Hypoponera importuna

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hypoponera importuna
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Hypoponera
Species: H. importuna
Binomial name
Hypoponera importuna
Bolton & Fisher, 2011

Hypoponera importuna P casent0218464.jpg

Hypoponera importuna D casent0218464.jpg

Specimen Label

Collections have been made from rainforest leaf litter.


Bolton and Fisher (2011) - This species is very closely related to Hypoponera occidentalis. Their descriptions are very similar and most of their dimensions fall within the same ranges. However, the petiole node in importuna is usually strikingly transverse in dorsal view and averages broader both in relation to the width of the pronotum and to the length of the node. In occidentalis PeNI is 76–89 (mean value of 82), and DPeI is 150–180 (mean value of 165). By comparison, H. importuna has PeNI 85–95 (mean value of 91) and DPeI 182–200 (mean value of 190). Hypoponera comis also has a broad petiole, reminiscent of importuna, but the size and detailed structure of their petioles differ.

A member of the abeillei group.

Keys including this Species


Known from Central African Republic, Gabon, and Kenya.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Central African Republic, Gabon (type locality), Kenya.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Hypoponera inhabit and nest in leaf litter, the surface layer of soil, downed rotten wood, and soil around plant roots. Nests are typically found by turning objects on the ground, like downed wood and rocks, or through the ripping away of bark found on rotting downed wood or at the base of dead trees. Litter samples in tropical areas, especially in moist forested sites, often contain individuals of this genus. All Hypoponera are thought to be predators of small arthropods but published details about their diet are sparse. A lack of information about other aspects of their biology is also typical for most species.

The genus is most diverse in the tropics. Species found in higher latitudes tend to be more widespread, common and abundant than their tropical and subtropical congeners.



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

  • importuna. Hypoponera importuna Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 59, figs. 55-57 (w.,ergatoid q.,q.) GABON.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

The paratype intercaste has about 12 ommatidia in the eye compared to the holotype, where the eye is a mere spot, and to a genuine queen where the eye has > 50 ommatidia. Also, the intercaste has PeNI 100 (holotype 87, paratype queen 88), and maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view 0.64 (holotype 0.59, paratype queen 0.64). The dealate queen has a full complement of flight sclerites, not developed in the intercaste.

Two Kenyan specimens from Bunyangu Nature Reserve (ZFMK, details below) are intercastes. One of them has eyes with 7–8 ommatidia but the other is odd, because the right eye is minute while the left is much larger and consists of an indeterminate number of fused ommatidia.



Measurements: HL 0.66–0.72 (0.68), HW 0.52–0.58 (0.55), HS 0.590–0.650 (0.615), SL 0.48–0.52 (0.52), PrW 0.42–0.46 (0.46), WL 0.94–1.02 (0.96), HFL 0.52–0.58 (0.55), PeNL 0.20–0.22 (0.22), PeH 0.48–0.53 (0.49), PeNW 0.38–0.41 (0.40), PeS 0.360–0.383 (0.370) (14 measured). Indices: CI 79–83 (81), SI 86–96 (95), PeNI 85–95 (87), LPeI 40–46 (45), DPeI 182–200 (182).

Eyes absent or a small and inconspicuous eye spot present that is often difficult to see against the punctate side of the head. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; SL/HL 0.70–0.76. Cephalic dorsum sharply reticulate-punctate. Pronotal dorsum almost smooth, with spaced, minute, superficial punctures, obviously much less strongly and densely sculptured than cephalic dorsum. Metanotal groove absent from dorsum of mesosoma. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture feebly present on side of mesosoma. Propodeum distinctly marginate between declivity and side. Posterior surface of petiole node without short cuticular ridges that radiate upward from the peduncle. Node of petiole in profile tall and relatively thick, the dorsum weakly convex. Subpetiolar process with a distinct ventral angle. Petiole node in dorsal view very broad. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view distinctly greater than the width of the second gastral tergite at its midlength. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite glossy and polished, without trace of cross-ribs. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is less than the width of the segment at its midlength. Disc of second gastral tergite with sharply incised, small punctures that are widely separated by areas of glossy cuticle; the diameters of the punctures are distinctly less than the distances that separate them. First and second gastral tergites dorsally pubescent and with a number of short standing setae that conspicuously project above the level of the pubescence in profile. Full adult colour dark reddish brown.

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype worker, Gabon: Prov. Ogooue-Maritime, Res. Monts Doudou, 24.3 km. 307° NW Doussala, 2°13.4’S, 10°24.4’E, 375 m., 9.iii.2000, #2200(48)-6, sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood) rainforest (B.L. Fisher) (California Academy of Sciences).

Paratypes. 8 workers (of which one is teneral and lacking its head), 1 worker-queen intercaste (teneral) and 3 dealate queens, with same data as holotype and all in series #2200; individual pins coded (10)-5, (11)-7 (queen), (11)-8, (13)-4 (queen), (14)-8, (15)-13, (23)-4, (45)-4 (worker and queen on one pin), (45)-6 (intercaste), (47)-4, (49)-4 (CASC, The Natural History Museum).


  • Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2011. Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi. Zootaxa 2843: 1-118. PDF

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton B. and B. L. Fisher. 2011. Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2843: 1-118
  • Bolton, B., and B. L. Fisher. "Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)." Zootaxa 2843 (2012): 1-118.
  • Garcia F.H., Wiesel E. and Fischer G. 2013.The Ants of Kenya (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)—Faunal Overview, First Species Checklist, Bibliography, Accounts for All Genera, and Discussion on Taxonomy and Zoogeography. Journal of East African Natural History, 101(2): 127-222
  • Ross S. R. P. J., F. Hita Garcia, G. Fischer, and M. K. Peters. 2018. Selective logging intensity in an East African rain forest predicts reductions in ant diversity. Biotropica 1-11.