integument of the head somewhat crumpled and distorted through drying, so that regular cephalic measurements could not be made. PW 0.28 mm, petiole height 0.29 mm, dorsal petiole width 0.21 mm. Body color clear, pale yellow.

Taylor (1967) - Mesometanotal suture lacking on mesosomal dorsum. Palpal formula: Maxillary 2: Labial 2 (paratype inspected). Dimensions of holotype (listed first) and the single paratype are: HW 0.34mm; SL 0.32 mm; CI 75; SI 94; PW 0.28 mm; PNL 0.16 mm; PH 0.29 mm; DPW 0.24 mm, 0.21 mm; PNI 86, 75.

Type Material

PAPUA: Karema, near the Brown River, about 30 miles north of Port Moresby; March 8-11, 1955; Holotype and single paratype worker (Wilson, acc. no. 563). Museum of Comparative Zoology


This species is named in honor of Dr. J. H. Szent-Ivany, the expert resident entomologist of the Territory of Papua-New Guinea, whose friendly assistance greatly aided the author's field work in this area.


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.
  • Wilson E. O. 1957. The tenuis and selenophora groups of the ant genus Ponera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 116: 355-386.
  • Wilson E. O. 1958. Studies on the ant fauna of Melanesia III. Rhytidoponera in western Melanesia and the Moluccas. IV. The tribe Ponerini. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 119: 303-371.
  • Wilson Edward O. 1959. Adaptive Shift and Dispersal in a Tropical Ant Fauna. Evolution 13(1): 122-144