Mayaponera constricta

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Mayaponera constricta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Mayaponera
Species: M. constricta
Binomial name
Mayaponera constricta
(Mayr, 1884)

Pachycondyla constricta casent0217555 p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla constricta casent0217555 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): Mayaponera constricta nests in dead branches (~ 8 cm diameter), logs and trunks on the forest floor or simply in the soil (often under stones) and is commonly collected in litter samples on clay soils. Baena (1993) reported that it nests near ants of the genus Solenopsis. Nests contain 5 - 29 workers with a few reproductives (Baena, 1993). Brood was collected in August (Costa Rica). Winged males were collected in nests in April and late November (Colombia) and between January and July (Ecuador, canopy fogging). A dealate female was collected in September (Colombia) and loose males were collected in March (Perú) and July (Costa Rica). Most flights occur in the middle of the summer (Kaspari et al., 2001). Flights occur between 1800 and 05:00 hrs (Costa Rica). These ants are commonly collected in Winkler extractions of litter and in pitfall traps.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The worker of M. constricta is easily separated from all of the other species of New World Mayaponera by the deeply depressed metanotal suture and the noticeably convex dorsal surface of the mesonotum. It is not closely related to any of the other New World species. Perhaps its closest relative is Mesoponera australis (Forel) from Australia. Although they are very similar in most aspects, the mandibles of M. australis are finally punctate (not striate as in M. constricta), the mesosoma is not as deeply constricted in M. australis and the subpetiolar process is abruptly truncated posteriorly, not gradually decreasing in width as in M. constricta.

The female of M. constricta could easily be confused with that of Mayaponera arhuaca. It differs in the lack of a carina on the pronotal shoulder, which is present in the female of M. arhuaca. The small size of the male of M. constricta and the near absence of erect hairs would separate it from the males of most similar species.


Central America through central South America. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


This species has been found in lowland wet rain forest, riparian rainforest, mature rain forest, in a secondary forest, in an ecotone between tropical forest and grasslands, yungas forest [premontane forest], a swamp forest, in steep primary forest and in a cacao plantation (Roth et al., 1994) and other farm habitats, at elevations of 5 - 2500 meters. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)





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

  • constricta. Ponera constricta Mayr, 1884: 31 (w.) FRENCH GUIANA. Forel, 1908b: 37 (q.m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1952c: 624 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1976a: 53 (l.). Combination in Euponera (Mesoponera): Emery, 1901a: 46; in Mesoponera: Kempf, 1972a: 141; in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 304; in Mayaponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 145. Senior synonym of josephi: Dalla Torre, 1893: 39. See also: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 269.
  • josephi. Ponera josephi Forel, 1886b: xl (w.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of constricta: Dalla Torre, 1893: 39.

Type Material

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



The worker of this species is easily recognized as it is relatively small (about 5 mm total length) with the mesosoma strongly and deeply constricted at the metanotal suture. It is dark reddish brown with lighter reddish brown appendages, including the mandibles. The anterior border of the clypeus is broadly rounded; the malar carina is absent between the eye and the anterior edge of the head (side view). The scape extends the first two funicular segments past the posterior lateral corner; the eyes are located about one diameter from the anterior edge of the head (side view). The propodeal spiracle is circular. The petiole is shaped somewhat as a triangle with the anterior and posterior faces converging to a bluntly rounded apex. The stridulatory file is present on the second pretergite on the dorsum of the gaster. The metasternal process consists of two elongated slender fang-like appendages, similar to the processes in the stigma species complex.

Erect hairs are present on most surfaces, including the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the head, the dorsum of the mesosoma, the dorsum of the petiole and all surfaces of the gaster, the hairs on the tibiae are suberect. The scape has a few scattered erect hairs. Appressed pubescence is sparse, but is present on the head, especially the dorsum, the top of the mesosoma and on the gaster. The head and mesosoma are densely but finely punctate, as is the anterior face of the petiole, the posterior face is more finely sculptured, but dull, the dorsum of the gaster is mostly finely punctate.


The female is a small (total length 8 mm) dark reddish brown ant. The mandibles have approximately 12 teeth; the anterior border of the clypeus is broadly convex. The malar carina is absent, the eyes are relatively large (maximum diameter 0.35 mm) located about ½ diameter from the anterior margin of the head. The scape extends about ⅓ times its length past the posterior lateral corner of the head. The pronotal shoulder is not swollen; the propodeal spiracle is nearly circular. The petiole is narrow when viewed in profile with the anterior and posterior faces being nearly straight and meeting at a relatively sharp apex. The subpetiolar process consists of a moderately sharp anterior section followed by a narrow concave region and a rounded posterior section.

Short (0.1 mm) erect hairs are present on most surfaces, including the mandibles, clypeus, dorsal and ventral surfaces of the head, sides of the head, posterior margin, scapes, mesosoma, petiole and gaster; similar hairs are present on the legs. Appressed golden pubescence is present on most surfaces. The mandibles are finely striate, the dorsum of the head is very finely punctate, as is the mesosoma, petiole and gaster and all surfaces are dull or only moderately shining.


The male is a small (total length 5.5 mm) dark brown specimen. The pronotal shoulder is not swollen, the spiracle is nearly circular and the petiole is narrow when viewed in profile. Both the anterior and posterior faces of the petiole are slightly convex and the apex is moderately sharp. The subpetiolar process is angulate anteriorly and diminishes in width posteriorly.

Erect hairs are very sparse and only obvious on the clypeus and the apex of the gaster. Most surfaces are punctate with a few poorly defined striae on the side of the pronotum and surfaces are dull or only slightly shining.


  • 2n = 30, karyotype = 30A (Brazil) (Mariano et al., 2007) (as Pachycondyla constricta).


The derivation of the name of this species is from the Latin word constrictus, meaning contracted, referring to the constriction at the metanotal suture.


  • Baena, M. L. 1993. Hormigas cazadoras del género Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Ponerinae) de la Isla Gorgona y la planicie Pacifica Colombiana. Boletin. Del Museo. Entomológica de la Universidad del Valle 1:13-21.
  • 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 304, Combination in Pachycondyla)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 39, Senior synonym of josephi)
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 46, Combination in Euponera (Mesoponera))
  • Forel, A. 1908c. Fourmis de Costa-Rica récoltées par M. Paul Biolley. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 44: 35-72 (page 37, queen, male described)
  • Kaspari, M., J. Pickering and D. Windsor. 2001. The reproductive flight phenology of a Neotropical ant assemblage. Ecological Entomology 26:245-257.
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 141, Combination in Mesoponera)
  • 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.
  • Mayr, G. 1884. [Untitled. Descriptions of eight new species.]. Pp. 31-38 in: Radoszkowsky, O. Fourmis de Cayenne Française. Tr. Rus. Entomol. Obshch. 18:30-39. (page 31, worker described)
  • Roth, D.S., I. Perfecto and B. Rathcke. 1994 The effects of management systems on ground-foraging ant diversity in Costa Rica. Ecological Applications 4:423-436.
  • 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).
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1952c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Ponerinae - Part II. Am. Midl. Nat. 48: 604-672 (page 624, larva described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1976a. Supplementary studies on ant larvae: Ponerinae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 102: 41-64 (page 53, larva described)