Neoponera oberthueri

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Neoponera oberthueri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Neoponera
Species: N. oberthueri
Binomial name
Neoponera oberthueri
(Emery, 1890)

Pachycondyla oberthueri casent0903886 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla oberthueri casent0903886 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of this species.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The unusual shape of the petiole would separate the worker and female of N. oberthueri from most of the others in the crenata species complex. Neoponera oberthueri could be confused with Neoponera carinulata, but differs in that the highest point on the petiole of N. carinulata is near the middle of the apex. Additionally the mandibles of N. carinulata are finely sculptured with striae and are not glossy as in N. oberthueri. Finally N. carinulata is nearly black with reddish brown legs. Neoponera oberthueri is also similar to Neoponera goeldii, from which it can be separated by the glossy mandibles (striate in N. goeldii) and the shape of the petiole (the highest point is near the middle of the petiole in N. goeldii).

Neoponera oberthueri is most closely related to Neoponera cavinodis, but the posterior face is mostly convex, not strongly concave as in N. cavinodis and the posterior dorsal edge does not overhang the posterior face, as it does in N. cavinodis, although it is concave in this region. Neoponera oberthueri could be confused with the closely related Neoponera coveri from Perú. It differs in that the posterior edge of the apex of the petiole is angulate, nearly forming a peak, whereas it is broadly rounded in N. coveri. Additionally the mandibles of N. oberthueri are mostly smooth and glossy, not coriaceous and dull as in N. coveri.

The males of N. oberthueri are nearly identical to the males of Cryptopone guianensis, being small yellow specimens lacking the Mayrian furrows and having similar wing venation. The propodeal spiracle of N. oberthueri is elongated, not circular as in C. guianensis. The subpetiolar process is much more developed in N. oberthueri, which has the typical form of members of the crenata species complex, consisting of an anterior angle followed by a concave region. Most other small males are brown with well-developed Mayrian furrows.

The males would be likely confused with males of Odontomachus, as the apex of the petiole is relatively sharp as in males of Odontomachus. The males of both genera, as well as the males of Anochetus, have large pits near the base of the mandibles. Apparently there is no simple character that would separate such males, other than the males of Anochetus often have a weakly bidentate petiolar node.


ECUADOR, PERU, GUYANA, BRASIL, BOLIVIA. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia, Brazil (type locality), Ecuador.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Unknown, other than it has been collected at 550 meters elevation. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)




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

  • oberthueri. Pachycondyla oberthueri Emery, 1890a: 74 (w.) BRAZIL (Pará).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Pará, Bragance (R. Oberthür).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 475 (q.m.).
    • Combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 307;
    • combination in Neoponera: Emery, 1901a: 47; Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, 2014: 151.
    • Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 34; Forel, 1895b: 115; Emery, 1911d: 73; Borgmeier, 1923: 67; Kempf, 1972a: 162; Bolton, 1995b: 307; Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 474 (redescription); Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 124; Feitosa, 2015c: 99.
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru.

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 small (total length 5 mm) reddish brown ant with yellowish brown mandibles, antennae and legs. The mandibles have approximately 12 teeth that are nearly equal in size, the anterior margin of the clypeus is angulate and overhangs the anteclypeus. The malar carina is moderately well developed and extends from near the anterior edge of the head nearly to the eye. The eyes are large (maximum diameter 0.4 mm) and are located less than one diameter from the anterior edge of the head (side view). The scape is long (2.25 mm) and extends about ⅓ length past the posterior lateral corner of the head. The pronotal carina is sharp and overhangs the side of the pronotum, the promesonotal suture is well developed and breaks the sculpture; the metanotal suture is barely marked, especially on the dorsum of the mesosoma where it is barely noticeable. The propodeal spiracle is elongated. The anterior face of the petiole is vertical for about ½ of its length and then bends broadly backward, forming a sloping dorsal face, which meets the posterior face near the posterior edge. The posterior face is strongly convex, except near the apex where it is slightly concave. The subpetiolar process is poorly developed and consists of a small ventrally directed hook, a concave region, followed by a convex posterior region. The postpetiole is rounded between the faces. The second pretergite has a stridulatory file, the arolia are poorly developed.

Long (up to 0.36 mm, most about 0.1 mm) erect golden hairs are present on the mandibles, clypeus, dorsum of the head, ventral surface of the head, sides of the head, posterior margin, antennal scape, mesosoma, petiole, gaster and legs, appressed yellowish pubescence is present on the head, mesosoma and gaster.

