Hypoponera ignavia Bolton & Fisher, Bolton, B. & Fisher, B. L., 2011

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B. L., 2011, Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 2843, pp. 1-118: 57-59

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Hypoponera ignavia Bolton & Fisher

sp. n.

Hypoponera ignavia Bolton & Fisher  HNS  sp. n.

(Figs 52 – 54)

WORKER (holotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.78 – 0.88 (0.88), HW 0.61 – 0.71 (0.71), HS 0.695 – 0.795 (0.795), SL 0.54 – 0.67 (0.67), PrW 0.46 – 0.52 (0.52), WL 1.03 – 1.20 (1.20), HFL 0.59 – 0.73 (0.73), PeNL 0.21 – 0.25 (0.25), PeH 0.45 – 0.52 (0.52), PeNW 0.32 – 0.37 (0.37), PeS 0.327 – 0.380 (0.380) (4 measured). Indices: CI 78 – 83 (81), SI 87 – 94 (94), PeNI 67 – 71 (71), LPeI 45 – 49 (48), DPeI 140 – 155 (148).

Eyes variably developed, see discussion below. In full-face view apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, reaches or very slightly exceeds the midpoint of the posterior margin; SL/HL 0.69 – 0.76. Reticulate-punctulate sculpture of cephalic dorsum fine and superficial, but dorsal head distinctly more densely sculptured than pronotal dorsum, which is almost smooth. Lateroventral areas of head weakly superficially punctate. Propodeal dorsum almost smooth, with only faint, widely spaced, minute punctulae. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent. Metanotal groove distinctly incised across dorsum of mesosoma; mesonotum with a defined posterior margin . Propodeal declivity separated from side by a blunt angle or a weak margination, without sharp carinae. Mesopleuron smooth and shining. Petiole in profile with the anterior and posterior faces of the node weakly convergent dorsally; node only very slightly longer just above the anterior tubercle than at the dorsum. Sternite of petiole in profile with a differentiated lobe that lacks sharp angles anteriorly or posteriorly. Anterior margin of subpetiolar process, near its base, with a conspicuous pit from which a sensory seta arises. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view about equal to the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite with strong, conspicuous cross-ribs. Posttergite of second gastral segment, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, broader than long. Punctures on disc of second gastral tergite superficial, minute and sparse; distances between punctures greater than diameters of punctures and the surface appearing glossy. With first gastral segment in profile its dorsum with scattered short standing setae (mostly lost from holotype but conspicuous in both paratypes). Full adult colour light brown.

Holotype worker (top specimen of two on pin), Zimbabwe: Umtali, Melsetter, 1700 m., ii.1969 (R. Mussard) (MHNG).

Paratypes. 2 workers with same data as holotype (MHNG, BMNH).

Each of the three specimens that make up the type-series of ignavia  HNS  has differently developed eyes; the degree of development is associated with the overall size of the specimen. In the holotype (HW 0.71, SL 0.67) the eye is a featureless blister; in the MHNG paratype (HW 0.65, SL 0.60) it is a depigmented single ommatidium and in the BMNH paratype (HW 0.61, SL 0.54) it is entirely absent. The possibility that the holotype is an intercaste and not a true worker must be considered, because as well as being the largest specimen with the largest eye, it also has a faint vestige of a transverse suture on the mesopleuron, dividing the sclerite into anepisternum and katepisternum.

H. ignavia  HNS  is closely related to boerorum  HNS  and spei  HNS  , but contrasts with them as follows.

1 Sculpture on the disc of the second gastral tergite is much more superficial and diffuse in ignavia  HNS  than in either boerorum  HNS  or spei  HNS  .

2 Setae on the dorsum of the first gastral tergite are short, more closely resembling boerorum  HNS  than spei  HNS  .

3 The subpetiolar process is low and ventrally rounded, again more closely resembling boerorum  HNS  .

4 Dimensions of ignavia  HNS  (HW, SL) are within the known range of spei  HNS  , but its CI 78 – 81 is slightly lower than in spei  HNS  or boerorum  HNS  , which have a combined CI 82 – 89. Also, SI 89 – 94 of ignavia  HNS  is slightly higher than in spei  HNS  plus boerorum  HNS  (SI 77 – 85). PeNI, HS and PeS of ignavia  HNS  fall within the range of spei  HNS  .

In a short series (one worker and two dealate queens) from the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa (data below, specimens in CASC), the worker appears to have a tiny, completely depigmented, vestigial eye spot, a rounded subpetiolar lobe, standing setae on the first gastral tergite that are sparse and elongate (as in spei  HNS  ), and punctulate sculpture on the second gastral tergite that is even more faint and diffuse than in the ignavia  HNS  type-series, so that at low magnification the sclerite appears polished and almost smooth. The extremely reduced gastral sculpture is duplicated in the queens and is very different from the densely punctate sculpture seen in spei  HNS  queens. Because of the very reduced gastral sculpture these specimens are tentatively incorporated in ignavia  HNS  , until more material is assembled and the situation can be reviewed.

Non-paratypic material examined. South Africa: Transvaal, Drakensberg Mts, W. of Klaserie (Ross & Leech).