Neoponera emiliae

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Neoponera emiliae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Neoponera
Species: N. emiliae
Binomial name
Neoponera emiliae
Forel, 1901

Pachycondyla emiliae casent0907239 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla emiliae casent0907239 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Workers forage on the soil surface, two were captured in a pitfall trap. Workers are fast and wary. One worker was collected under a stone. Forel (1901b) collected the type colony in the soil under tangled vegetation.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): It is difficult to place N. emiliae into a species complex. The presence of a malar carina, pronotal carina, the weakly depressed metanotal suture and the stridulatory file on the second pretergite all suggest that it belongs to the crenata species complex. The metasternal process of N. emiliae is different from members of the crenata species complex, in which the lobes are usually closely spaced, nearly touching medially. It is somewhat similar to only Neoponera unidentata. The general poorly developed nature of the two carina (preocular and pronotal), the circular shape of the propodeal spiracle, the general form of the mesosoma and the shape of the petiole suggest a relationship of N. emiliae with the ferruginea or constricta species complex. It is somewhat intermediate between the two complexes, with the stridulatory file possibly relating it more to the constricta complex.

The phylogenetic importance of this species is reinforced below, with the noted similarity of the worker to the female of Neoponera aenescens, apparently linking the aenescens complex with the crenata and constricta species complexes. It will be placed in its own species complex, together with some other oddballs that may not be closely related to it, until more specimens and the sexuals of the forms involved have been collected.

Neoponera emiliae workers are very similar to workers of Neoponera metanotalis. Fortunately the distributions are useful in identification, with N. emiliae being from northern South America, N. metanotalis from southern South America. The medial part of the clypeus is longitudinally striate in N. emiliae, but smooth and glossy in N. metanotalis. The petiole is usually slightly narrower (length at level of peduncles disregarding the spiracular horn 0.70 - 0.80 mm) than that of N. metanotalis. All surfaces are mostly dull and sculptured (the side of the head and dorsum of the pronotum are partially smooth and shining in N. metanotalis). The middle of the clypeal margin is broadly convex in both species, which would separate them from N. aenescens in which the medial section of the clypeus is depressed and slightly concave. The pronotal carina is only moderately developed and does not overhang the side (viewed from the front or behind) in N. emiliae.

The female is unknown, but the female of N. aenescens is very similar to the worker of N. emiliae. The shapes of the petioles are identical and the shape of the petiole of the female of N. aenescens is different from that of the corresponding worker. They could possibly be separated in that the unknown female of N. emiliae would have the medial area of the clypeus convex (as in the worker), not concave as in the female of N. aenescens. It may also have a circular propodeal spiracle, not elongate as in N. aenescens.

A specimen from Colombia differs from the typical form in having an elongate propodeal spiracle, as well as a well defined propodeal-meta-pleural suture extending from the propodeal spiracle to the basalar sclerite, which is absent in the other specimens of N. emiliae that we have seen, including the lectotype. It is also slightly larger and may actually be a new species.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Venezuela (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The workers from Rancho Grande were collected at 1100 m elevation, in thick cloud forest, on a steep west-facing slope; the worker from Villa de Leiva was collected in an open wet grassy area. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)



Known only from the worker caste.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • emiliae. Neoponera emiliae Forel, 1901f: 349 (w.) VENEZUELA. Combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 305; in Neoponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 151. See also: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 311.

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 worker is a moderate sized (total length 8 mm) dark brown to black ant. The mandibles have approximately 12 teeth and the anterior border of the clypeus is broadly convex, weakly angulate and not indented medially. The malar carina is slightly developed and extends approximately ½ of the length to the eye. The eye is small (maximum diameter 0.35 mm) located approximately one diameter from the anterior edge of the head (side view). The pronotum is swollen at the shoulder and forms a weak carina. The mesosoma is slightly depressed at the metanotal suture which breaks the sculpture. The propodeal spiracle is circular and the posterior lateral edges of the propodeum are formed into carinae. The anterior margin of the petiole is concave and meets the broadly rounded posterior face at the anterior edge of the apex. The stridulatory file is present on the second pretergite, but the arolia are poorly developed. The metasternal process consists of two blunt traingular lobes.

Erect and suberect hairs are abundant on all surfaces, especially the dorsum of the head, shaft of the scape, dorsum of the mesosoma, dorsum of the petiole and all surfaces of the gaster, most surfaces are covered with golden appressed pubescence.

Most surfaces are punctate, except the mandibles, which are finely striate and punctate, the middle of the clypeus is longitudinally striate and the dorsum of the head has the punctures somewhat aligned and they nearly form striae. Some of the surfaces, especially the sides of the mesosoma, all surfaces of the petiole and the gaster, are moderately shining.

Type Material

Venezuela: Carabobo: Puerto Cabello. Lectotype and 2 paralectotype workers designated, Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


This species was named after an unspecified woman named Emilia. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bezdeckova K., P. Bedecka, and I. Machar. 2015. A checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Peru. Zootaxa 4020 (1): 101–133.
  • Fernández F. 2008. Subfamilia Ponerinae s.str. Pp. 123-218 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp.
  • Fernández F., and T. M. Arias-Penna. 2008. Las hormigas cazadoras en la región Neotropical. Pp. 3-39 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano, F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp.
  • Forel A. 1901. Nouvelles espèces de Ponerinae. (Avec un nouveau sous-genre et une espèce nouvelle d'Eciton). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 9: 325-353.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Mackay, W.P. and E.E. MacKay. 2010. The systematics and biology of the New World ants of the genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press Lewiston, NY