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Loboponera vigilans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Plectroctena genus group
Genus: Loboponera
Bolton & Brown, 2002
Type species
Loboponera vigilans
9 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Loboponera vigilans casent0102329 profile 1.jpg

Loboponera vigilans

Loboponera vigilans casent0102329 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Loboponera is a small (nine described species) Afrotropical genus. They are cryptic nesters and foragers, but nothing else is known about their habits.


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Loboponera workers are readily identified by their huge frontal lobes, cuticular flanges at the posteroventral corners of the head, obsolete metanotal groove, broad propodeum, dorsal longitudinal grooves on the meso- and metafemora, and strongly arched tergite A4. Loboponera is most similar to Plectroctena, Boloponera, Psalidomyrmex, Feroponera, and some Bothroponera, but none of these other genera have posteroventral flanges on the head or a strongly vaulted gaster. Plectroctena has dorsal grooves on its meso- and metafemora, and Boloponera also has grooves on its metafemora (this is undoubtedly a synapomorphy of these three genera), but these genera both have linear mandibles, in contrast to Loboponera’s more triangular mandibles. Bothroponera has two metatibial spurs, among many other differences. Feroponera and Loboponera both have a pair of teeth on the anterior clypeal margin, but Feroponera has stout traction setae on its mesotibiae and meso-/metabasitarsi, and lacks eyes.

Bolton and Brown (2002) arranged this small genus into three species groups.

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Loboponera is restricted to central and western Africa, ranging from Ivory Coast to Rwanda (Bolton & Brown, 2002; Fisher, 2006).

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 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Virtually nothing is known about the ecology or behavior of Loboponera. Collections of this genus have come from leaf litter and rotting wood (Bolton & Brown, 2002; Fisher, 2006), which when paired with its reduced eyes and downcurved gaster (possibly an adaptation to hunting in tight spaces) strongly implies a cryptic lifestyle. Their generalized mandibular structure gives no clues to the identity of their prey.

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: ? (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)



Worker Morphology

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• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: gradual • Palp formula: 2,2 • Total dental count: 2-6 • Spur formula: 1 pectinate, 1 pectinate • Eyes: 2-10 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present

Male Morphology

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 • Caste unknown



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.

  • LOBOPONERA [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Loboponera Bolton & Brown, 2002: 3. Type-species: Loboponera vigilans, by original designation.

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


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014):


Small to medium (TL 3.0–7.5 mm) robust ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles triangular to subtriangular, with a basal groove. Anterior margin of clypeus with a blunt medial projection and laterally with a tooth projecting over each mandibular articulation. Frontal lobes greatly expanded laterally and closely approximated. Antennae moderately clubbed apically. Eyes very small, located far anterior of head midline. Posteroventral corners of head with cuticular flanges. Mesopleuron divided by a transverse groove, the anepisternum often appearing fused to the mesonotum and metapleuron. Metanotal groove absent. Propodeum broad dorsally, the posterolateral margins often forming lamellae. Propodeal spiracles round. Metapleural gland orifice opening laterally. Meso- and metafemora with a dorsal longitudinal groove. Metatibial spur formula (1p). Petiole nodiform. Anteroventral articulatory surface of petiole long and broad, with a narrow median groove. Strong girdling constriction present between pre- and postsclerite of A4. Tergite of A4 strongly vaulted and down-curved posteriorly. Head and body shining, foveolate to punctate, sometimes with some longitudinal striations on the sides of the mesosoma, and generally with sparse pilosity and pubescence. Color dark red or purple to nearly black.


Similar to workers but slightly larger, winged and with the characters typical of alate ponerine queens (Bolton & Brown, 2002).