Hypoponera jeanneli (Santschi),

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: 62-64

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Hypoponera jeanneli (Santschi)


Hypoponera jeanneli (Santschi)  HNS 

(Figs 61 – 63)

Ponera jeanneli Santschi  HNS  , 1935: 262, fig. 3c-e. Syntype worker, KENYA: Camp 1 de l’Elgon, M. Elgon, Vers. Est, st. 13, 2100 m, C. Arambourg 1932-33 (Chappuis & Jeannel) (NHMB) [examined]. [Combination in Ponera (Hypoponera)  HNS  : Santschi, 1938: 79; in Hypoponera  HNS  : Bolton, 1995: 215.]

Ponera (Hypoponera) jeannebi  HNS  [sic] st. abyssinica Santschi  HNS  , 1938: 80, fig. 2. Syntype worker and queen, ETHIOPIA: Scoia, Let Marefia, vii.87 (Ragazzi) (NHMB) [queen examined]. Syn. n. (provisional). [Unresolved junior primary homonym of

Ponera abyssinica Guerin-Meneville  HNS  , 1849: 352 (currently in Pachycondyla  HNS  ). Raised to species: Bernard, 1953: 205. Combination in Hypoponera  HNS  : Bolton, 1995: 215.] (See note 1.)

Ponera coarctata subsp. imatongica Weber  HNS  , 1942: 44, fig. 3. Syntype workers, SUDAN: Imatong Mts, Equatoria, 24.vii. - 5.viii.1939, 6100 - 6200 ft, nos. 1387, 1390 (N.A. Weber) (MCZC) [examined]. Syn. n. [Combination in Hypoponera  HNS  and raised to species: Taylor, 1967: 12.] (See note 2.)


1 From Santschi’s original description the impression is gained that abyssinica  HNS  is intermediate between jeanneli and ursa  HNS  , but closer to the former. The single worker was very briefly and inadequately described and is not now present in NHMB. The queen has antennal funiculus segments 7 – 10 relatively narrow, decidedly more reminiscent of jeanneli  HNS  than of ursa  HNS  , but unfortunately the queen of the former is not known, so direct comparison is not possible. When Bernard (1953) elevated abyssinica  HNS  to species-rank he said he had examined the types in the Santschi collection, and his notes suggest that the worker syntype was in the collection at that time. For the present, abyssinica  HNS  is best regarded as a provisional synonym of jeanneli  HNS  , until there is much better representation of the taxa involved and the situation can be re-examined.

2 Weber’s original description is astonishing in its failure to include a single character useful for species diagnosis and gives no comparative notes. It is safe to say that in the absence of type-material this taxon would be utterly unidentifiable. Another specimen labelled as a syntype of imatongica  HNS  is present in MCZC, with the data given above but number 1419 and with the locality Issore written on the underside of the label. This was not mentioned by Weber in the original description and hence is excluded from the type-series; it is conspecific with the syntypes. A third syntype specimen mentioned by Weber, with the same data but number 1313, was not seen. Clearly, imatongica  HNS  bears no relation to coarctata  HNS  (type-species of Ponera  HNS  ), the species with which it was originally associated.

WORKER. Measurements: HL 0.58 – 0.64, HW 0.46 – 0.52, HS 0.525 – 0.580, SL 0.40 – 0.45, PrW 0.34 – 0.40, WL 0.75 – 0.85, HFL 0.39 – 0.44, PeNL 0.16 – 0.19, PeH 0.34 – 0.40, PeNW 0.24 – 0.28, PeS 0.237 – 0.283 (39 measured). Indices: CI 77 – 85, SI 82 – 88, PeNI 65 – 74, LPeI 43 – 50, DPeI 137 – 165.

