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Euponera sikorae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Odontomachus genus group
Genus: Euponera
Forel, 1891
Type species
Ponera (Euponera) sikorae, now Euponera sikorae
26 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Pachycondyla sikorae casent0063893 profile 1.jpg

Pachycondyla sikorae casent0063893 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

A moderately sized genus with 26 species, Euponera occurs in the Afrotropics, Madagascar and eastern Asia. Its habits are poorly known.



Euponera species fall into two groups, the first, related to Euponera sikorae, can be diagnosed by the presence of a shiny integument, basal mandibular pits, cordate frontal lobes, divided mesopleuron, deep metanotal groove, and strong gastral constriction. This combination of characters does not occur in any other ponerine genus. The second set of species, which includes Euponera sjostedti, can be separated from others by the presence of basal mandibular pits, obsolete metanotal groove, elongate or slit-shaped propodeal spiracle, simple subpetiolar process without an anterior fenestra and a prora on anterior margin of first gastral sternite. A shiny integument occurs in some other ponerines, but is absent in most large species. Basal mandibular pits occur in most species of Brachyponera and Cryptopone. Cordate frontal lobes occur in most members of the Plectroctena group as well as in Bothroponera (s.s.). A divided mesopleuron and deep metanotal groove occur in combination only in some Brachyponera, Hagensia (in which the mesopleuron is only partially divided), and in Mesoponera subiridescens. Euponera superficially most closely resembles Bothroponera (s.s.) and Pseudoponera, but differs in the presence of basal mandibular pits. Some Euponera species are also similar to Cryptopone, but these differ in having eyes and lacking mesotibial traction setae. They are also similar to Mesoponera but are generally smaller in body size with smaller eyes, larger frontal lobes, a wider head and have shorter mandibles. (Schmidt and Shattuck 2014)

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Euponera occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar and India eastward to Korea and Japan and south through the Philippines to Indonesia.

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 7 0 3 14 0 0 2 3
Total Species 2840 1735 3042 932 835 4378 1740 2862


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Collections of Euponera sikorae have come from rainforest habitats, but nothing else is known about its ecology or behavior. Terayama (1999) reported that Euponera sakishimensis nests in soil and that workers forage on the ground, and K. Masuko observed very small colony sizes (4–11 workers) in Euponera pilosior (pers. comm. in Peeters, 1993). Villet (1994) studied the colony demographics and reproductive strategy of Euponera fossigera. This species is a generalist predator, forms small colonies (up to 50 workers), and nests in soil, leaf litter, or rotting wood. Reproduction is performed by a single ergatoid.

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 4-50 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: predator (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)



Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Large (TL 6–10.5 mm) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles triangular, with numerous teeth and a basal pit . Anterior clypeal margin convex or medially emarginate. Frontal lobes moderatel large to large, cordate and closely approximated for most of their length (less close in the Euponera wroughtonii group). Eyes small (3-4 facets in diameter) to moderate in size, located just anterior of head midline (in Euponera sikorae) or anteriorly on sides of head (in most species). Mesopleuron sometimes divided by a transverse groove. Metanotal groove varying from little more than a suture to deeply impressed. Metapleural gland orifice opening laterally in the E. wroughtonii group. Propodeal spiracle slit-shaped. Metatibial spur formula (1s, 1p). Petiole with a cuboidal node in most species but scale-like in a few. Girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4 apparent. Head and body varying from shiny and sparsely punctate, with sparse pilosity and pubescence to finely punctate and with abundant pilosity and scattered to dense pubescence. Color variable, ferrugineous to black.


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Winged but otherwise similar to workers (Rakotonirina & Fisher, 2013).


Worker Morphology

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 • Eyes: 11-100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present



Platythyrea  (40 species, 6 fossil species)

Pachycondyla group
⊞(show genera)
Ponera group
⊞(show genera)

Harpegnathos  (13 species, 0 fossil species)

Hypoponera  (177 species, 1 fossil species)

Plectroctena group
⊞(show genera)
Odontomachus group
⊞(show taxa)

See Phylogeny of Ponerinae for details.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • EUPONERA [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Euponera Forel, 1891b: 126 [as subgenus of Ponera]. Type-species: Ponera (Euponera) sikorae, by monotypy.
    • Euponera raised to genus: Emery, 1901a: 46.
    • Euponera junior synonym of Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1994: 164.
    • Euponera revived from synonymy: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 83.