Mayaponera arhuaca

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Mayaponera arhuaca
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Mayaponera
Species: M. arhuaca
Binomial name
Mayaponera arhuaca
(Forel, 1901)

Pachycondyla arhuaca casent0249129 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla arhuaca casent0249129 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Evolutionary Relationships

Mayaponera constricta

Mayaponera arhuaca

Mayaponera becculata

Mayaponera pergandei

Relationships among selected species of Mayaponera by Longino & Branstetter (2020).

From Mackay and Mackay (2010): Nests are found in rotten wood and the soil under the wood. Workers are also collected in leaf litter extractions. Brood was present in a nest in January. A dealate female was collected in May (Panamá). A winged male and winged female were collected in May (Panamá), winged males in January (Brasil), May (Perú), July (Panamá), between January and July (Ecuador, canopy fogging) and October (Perú). Most flights occur in the middle of the summer (Kaspari et al., 2001).


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The workers of Mayaponera arhuaca could be separated from most of the other Mayaponera and Rasopone by the circular propodeal spiracle. The swollen margin on the pronotal shoulder would distinguish M. arhuaca from other similar small species, such as Rasopone ferruginea, Mayaponera constricta, Mayaponera conicula and Mayaponera pergandei. Mayaponera arhuaca could be confused with the Brazilian Neoponera metanotalis and the Venezuela Neoponera emiliae, but differs in being smaller (the head width of the worker is < 1.2 mm, that of the female is about 1.25 mm, the head width of the worker is > 1.4 mm in N. metanotalis and N. emiliae) and the eye of M. arhuaca is relatively small (maximum diameter of the eye of the worker is about 0.2 mm, not greater than 0.2 mm as in workers of N. metanotalis and N. emiliae).

The female of M. arhuaca could be easily confused with that of M. constricta. Mayaponera arhuaca differs in that the carina on the pronotal shoulder is weakly developed (completely rounded in the female of M. constricta).

The male of M. arhuaca is nearly identical to that of Pseudoponera stigma. P. stigma is slightly more hairy, specifically with erect or suberect hairs between the eye and the clypeus, and on the scutum. The apex of the petiole is more rounded in P. stigma.

It is interesting to note that M. arhuaca is very similar to Euponera brunoi Forel from the Ivory Coast of Africa, as well as Ectomomyrmex striatulus Karavaiev from New Guinea, Mesoponera melanaria (Emery) of Sri Lanka and especially Mesoponera ambigua André from Madagascar and Sierra Leon. It is apparently a relic of an Old World lineage, or may have even been introduced into the New World.


Central America to central South America. Also known from Trinidad.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia (type locality), Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


These ants are found in wet lowland tropical forests, secondary lowland rain forest and urban habitats (lawns), from 10 - 1000 m elevation. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


Rarely collected.


Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Source: Kaspari et al., 2001.





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

  • arhuaca. Euponera (Mesoponera) arhuaca Forel, 1901f: 339 (w.m.) COLOMBIA.
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 211), 5 paralectotype workers, 4 paralectotype males.
    • Type-locality: Colombia: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, St-Antonio, 21.ii.1896 (A. Forel) (by restriction of Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 211).
    • [Note: other original syntypes from Colombia: foot of the Sierra, Ouriheka, nr Rio Frio, 10.iii.1896 (A. Forel).]
    • Type-depositories: MHNG (lectotype); MHNG, NHMW (paralectotypes).
    • Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 212 (q.).
    • Combination in Mesoponera: Forel, 1901g: 398; Kempf, 1972a: 141;
    • combination in Pachycondyla: Bolton, 1995b: 303;
    • combination in Rasopone: Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, 2014: 210;
    • combination in Mayaponera: Longino & Branstetter, 2020: 10.
    • Status as species: Forel, 1901g: 398 (in text); Forel, 1912c: 39; Emery, 1911d: 82; Wheeler, W.M. 1925a: 6; Santschi, 1931c: 267; Kempf, 1972a: 141; Bolton, 1995b: 303; Mackay, Mackay, et al. 2008: 186; Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 211 (redescription); Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 125; Feitosa, 2015c: 99; Fernández & Guerrero, 2019: 544.
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Panama, Peru, Trinidad, Venezuela.