The mandibles are glossy and weakly sculptured with very fine striae and scattered punctures. The head is densely but finely punctate and moderately smooth and glossy. The dorsum of the mesosoma has similar sculpture; the side of the mesosoma is moderately shining with fine striae. The anterior and dorsal faces of the petiole are finely punctate and moderately shining, as is the side. The gaster is finely punctate and moderately shining.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The female (dealate, undescribed) is an intermediate sized (total length 11 mm) reddish brown specimen with brown mandibles, clypeus, cheeks, antennae and legs. The mandibles have approximately 12 teeth. The anterior margin of the clypeus is convex and forms a small medial lobe, which overhangs the anteclypeus. This medial lobe is slightly concave when viewed from above. The head length is 1.96 mm; the head width is 1.64 mm. The eye (maximum diameter 0.58 mm) is located approximately ½ diameter from the anterior margin of the head. The malar carina is well developed. The ocelli are small, the median ocellus (diameter 0.10 mm) is located approximately two diameters from the lateral ocellus (diameter 0.09 mm). The scape (1.76 mm) surpasses the posterior lateral corner of the head by the first funicular segment. The sides of the head are nearly straight and slightly converging anteriorly, the posterior border is nearly straight. The pronotal shoulder has a well-developed sharp carina; the propodeal spiracle is slit-shaped. The anterior face of the petiole is convex and broadly rounded and meets the posterior face near the posterior edge of the apex, the posterior face is slightly convex basally and slightly concave near the apex. The subpetiolar process consists of a small posteriorly directed small tooth anteriorly, followed by a strongly concave region and a ventrally directed tooth at about mid length with the remainder of the process narrowing posteriorly. The anterior face of the postpetiole is broadly rounded into the dorsal face. The stridulatory file on the second pretergite is well defined. The arolium between the tarsal claws is poorly developed.

Erect hairs are present on the mandibles, dorsal and ventral surfaces of the head, sides of the head, posterior margin, the shaft of the scape, the dorsum of the mesosoma, the dorsum of the petiole, the subpetiolar process and all surfaces of the gaster. The hairs on the legs are abundant and mostly suberect. Appressed fine white pubescence is present on the head, dorsum of the mesosoma, sides and posterior face of the propodeum, on the petiole and gaster.

The mandibles are finely sculptured with scattered punctures; the dorsum of the head is finely punctate, as is the mesosoma, petiole and gaster, the head is weakly shining, the mesosoma, petiole and gaster are moderately shiny.

The female was not associated with workers and may not be conspecific. It is very similar to the worker, but larger than would be expected and the petiole is less convex posteriorly than the petiole of the worker.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The male (undescribed) is a small (total length 7 mm) yellowish brown specimen. The mandible is tiny, the anterior border of the clypeus is slightly concave medially and convex over all. The head length is 1.05 mm, the width (posterior to the eye) is 0.98 mm. The ocelli are moderately large (maximum diameter of the median ocellus is 0.2 mm), the lateral ocelli are located less than one diameter from the median ocelli (oblique upper and side view). The Mayrian furrows are not developed, but the parapsidal sutures are present. The pronotal shoulder is not swollen. The petiole has a characteristic shape with a sharp apex, located posteriorly and a well-developed ventrally directed subpetiolar process. The wing is typical for the genus, with an elongate third discoidal cell. It is similar to the wing of members of the ochracea species complex.

Erect hairs are sparse except for on the petiole, where a few are present. Very fine erect pubescence is present on the mesosoma, petiole and gaster. Most surfaces are only moderately sculptured and at least partially smooth and glossy.

Neither of the two males was associated with workers, but G. Mayr identified one of them.

Type Material

Brasil, Pará: Bragança (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


This species was named in honor of Mr. René Oberthür, who collected the holotype. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1995a. [Untitled. Taxonomic changes in Pachycondyla attributed to Brown.] Pp. 302-311 in: Bolton, B. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 307, Combination in Pachycondyla)
  • Emery, C. 1890a [1889]. Alcune considerazioni sulla fauna mirmecologica dell'Africa. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 21: 69-75 (page 74, worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1890a. Voyage de M. E. Simon au Venezuela. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 10:55-76.
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 47, Combination in Neoponera)
  • Mackay, W. P., and E. E. Mackay 2010. The Systematics and Biology of the New World Ants of the Genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellon Press, Lewiston. Information from this publication is used with permission from the authors.
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1).

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • 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.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Fichaux M., B. Bechade, J. Donald, A. Weyna, J. H. C. Delabie, J. Murienne, C. Baraloto, and J. Orivel. 2019. Habitats shape taxonomic and functional composition of Neotropical ant assemblages. Oecologia 189(2): 501-513.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Kusnezov N. 1953. La fauna mirmecológica de Bolivia. Folia Universitaria. Cochabamba 6: 211-229.
  • 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