Hypoponera lepida

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Hypoponera lepida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Hypoponera
Species: H. lepida
Binomial name
Hypoponera lepida
Bolton & Fisher, 2011

Hypoponera lepida P casent0218477.jpg

Hypoponera lepida D casent0218477.jpg

Specimen Label

Specimens have been collected from sifted rainforest leaf-litter.


Bolton and Fisher (2011) - Of all the species placed in section 1 of the abeillei group only two are known, H. lepida and Hypoponera obtunsa, that lack cross-ribs at the base of the cinctus of the second gastral (Abd. IV) tergite; the base of the cinctus is smooth and polished in both. The two species should not be confused, as lepida, apart from its distribution in West and Central Africa, has a larger petiole (PeS 0.220–0.270) that is distinctly higher and shorter, LPeI 38–47, PeH 0.32–0.39.

Also, the sternite of the petiole in lepida has a well-developed ventral process or lobe that has an obliquely descending anterior surface, an angulate to dentiform ventral angle and an ascending posterior surface immediately after the angle that is straight to concave; this structure is absent from obtunsa, where there is no ventral angle and no ascending posterior surface. Finally, lepida is a larger species with longer scapes, HL 0.53–0.58, SL 0.34–0.40, SI 81–91 and is brown to reddish brown in colour.

Keys including this Species


Known from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Central African Republic.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Central African Republic, Ghana (type locality), Ivory Coast, Nigeria.

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.


Known mostly from workers, a queen intercaste specimen has also been collected.


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

  • lepida. Hypoponera lepida Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 67, figs. 67-72 (w., ergatoid q.) GHANA.

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

The eye is variably developed in this species. In many individuals no trace of an eye can be detected, but sometimes a depigmented spot or small, inconspicuous, single ommatidium can be seen. At its weakest, this ommatidium is easily confused with the surrounding punctate sculpture. From this condition the ommatidium may become gradually slightly larger and more distinctly differentiated, until in some workers it is distinct and darkly coloured, though still only of a single small ommatidium. Degree of development appears to be size-related: in general the largest workers show the most distinct eyes. A single worker-queen intercaste is known, from Korup N.P., in Cameroun (CASC) that has eyes of 10–12 ommatidia.

Two specimens from Banco National Park, Ivory Coast (in MHNG) may represent a close sibling species. The upper specimen on the pin is badly damaged, with its head detached and mounted separately and its gaster missing; but the lower specimen is complete. This is slightly larger than the range given above, with HL 0.60, HW 0.48, SL 0.42, PrW 0.36, PeNL 0.20, PeH 0.42, PeNW 0.31, CI 80, SI 88, PeNI 86, LPeI 48, DPeI 155, and the sculpture on the second gastral tergite is somewhat more sparse and weaker than is usual in Hypoponera lepida, with individual punctures rather more isolated and better defined. Because only a single complete specimen is known, which is otherwise almost identical to lepida, it has not been described as a separate species here. The situation can be reviewed if more specimens are ever discovered. For the present lepida is defined by its lack of a metanotal groove, lack of cross-ribs in the cinctus of the second gastral tergite, and the second gastral tergite at least equal in width to the first and densely, superficially sculptured.



(holotype in parentheses). Measurements: HL 0.53–0.58 (0.53), HW 0.40–0.45 (0.41), HS 0.465–0.515 (0.470), SL 0.34–0.40 (0.36), PrW 0.30–0.40 (0.30), WL 0.66–0.77 (0.67), HFL 0.34–0.40 (0.36), PeNL 0.13–0.17 (0.14), PeH 0.32–0.39 (0.35), PeNW 0.20–0.27 (0.24), PeS 0.220–0.270 (0.243) (30 measured). Indices: CI 75–79 (77), SI 81–91 (88), PeNI 70–80 (80), LPeI 38–47 (40), DPeI 145–178 (171).

Eyes frequently absent but often a vestige of a single minute ommaditium may be present; more rarely a fairly distinct single, small ommatidium can be seen. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin in full-face view; SL/HL 0.64–0.70. Reticulate-punctate sculpture on cephalic dorsum fine and dense, the punctures crowded, small and sharply defined. Punctate sculpture on dorsum of mesosoma much less strongly defined, sparser and more superficial. Mesonotal-mesopleural suture absent. Metanotal groove entirely absent from dorsum. Sides of propodeal declivity bluntly marginate. Petiole node in dorsal view relatively narrow, with a convex anterior face and flat to feebly impressed posterior face. Petiole node in profile high and relatively short from front to back; slightly shorter at apex than immediately above level of anterior tubercle. Frequently, the anterior face of the petiole node in profile is very shallowly concave and the posterior face very slightly convex, so that the node has a slight forward curve. This feature is not universal and variation occurs within single series. Subpetiolar process with an obliquely descending anterior face, a ventral angle and a short, ascending posterior surface after the angle. Base of cinctus of second gastral tergite smooth and shining in dorsal view, without cross-ribs. Disc of second gastral tergite appearing microreticulate, the sculpture superficial, the punctures wide and shallow, with feebly raised rims that are more or less confluent to achieve the microreticulate appearance; without sharply incised widely separated punctures. Maximum width of first gastral tergite in dorsal view is subequal to, or slightly less than, the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Midline length of second gastral posttergite, from posterior margin of cinctus to apex, is usually slightly less than the maximum width of the segment. Full adult colour light brown to medium brown, the appendages lighter.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Ghana: Ashanti, Juaso, 8.ix.1992, leaf litter, cocoa (R. Belshaw) (The Natural History Museum).

Paratypes. 5 workers with same data as holotype (BMNH, California Academy of Sciences).


  • 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.