Hypoponera eduardi (Forel),

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: 47-49

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Hypoponera eduardi (Forel)


Hypoponera eduardi (Forel)  HNS 

(Figs 37 – 39)

Ponera eduardi Forel  HNS  , 1894: 15. Syntype workers and worker-queen intercastes (ergatoids), ALGERIA: Oran, Forêt de Msila, 1893 (A. Forel) (MHNG) [examined]. [Description of queen and male: Emery, 1895: 61. Description of ergatoid male: Forel, 1904: 421. Combination in Hypoponera  HNS  : Taylor, 1967: 12.] (See note.)

Ponera antipodum Forel  HNS  , 1895: 43. Holotype queen (not worker, see Brown, 1958: 23), NEW ZEALAND: Rotorua (Brauns) (MHNG) [not seen]. [Junior synonym of eduardi  HNS  : Brown, 1958: 23.]

Ponera dideroti Forel  HNS  , 1913a: 203. Syntype worker, queen and male, SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Prov., Knysna (as Nynsna in description), no. 159 (H. Brauns) (MHNG) [examined]. Syn. n. [Combination in Hypoponera  HNS  : Bolton, 1995: 214.]

Ponera opaciceps r. chilensis Forel  HNS  , 1914: 264. Syntype workers, CHILE: Valparaiso (H.-G. Brameld) (MHNG) [examined]. Syn. n. [Combination in Hypoponera  HNS  : Kempf, 1972: 123. Previously junior synonym of opaciceps  HNS  : Snelling & Hunt, 1976: 66.]

NOTE. In the original description of eduardi Forel  HNS  described major and minor workers and this nomenclature was repeated by Le Masne (1956). Brown (1958) pointed out that the “ major workers ” referred to by Forel and Le Masne are in fact worker-queen intercastes (= ergatoids) of this species. In the Forel collection (MHNG) a number of specimens from Madeira, collected by E. Schmitz, are labelled as “types”. This is the material described later by Forel (1904) and is not part of the type-series.

WORKER. Measurements: HL 0.63 – 0.70, HW 0.54 – 0.59, HS 0.615 – 0.640, SL 0.47 – 0.54, PrW 0.39 – 0.46, WL 0.86 – 0.91, HFL 0.50 – 0.54, PeNL 0.16 – 0.18, PeH 0.35 – 0.44, PeNW 0.28 – 0.32, PeS 0.277 – 0.310 (30 measured). Indices: CI 82 – 86, SI 86 – 93, PeNI 67 – 75, LPeI 39 – 47, DPeI 167 – 188.

Eyes small but conspicuous, of 1 – 7 ommatidia that are irregular in size and may be partially fused, located far forward on the side of the head. Median portion of anterior clypeal margin shallowly convex, not indented. Dorsum of head with a short median impression that terminates just behind the frontal lobes; without a fine impressed line that extends well beyond the midlength of the vertex. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion in full-face view, touches or slightly exceeds the midpoint of the posterior margin; SL/HL 0.72 – 0.78. Reticulate-punctulate sculpture of cephalic dorsum fine and dense. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture sometimes absent but often with a vestige present. Mesopleuron sculptured, densely punctulate-shagreenate to extremely finely striolate everywhere ; entirely lacking smooth, unsculptured areas. Metanotal groove conspicuous on dorsum of mesosoma; mesonotum with a well-defined posterior margin. Propodeum bluntly marginate between declivity and sides. Propodeal dorsum minutely reticulate-punctate, usually stronger towards the sides than medially. Side of propodeum, above the spiracle, finely reticulate-punctate. In profile the anterior margination of the mesopleuron angulate behind base of anterior coxa. Petiole in profile with the anterior and posterior faces of the node more or less parallel , at most very weakly convergent close to the dorsal surface. Subpetiolar process in profile without sharp angles anteriorly or posteriorly. In dorsal view the petiole node distinctly broader than long. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view less than the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite smooth in dorsal view, without cross-ribs dorsally though one or two may occur laterally; descending surface of posttergite that forms the posterior surface of the cinctus sometimes weakly sculptured. Posttergite of second gastral segment, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, much broader than long. Disc of second gastral tergite finely and densely superficially reticulate-punctulate, appearing microreticulate. Full adult colour dark brown to almost black.