Type Material

Colombia Sierra de Santa Marta: San Antonio. Lectotype worker designated, 5 paralectotype workers, 4 paralectotype males, MHNG, 1 paralectotype worker designated, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna. (Mackay and Mackay 2010) Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The workers are relatively small (total length < 5 mm) dark brown ants with pale brown appendages. The anterior margin of the clypeus is convex; the eyes are small (maximum diameter about 0.15 mm) and separated from the insertion of the mandible by slightly less than one maximum diameter (side view). There is no malar carina between the eye and the insertion of the antenna, although the region is swollen. The antennal scape is relatively short, extending only slightly past the posterior lateral corner of the head. The pronotal shoulder is slightly swollen, but does not form a shelf or even a well-defined carina. Most of the dorsum of the mesosoma is in the same plane, although the metanotal suture interrupts the integument on the dorsum of the mesosoma. The propodeal spiracle is circular. The middle tibia is relatively short (0.72 mm), only slightly longer than the width of the pronotum (0.66 mm seen from above). The petiole is relatively narrow when viewed in profile (maximum width 0.40 mm), the anterior face is slightly concave, the posterior face is convex with relatively distinct posterior lateral margins. The metasternal process consists of two well-developed triangular lobes.

Erect hairs are scattered on the head, mesosoma, petiole and gaster, the hairs on the tibiae are mostly appressed, although there are a few short (up to 0.03 mm) erect hairs on the extensor surfaces.

Most surfaces are dull and punctate, the mandibles are finely striate with regions near the teeth being glossy and shiny, the gaster is moderately shining with relatively coarse punctures.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The female (undescribed) is a small (total length 6 mm) black specimen with brown legs. The mandible has approximately 12 teeth; the anterior border of the clypeus is convex, the eye is large (maximum diameter 0.32 mm) and is located less than half the diameter from the anterior edge of the head (side view). The scape (length 1.12 mm) extends slightly past the posterior lateral corner of the head. The head length is 1.48 mm and the width is 1.26 mm. The pronotal shoulder is swollen, but does not form a carina. The propodeal spiracle is circular; the anterior face of the petiole is vertical and meets the convex broadly rounded posterior face at a relatively sharp angle. The stridulatory file is absent on the pretergite of the second tergum of the gaster and the arolia are absent. A few erect hairs are scattered on the mandibles, clypeus, dorsal and ventral surfaces of the head. The scape has a few scattered erect hairs, mostly near the base. Scattered erect hairs are present on the dorsum of the mesosoma, mostly short (0.1 mm); hairs on the legs are erect but short, hairs similar to those on the mesosoma are present on the petiole and gaster. Appressed whitish hairs are present on most surfaces, but are not abundant.

The mandibles are finely striate; the dorsum of the head is punctate with the punctures forming poorly defined striae, which diverge post-eriorly. The dorsum of the mesosoma is punctate; the sides are punctate with weakly developed striae. The petiole and the gaster are finely punctate.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The male is a small (total length 4.5 mm) black ant. The anterior border of the clypeus is broadly convex, the clypeus is swollen in the middle. The scutellum is swollen and the opening of the propodeal spiracle is elongated, although the surrounding swollen area (peritreme) is circular. The petiole is thick in profile with a relatively sharp apex. The wing is typical of the genus with a slightly elongated third discoidal cell.

Erect and suberect hairs are nearly absent, a few are present on the mandible, scutellum, propodeum, dorsum of the petiole and all surfaces of the gaster, hairs are generally absent on the antennae, head, remainder of the mesosoma and legs; fine, nearly appressed pubescence is present on nearly all surfaces. All surfaces are finely sculptured (coriaceous with fine punctures) but dull.


  • n = 18, 2n = 36, karyotype = 36A (French Guiana) (Mariano et al., 2012; Mariano et al., 2015) (as Pachycondyla arhuaca).
  • 2n = 12, karyotype = 12M (Brazil) (Mariano et al., 2007) (as Pachycondyla arhuaca).


The name of this species was derived from the Arawak Indians of the Caribbean region. The name is somewhat of a misnomer, as the region of the type locality was populated by the Guajiran Indians, which although related to the Arawak (the Waúu language is related to Arawak), are not actually Arawaks. Forel (1901b) mentions he collected the type series near the arhuaque village of San Antonio. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)