AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Mayaponera constricta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Pachycondyla genus group
Genus: Mayaponera
Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014
Type species
Ponera constricta, now Mayaponera constricta
7 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Pachycondyla constricta casent0217555 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla constricta casent0217555 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Mayaponera is widespread in Central and South America. It is found in wide range of natural and farming habitats. Ergatoids may occur alongside alate queens (Schmidt and Shattuck 2014)

At a Glance • Ergatoid queen  


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Mayaponera workers lack any obvious autapomorphies and superficially have a very generalized appearance. They are most likely to be confused with some Neoponera and Mesoponera, but Mayaponera differs from Neoponera in its round propodeal spiracles, deeply impressed metanotal groove (at most only slightly impressed in Neoponera), and strongly narrowed propodeum with a dorsal longitudinal groove. It can be separated from the handful of Neoponera species in which the propodeal spiracle is round (some members of the N. emiliae group) by the presence of narrow and fang-like metasternal processes (the processes are triangular-shaped in Neoponera). Mayaponera differs from Mesoponera in having a complex metapleural gland orifice and prominent arolia.

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus



Mayaponera constricta is widespread in the Neotropics from Central America to Bolivia and southern Brazil (Mackay & Mackay, 2010).

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 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Very little is known about the habits of Mayaponera. Mackay & Mackay (2010) reviewed Mayaponera constricta as part of their study of New World Pachycondyla while Longino (2013) and Baena (1993) summarized their observations on the species in Costa Rica and Colombia, respectively. The genus is common in a range of habitats from mature rainforests to cocoa plantations and other farm habitats, where it is frequently collected in leaf litter samples (Longino, 2013) and pitfall traps (Mackay & Mackay, 2010). Nests usually occur in rotting wood but can also be found directly in soil (often under stones), and workers forage predominantly at night on and among leaf litter (Baena, 1993; Longino, 2013; Mackay & Mackay, 2010). M. constricta apparently uses tandem running to recruit nestmates to food sources (S. Levings, pers. comm. cited in Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990). Both alate and ergatoid queens occur (Longino, 2013), and reported colony sizes are small (up to 29 workers; Baena, 1993) though nothing else is known about their reproductive or social behavior. Orivel & Déjean (2001) measured the toxicity of M. constricta venom. Given that it holds a critical phylogenetic position in the midst of several taxa with highly derived characteristics, additional observations on the ecological and behavioral traits of Mayaponera would be of great assistance in reconstructing character evolution in the Pachycondyla group.

Baena (1993) reported a specimen of Mayaponera conicula (listed as P. pergandei) collected in a rotten log, and the type series of Mayaponera cernua was found in a log, suggesting that logs may be the normal nesting site for these species. Most flights of Mayaponera arhuaca occur in the middle of the summer (Kaspari et al., 2001).

Association with Other Organisms

All Associate Records for Genus

Click here to show/hide associate data.
Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Mayaponera constricta host collembolan Cyphoderus similis myrmecophile Brazil Castaño-Meneses et al., 2014
Mayaponera constricta host collembolan Sphaeridia serrata myrmecophile Brazil Castaño-Meneses et al., 2014

Life History Traits

  • Queen type: winged or dealate; ergatoid (Longino, 2013)
  • Mean colony size: 5-29 (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)
  • Foraging behaviour: cooperative (Greer et al., 2021)


Both winged and ergatoid queens are known. Ergatoids lack a deeply impressed metanotal groove and have a bulkier mesosoma than workers (Longino, 2013).


Worker Morphology

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Worker Morphology data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.

 • 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


All Karyotype Records for Genus

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Karyotype data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
Click here to show/hide karyotype data.
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Mayaponera arhuaca 12 12M Brazil Mariano et al., 2007 as ''Pachycondyla arhuaca''
Mayaponera arhuaca 18 36 36A French Guiana Mariano et al., 2012; Mariano et al., 2015 as ''Pachycondyla arhuaca''
Mayaponera constricta 15 30 30A Brazil Mariano et al., 2007; Mariano et al., 2015 as ''Pachycondyla constricta''



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.

  • MAYAPONERA [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Mayaponera Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 143. Type-species: Ponera constricta, 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 6–7.5 mm) slender ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles triangular, with about a dozen teeth on the masticatory margin. Clypeus with a broadly convex anterior margin and a subtle median emargination. Frontal lobes of moderate size. Eyes of moderate size, placed anterior of head midline. Metanotal groove deeply impressed. Propodeal dorsum strongly narrowed and with a longitudinal groove. Propodeal spiracles round. Metapleural gland orifice complex, with a posterior U-shaped cuticular lip and a shallow lateral groove. Metatibial spur formula (1s, 1p). Arolia prominent. Petiole a thick scale. Gaster with only a weak girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4. Stridulitrum present on pretergite of A4. Head and body finely punctate, with scattered pilosity and dense pubescence. Color dark brownish gray. See also Mackay & Mackay (2010).


Both alate and ergatoid queens are known for Mayaponera constricta. Ergatoids lack a deeply impressed metanotal groove and have a bulkier mesosoma than workers (Longino, 2013). See also Mackay & Mackay (2010).


See description in Forel (1908) and Mackay & Mackay (2010).


Described by Wheeler & Wheeler (1952, 1976).


Mayaponera is named in memory of the first author’s daughter Maya and for the Maya peoples of southern Mexico and northern Central America, included in the range of the genus. The suffix -ponera is derived from the subfamily name Ponerinae.


(accessed 10 November 2013)