Hypoponera pulchra 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: 85-86

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Hypoponera pulchra Bolton & Fisher

sp. n.

Hypoponera pulchra Bolton & Fisher  HNS  sp. n.

HOLOTYPE WORKER. Measurements: HL 0.64, HW 0.51, HS 0.575, SL 0.44, PrW 0.38, WL 0.83, HFL 0.44, PeNL 0.17, PeH 0.38, PeNW 0.25, PeS 0.267. Indices: CI 80, SI 86, PeNI 66, LPeI 45, DPeI 147.

Eyes absent. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view (by a distance ca 0.04); SL/HL 0.69. Funiculus distinctly with 5 enlarging apical segments. Dorsum of head finely and densely reticulate-punctate; lateroventral surfaces of head with minute scattered punctures and pronotal dorsum with inconspicuous punctulae, almost smooth. Metanotal groove entirely absent from dorsum of mesosoma, without any trace of its former path. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent from side of mesosoma. Propodeal declivity separated from sides by narrowly angular margins; without acutely raised laminae. Posterior surface of petiole node without short cuticular ridges that radiate from just above the peduncle. Node of petiole in profile fairly tall and slender (LPeI 45), the anterior and posterior faces almost parallel for most of their height (i.e. PeNL 0.17, node length immediately below dorsal curvature 0.16, length at commencement of dorsal curvature 0.14); dorsal surface is shallowly convex, with the posterodorsal angle longer and distinctly more broadly rounded than the anterodorsal. Subpetiolar process in profile with a recurved, descending anterior face that terminates in a distinct ventral angle. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view is only fractionally less than width of second gastral tergite at its midlength (0.44, 0.45 respectively). Sides of second gastral tergite shallowly convex in dorsal view. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is less than the maximum width of the segment (0.43, 0.45). Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral segment short and closely packed, delicate and fine. Sculpture on disc of second gastral tergite of spaced small punctures, more widely spaced than is usual in section 1 of the abeillei  HNS  group but not as widely separated as is usual in species of section 2. First and second gastral tergites dorsally pubescent and with a few short standing setae that project just above the level of the pubescence. Full adult colour dull yellow.

Holotype worker. Equatorial Guinea: Bioko I. ( “ Spanisch Guinea, Fernando Poo ” on label), 16.i.1940 ( Schlüter) (NHMB). As well as these data, the pin bears a Menozzi determination label “ Ponera coeca  HNS  ” and a handwritten label in red “ bermanni n.sp. ”, on the reverse of which is now written “ cleaned/remounted, B. Bolton, ix.2010 ”. The name bermanni was never used and has no taxonomic status.

At first glance this species resembles a large specimen of coeca  HNS  , but its head is much larger, HW 0.51 and HS 0.575, as opposed to HW 0.42 or less and HS 0.465 or less in coeca  HNS  . Also, the petiole node in profile has anterior and posterior faces that are almost parallel, rather than faces that obviously converge dorsally as in coeca  HNS  and its immediate allies. In the key, the LPeI 45 places pulchra  HNS  neatly between the species related to fatiga  HNS  (LPeI 37 – 44) and those related to coeca  HNS  and its allies (LPeI 46 – 70). Because only a single specimen of pulchra  HNS  is known its range of LPeI cannot be guessed. The species has therefore been keyed through both lugs of the appropriate couplet . On the fatiga  HNS  side of the couplet pulchra  HNS  most closely resembles fatiga  HNS  itself, but the latter is darker in colour, distinctly smaller (HW 0.40 or less, SL 0.33 or less, PeH 0.32 or less, PeS 0.227 or less) and has a higher DPeI (155 – 180).