Eyes usually absent but rarely an eye spot or vestigial ommatidium is discernible. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach, or just touches, the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; SL/HL 0.66 – 0.72. Cephalic dorsum reticulate-punctate. Pronotal dorsum almost smooth, obviously much less strongly and densely sculptured than cephalic dorsum. Metanotal groove absent from dorsum of mesosoma or at most a very superficial and indistinct indentation present that is almost effaced. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent from side of mesosoma. Propodeum weakly marginate between declivity and side. Posterior surface of petiole node with a series of very short cuticular ridges that radiate upward from the peduncle. Node of petiole in profile with the anterior and posterior faces weakly convergent dorsally. 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 subequal to width of second gastral tergite at its midlength. 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 equal to, or very slightly less than, the width of the segment at its midlength. Disc of second gastral tergite with sharply incised, small punctures that are 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 and with a number of short standing setae that project above the level of the pubescence.

Among the Afrotropical species of Hypoponera  HNS  , eleven are defined by the following combination of three characters in the worker: sharply defined metanotal groove absent; posterior face of petiole node with short cuticular ridges above the peduncle; base of cinctus with cross-ribs. Of these, tecta  HNS  has a sharp, triangular denticle that overhangs the midpoint of the anterior clypeal margin in full-face view. H. exigua  HNS  and traegaordhi  HNS  have a transverse dark rim above the cuticular ridges on the posterior petiole, and the ridges lie within a shallow groove whose upper margin is the rim. H. faex  HNS  is a large species (HL 0.88, HW 0.72) with a conspicuously developed eye. H. faex  HNS  and hebes  HNS  both have very coarse sculpture on the lateroventral surfaces of the head and also on most of the pronotum . H. surda  HNS  has sparse, widely spaced small punctures on the disc of the second gastral tergite. The remaining five species, mixta  HNS  , jeanneli  HNS  , jocosa  HNS  , quaestio  HNS  and ursa  HNS  , form a closely related complex in which the eye is usually absent, the pronotal sculpture is markedly less dense and intense than that on the head, and the punctures on the disc of the second gastral tergite are larger and more closely packed than in surda  HNS  . H. jocosa  HNS  is isolated by its tall, slender petiole node and relatively short scapes, as discussed below. H. mixta  HNS  is closely related and very similar to jeanneli  HNS  and ursa  HNS  , but is larger, has a more parallel-sided second gastral tergite and has a relatively slightly longer scape, SI 87 – 93 as opposed to 82 – 88 in the other two. The separation of jeanneli  HNS  and ursa  HNS  is currently unsatisfactory , as discussed under the latter name.

H. jeanneli  HNS  seems quite widely distributed in eastern Africa, usually at altitude. The record from Mt Cameroon appears anomalous, but the specimens, collected at an altitude of 1440 m., match their more eastern counterparts except for being slightly larger (HW 0.52 – 0.54, SL 0.43 – 0.46); all indices fall within the ranges noted above.

Material examined. Cameroun: Prov. Sud-Ouest, Mt Cameroon, Mapanja (B.L. Fisher). Ethiopia: Scoia, Let Marefia (Ragazzi). Sudan: Imatong Mts, Equatoria (N.A. Weber). Uganda: Ruwenzori, above Kilembe (Cuccodoro& Erne); Mt Elgon, Kapkwata (Cuccodoro & Erne). Kenya: Mt Elgon (Chappuis & Jeannel); Nakuru, Lake Naivasha (V. Mahnert); Nakuru, Lake Naivasha (Mahnert & Perret); Lake Nakuru Nat. Pk (V. M a h n e r t); Nakuru, Lk. Naivasha, Mundui Estate (Mahnert & Perret); Embu, Irangi For. Sta. (Mahnert & Perret); Kiambu distr., nr Limuru (Mahnert & Perret); Nairobi (V. Mahnert); Mau For., between Mau summit and Kedowa (V. Mahnert ); Embu, 10 km. W Ishiara (Mahnert & Perret); Western Prov., Kakamega For., Ikuywa (F. Hita Garcia); Ikuywa (S. Maurer). Rwanda: Rangiro (P. W e r n e r ). Ta n z a n i a : Kilimanjaro Reg., Kindoroko For. Res. (Hawkes, Makwati & Mtana); Morogoro Reg., Mamiwa-Kisara For. Res. (Hawkes, Makwati & Mtana), Zimbabwe: Umtali, Melsetter (R. Mussard).