Hypoponera quaestio 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: 93-94

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Hypoponera quaestio Bolton & Fisher


Hypoponera quaestio Bolton & Fisher  HNS  sp.n.

(Figs 103 – 105)

HOLOTYPE WORKER. Measurements: HL 0.63, HW 0.52, HS 0.575, SL 0.44, PrW 0.41, WL 0.84, HFL 0.44, PeNL 0.18, PeH 0.42, PeNW 0.31, PeS 0.303. Indices: CI 83, SI 85, PeNI 76, LPeI 43, DPeI 172.

Eyes minutely present, each appearing to consist of one slightly larger and two very small ommatidia. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; SL/HL 0.70. Cephalic dorsum densely reticulate-punctate. Pronotal dorsum superficially but quite densely punctate except for midline which is smooth; pronotum obviously much less strongly and densely sculptured than cephalic dorsum. Metanotal groove absent from dorsum of mesosoma but with a slight change of slope between mesonotum and propodeum. Propodeum weakly marginate between declivity and side. Posterior surface of petiole node with a series of about 8 – 9 very short cuticular ridges that radiate upward from the peduncle. The outer ridge on each side is visible in profile as a short, vertical carina that ascends the posterolateral edge of the node above its base. Node of petiole in profile with the anterior and posterior faces approximately parallel. Subpetiolar process with a ventral angle. In dorsal view petiole node with posterior face transverse; sides and anterior face form a single convex surface, but not thickly D-shaped. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view (ca 0.48) subequal to width of second gastral tergite at its midlength (ca 0.47). Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral tergite strongly developed and conspicuous. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is less than the width of the segment at its midlength. Disc of second gastral tergite with sharply incised punctures that are quite close-packed but separated by areas of glossy cuticle; the diameters of the punctures are equal to, or slightly less than, the distances that separate the punctures. First and second gastral tergites dorsally pubescent but without standing setae that project above the level of the pubescence. Colour brown.

Holotype worker, Tan z a nia : Kilimanjaro Region, Kindoroko Forest Reserve, 1739 m., 5-8.ix.2005, 3.74520S, 37.64267E, CEPF-TZ-5.2-F03, primary forest leaf litter, Winkler (P. Hawkes, J. Makwati, R. Mtana) (SAMC).

Described here from a single specimen, quaestio  HNS  is extremely close to jeanneli  HNS  and may eventually prove to represent an extreme variant of that species. However, the holotype is darker in colour than any jeanneli  HNS  examined and appears to lack distinct setae on the first and second gastral tergites except at the posterior margin of each segment . In profile, short, slightly elevated pubescence is conspicuous on both tergites but the one or two minute standing components appear to be pubescent hairs that are slightly more elevated, not distinct setae. In dorsal view the sides of the second tergite of quaestio  HNS  lack projecting setae. Conversely, in unabraded specimens of jeanneli  HNS  , the first and second tergites, in profile, show a number of short, standing setae that are distributed over each sclerite that are distinct from the pubescence, and similar projecting setae occur on the sides of the second tergite in dorsal view. Most measurements and indices of quaestio  HNS  fall within the range of jeanneli  HNS  , but its petiole is slightly higher in profile and broader in dorsal view, which results in slightly higher values of PeS, PeNI and DPeI.