The most broadly recognised continuous distribution of this species in the Palaearctic is circum-Mediterranean , then eastwards through Turkey at least to Turkmenistan and adjacent countries and south to Saudi Arabia (Agosti & Collingwood (1987a), Arakelian (1994), Baroni Urbani (1971), Cagniant & Espadaler (1993), Collingwood(1969), Collingwood & Agosti (1996), Dlussky, et al. (1990), Kugler (1988)). Apart from this eduardi  HNS  is also well established on the Macaronesian Atlantic islands of the Azores, Madeira, Canary Is and Cape Verde Is (Hohmann , et al. (1993), Collingwood & van Harten (1993), Espadaler (2007), Wetterer, et al. (2004), Wetterer, et al. (2007)). Its presence in New Zealand has been known for more than a hundred years (Brown (1958), Don (2007)) and it is now also known to occur on the Indian Ocean islands of the Comoros, Mauritius, Réunion and the Seychelles , but in the Afrotropical region it has only been recorded from South Africa. It would appear to be unable to compete with native species in more typically African forest or savannah habitats.

Like other species in the punctatissima  HNS  group, eduardi  HNS  produces worker-queen intercastes (ergatoids) as well as alate queens and its dimorphic males consist of an alate and an ergatoid form, although the last has not yet been recorded from New Zealand (Don (2007). The worker-queen intercastes have distinctly larger eyes than the workers(ca 20 – 30 ommatidia) and the ergatoid males have small eyes (7 – 8 ommatidia), reduced mandibles and 13-segmented antennae. The polymorphism of both the female and male sexes, and the reproductive biology of eduardi  HNS  , have been documented by Le Masne (1956). He referred to worker-queen intercastes as major workers, following Forel (1894), and also noted the presence of a less numerous caste intermediate between workers and intercastes that he termed media workers. The relationship of eduardi  HNS  with the Japanese H. nubatama  HNS  Terayama & Hashimoto (1996) should be investigated as the description and figures of the latter, and the forms of its various castes, are very reminiscent of eduardi  HNS  . Mating behaviour in nubatama  HNS  has been discussed by Yamauchi, et al. (2001).

H. eduardi  HNS  is related to punctatissima  HNS  but the workers and intercastes are immediately separated by their mesopleural sculpture, separate ranges of SI and DPeI, and the presence of an elongate, longitudinal, slightly impressed mid-dorsal line on the head of punctatissima  HNS  . The mesopleuron is completely covered with fine sculpture in eduardi  HNS  but is smooth in punctatissima  HNS  . Also, the punctate sculpture of the propodeal dorsum in eduardi  HNS  workers is generally somewhat coarser and more dense than that on the pronotal dorsum, whereas in punctatissima  HNS  the punctures of the propodeal dorsum are almost effaced. In addition to sculpture and cephalic groove, eduardi  HNS  workers have longer scapes and the petiole node in dorsal view is broader. Compare the indices above with punctatissima SI 75 – 84, SL/HL 0.62 – 0.70, DPeI 140 – 165. For comments on other related species within the group see under nivariana  HNS  , punctatissima  HNS  and ragusai  HNS  .

The ergatoid males of punctatissima  HNS  and eduardi  HNS  are very easily distinguished as in punctatissima  HNS  the head and mandibles are worker-like in shape and the antennae are 12-segmented, with the scape relatively short compared to the worker (SI ca 60 – 72) but relatively very long for a ponerine male. Ergatoid males of eduardi  HNS  , on the other hand, have a head that is not worker-like, reduced mandibles and 13-segmented antennae, with the scape extremely short, SI ca 25 – 30.

Finally, while discussing the New Zealand fauna, Brown (1958), commented that opacior  HNS  (Forel, 1893) was, “ difficult if not impossible to separate from eduardi  HNS  in the worker and female castes, ” and went on to speculate about the synonymy of the two names. Syntypes of opacior  HNS  (in MHNG) were examined in the course of this study and directly compared to those of eduardi  HNS  . It was concluded that, though related, eduardi  HNS  and opacior  HNS  represent quite different species. In particular, the syntype workers of opacior  HNS  differ from eduardi  HNS  as follows.

1 In opacior  HNS  the mesopleuron is much less densely sculptured, with weak punctulae that are densest on the uppermost and lowermost parts of the sclerite, but almost effaced medially except along the posterior margin; in eduardi  HNS  sculpture of the mesopleuron is universal and there are no unsculptured areas.

