Ponera xantha

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

The type material was collected in a subalpine moist evergreen broadleaf forest.


Close to Ponera baka, but in dorsal view petiolar node roughly triangular, as broad as long, in profile view subpetiolar process without tooth on posteroventral border.

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. ‎


  • Liu, C. et al. 2020. Ants of the Hengduan Mountains, Figure 128, Ponera xantha.


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

  • xantha. Ponera xantha Xu, 2001c: 219, 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 1.9, HL 0.45, HW 0.35. CI 78, SL 0.27. SI 76, PW 0.25, AL 0.57, ED 0.02, ML 0.23, DPW 0.18, PNI 73, PH 0.27, PNL 0.17, LPI 63. Head roughly rectangular, distinctly longer than broad, weakly narrowed forward. In full face view, occipital margin weakly emarginate, occipital corners roundly prominent, lateral sides weakly convex. Masticatory margin of mandible with 3 apical teeth and followed by a row of indistinct minute denticles. Anterior margin of clypeus evenly convex. Antennae short, apex of scape failed to reach occipital corner by 1/4 of its length, antennal club with 4 segments. Eye with only one facet. In profile view, dorsum of thorax weakly convex, promesonotal suture depressed, metanotal groove fine and distinct. Dorsum of propodeum as long as declivity, posterodorsal corner blunt. In profile view, petiolar node thick and nearly trapezoid, narrowed upward, anterior face steeper than posterior face, anterodorsal corner higher and more prominent, posterodorsal corner lower and more blunt. Subpetiolar process cuneiform, fenestra medium size, ventral face convex, anteroventral corner roundly blunt, posteroventral border without tooth. In dorsal view, anterior and lateral borders roundly convex, posterior border straight, length; width = 8:9, almost as broad as long. Mandibles smooth and shining, with very sparse fine punctures. Head densely and finely punctured, relatively dull. Thorax, petiole and gaster weakly, densely and finely punctured, relatively shining. Dorsum of head and body with sparse subdecumbent hairs and dense decumbent pubescence, hairs on gaster abundant. Scapes with sparse subdecumbent hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Dorsa of tibiae with dense decumbent pubescence, without erect hairs. The whole body yellow, gaster brownish yellow, eyes black.

Type Material

Holotype: worker, No. A99-270, 2000 m, Daying Village, Jietou Town, Tengchong County, Yunnan Province, 02-V-1999, collected by Mr. Fu Lei in Subalpine moist evergreen broadleaf forest.


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. Four new species of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Yunnan, China. Entomotaxonomia 23: 217-226.
  • Xu Z. 2001. Four new species of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Yunnan, China. Entomotaxonomia 23(3): 217-226