Hypoponera austra 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: 27-29

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Hypoponera austra Bolton & Fisher

sp. n.

Hypoponera austra Bolton & Fisher  HNS  sp. n.

(Figs 7 – 9)

WORKER (holotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.59 – 0.63 (0.62), HW 0.46 – 0.50 (0.48), HS 0.525 – 0.560 (0.550), SL 0.38 – 0.42 (0.40), PrW 0.36 – 0.38 (0.36), WL 0.77 – 0.88 (0.86), HFL 0.38 – 0.44 (0.42), PeNL 0.18 – 0.20 (0.20), PeH 0.34 – 0.37 (0.36), PeNW 0.26 – 0.28 (0.28), PeS 0.260 – 0.280 (0.280) (12 measured). Indices: CI 75 – 79 (77), SI 80 – 84 (83), PeNI 69 – 78 (78), LPeI 47 – 56 (56), DPeI 137 – 150 (140).

Eyes vestigial to absent, sometimes with a small depigmented spot that appears to be the remnant of a single ommatidium; sometimes no trace of an eye spot. In full-face view apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin; SL/HL 0.63 – 0.67. Reticulate-punctulate sculpture of cephalic dorsum fine, but head more densely sculptured than pronotal dorsum. Lateroventral surfaces of head with extremely feeble superficial punctate sculpture, the surfaces almost smooth. With mesosoma in dorsal view the metanotal groove absent. Propodeal declivity separated from sides by blunt angles or weak marginations. Mesopleuron smooth and shining. Petiole in profile with the node relatively short and of moderate height, the anterior and posterior faces parallel or at most only extremely feebly convergent dorsally; dorsal surface shallowly broadly convex. Subpetiolar process shallow, usually with a low, blunt ventral angle. Posterior surface of petiole node with a shallow transverse groove or impression above the peduncle, the upper margin of the impression appears as a transverse dark line or ridge in posterodorsal view. Without cuticular ridges that radiate upwards into the impression from the posterior peduncle. 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 with short but conspicuous cross-ribs. Posttergite of second gastral segment, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, distinctly broader than long. Disc of second gastral tergite shallowly reticulate-punctate to microreticulate. With first gastral segment in profile, the dorsum with sparse, short, standing setae. Full adult colour yellowish brown to light brown.

Holotype worker, South Africa: W. Cape Prov., Table Mtn , Orange Kloof N.R. , 34°00.1 ’ S, 18°23.5 ’ E, 125 m., 15.xii.1997, sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), montane rainforest, #1542(18)-1 (B.L. Fisher) ( CASC).GoogleMaps  Paratypes. 12 workers and 1 dealate queen with same data as holotype, all #1542 but coded (2)-3, (5)-1, (6)-3, (8)- 2, (10)-6, (14)-3, (15)-1, (17)-1 (queen), (19)-1, (20)-5, (LO)-6 ( CASC, BMNH)GoogleMaps  .

See notes under natalensis  HNS  . Two examples of worker-queen intercastes have been seen in austra  HNS  . The specimens(Table Mtn and Knysna, in CASC) are very worker-like but have partially depigmented distinct eyes of about 7 – 10 ommatidia, much larger and much more obvious than in true workers. A single specimen from Newlands Forest( CASC) has a strangely thickened petiole, with LPeI 60, DPeI 119. Other specimens from the same series are quite ordinary and one is mounted on the same pin as the oddity. Whether this is teratological, or is some kind of intercaste, or perhaps represents a socially parasitic form (unlikely) is not known.

Non-paratypic material examined. South Africa: W. Cape Prov., Table Mtn, Orange Kloof (B.L. Fisher) (series other than type-series); Table Mtn, Newlands Forest (H.J. Ratsirarson); W. Cape Prov., ENE Knysna, Diepwalle(B.L. Fisher), W. Cape, Leopard’s Gorge, Kogelberg Nat. Res. (P.S . W a r d ); Cape Prov., Tsitsikamma N.P., Bloukran Pass (S.Zoia).


USA, California, San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences


United Kingdom, London, The Natural History Museum [formerly British Museum (Natural History)]