|Alliance:||Odontomachus genus group|
Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014
|Ponera amblyops, now Buniapone amblyops|
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)
Buniapone is restricted to Southern and Southeast Asia. Very little is known about its habits.
Buniapone is a morphologically distinctive genus and its workers are readily identified by the following combination of characters: long and narrow toothed mandibles, blunt medial clypeal projection, greatly reduced eyes, obsolete metanotal groove, ovoid propodeal spiracles, complex metapleural gland orifice, and squamiform petiole. Superficially, Buniapone most closely resembles Centromyrmex, Promyopias, and certain Neotropical Cryptopone species, but Buniapone has eyes, lacks the anterolateral position of the metapleural gland orifice of Centromyrmex, lacks the linear mandibles of Promyopias, and lacks the small closely approximated frontal lobes and circular propodeal spiracles of Cryptopone. Though Buniapone shares several apomorphies with its sister genus Paltothyreus, they are superficially very different and unlikely to be confused. Myopias also has a blunt medial clypeal projection, but it is much more pronounced than in Buniapone, and Myopias lacks the other characters diagnostic of Buniapone. (Schmidt and Shattuck 2014)
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Keys including this Genus
Buniapone is restricted to Southern and Southeast Asia, ranging from southern China to the islands of southern Indonesia and as far west as India.
Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps
Virtually nothing is known about the habits of Buniapone, other than that they are hypogeic. They are presumably predatory, though their prey preferences are unknown. One of us (CS) observed large numbers of Buniapone amblyops workers congregated at a palm oil bait sunk into the ground, suggesting that they are not strictly carnivorous and that they may employ some kind of nestmate recruitment to food sources, like their sister genus Paltothyreus. (Schmidt and Shattuck 2014)
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- BUNIAPONE [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
- Buniapone Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 81. Type-species: Ponera amblyops, by original designation.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Medium-sized (TL 5.5–6.5 mm; Emery, 1887) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles long and narrow, with seven prominent teeth on the masticatory margin, a short basal margin, and a basal groove. Anterior clypeal margin forming a narrow blunt medial projection. Frontal lobes moderately large. Eyes very small (with about four ommatidia), located anterior of head midline. Metanotal groove obsolete. Propodeum narrowed dorsally. Propodeal spiracles ovoid. Metapleural gland orifice opening posterolaterally, with anterior and posterior cuticular flanges. Mesotibae and meso-/metabasitarsi with stout traction setae. Metatibial spur formula (1s, 1p). Petiole squamiform. Helcium projecting from near midheight of anterior face of A3. Girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4 apparent. Head, gaster and mesosomal dorsum punctate, the sides of the mesosoma longitudinally striate. Head and body with scattered pilosity and a dense pubescence. Color orange.
Similar to worker, but larger (TL 9.25 mm; Emery, 1889) and winged.
Buniapone is named after the Orang Bunian, a race of invisible forest beings in the traditional folklore of Malaysia (where the genus is common), reflecting the hypogeic sylvan habits of these ants. The suffix -pone is derived from the subfamily name Ponerinae.