2 In opacior  HNS  the propodeal dorsum is more or less smooth, with almost effaced vestiges of sculpture only; in eduardi  HNS  the propodeal dorsum is minutely reticulate-punctate.

3 In opacior  HNS  the metanotal groove is represented only by a faint vestige across the dorsal mesosoma; in eduardi  HNS  it is conspicuous and much more strongly developed.

4 In opacior  HNS  the mesonotal-mesopleural suture is distinct; in eduardi  HNS  it is only very weakly present at best, and often is absent.

5 In opacior  HNS  the maximum width of the first gastral tergite in dorsal view is equal to or slightly greater than the width of the second tergite at its midlength; in eduardi  HNS  the maximum width of the first gastral tergite in dorsal view is less than the width of the second tergite at its midlength.

6 In opacior  HNS  the petiole has LPeI 34 – 37, DPeI 188 – 213; in eduardi  HNS  LPeI 39 – 47, DPeI 167 – 188.

H. opacior  HNS  is apparently widely distributed in the New World (e.g. Kempf, 1972; Smith, D.R., 1979). No specimens attributable to opacior  HNS  have been seen in this study from the Afrotropical or West Palaearctic regions. However , an examination of the syntypes of opaciceps chilensis  HNS  (MHNG) revealed that they were indistinguishable from the syntypes of eduardi  HNS  in any way, and therefore the name chilensis  HNS  has been transferred from the synonymy of opaciceps  HNS  to the synonymy of eduardi  HNS  . The establishment of this identity indicates that the tramping ability of eduardi  HNS  extends to the New World.

Material examined. Spain: Murcia, no loc. (H. Franz). Gibraltar: (J.J. Walker). Portugal: Porto, Leca de Palmeira (Abraham & Horacsek). Italy: Imperia, Ospedaletti (H. Donisthorpe); Naples (coll. F. Smith); Sardinia, Isolotto (coll. Poldi); Sicily, Lago Il Biviere, sud-est di Gela (G . M a r i a n a ); Sicily, Palermo (H. Donisthorpe). Greece: Beotie, Thèbe, lac Iliki (A. Senglet); Rhodes (Cl. Besuchet); Rhodes, Petaloudes (Cl. Besuchet); Cyprus, Stroumbi (Cl. Besuchet). Turkey: Antakya, Hanbiye (Besuchet & Löbl); Istanbul (Fiaccadori); S. Coastlands, Harbiye(C. Kosswig). Iran: loc. illegible (Senglet). Morocco: Oulmès env. (J. Kalab). Algeria: Oran, Forêt de Msila (A. Forel); Gde Kabylie, Djebel Bou-Berak (Besuchet, Löbl & Burckhardt). Azores Is: Ponta Delgada (A. Schatzmayr ). Cape Verde Is: Nicolau, Mte Gordo (Lindberg) Madeira I.: Palheira (E. Schmitz); Jardim da Serra (S. Vit); no loc. (Wo l l a s t o n ). Canary Is: Tenerife, Anaga, Pico del Inglés (R. Sciaky). Comoros: Moheli, Ouallah (Fisher, et al.). Réunion I.: Cirque de Salazie, S Piton d’Enchaing (Zoia & Polesi); Mare Longue (Fisher, et al.); Maido (Fisher, et al.); Les Makes (Fisher, et al.); Grande Chaloupe (Fisher, et al.); Circe de Mafate (Fisher, et al.). Mauritius : Brise Mt, Bambous (Fisher, et al.); Ile aux Aigrettes (Fisher, et al.); Cocotte Mt (Fisher, et al.); Le Pouce Mt, Moka Range (Fisher, et al.). Seychelles: Silhouette I., Jardin Marron (J. Gerlach); Silhouette I., Corgot-Cocos Marron Ridge (J. Gerlach); Mahé, Roche Caiman (J. Gerlach). South Africa: Cape Prov., Knysna (H. Brauns); W. Cape Prov., Table Mtn, Newlands Forest (H.J. Ratsirarson); W. Cape Prov., Table Mtn, Orange Kloof N.R. (B.L. Fisher); Cape of Good Hope, Platboombaai (S. Zoia). New Zealand: MC Christchurch, Halswell (P.M . H a m - mond). Chile: Valparaiso (H.-G. Brameld).