Ponera menglana

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Ponera menglana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Ponera
Species: P. menglana
Binomial name
Ponera menglana
Xu, Z., 2001

Ponera menglana P casent0235336.jpg

Ponera menglana D casent0235336.jpg

Specimen Label

The type material was collected from a soil sample in seasonal rain forest and two ground samples, with one of the latter from a karst monsoon forest.

Identification

This new species is close to Ponera sinensis, but with body larger, HL 0.65-0.68, HW 0.58-0.60. In profile view posterodorsal corner of petiolar node more convex. Posteroventral corner of subpetiolar process only with a minute denticle.(Xu 2001)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: China (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

The general biology of species in the genus was summarized by Taylor (1967): Ponera are small ants that nest in rotting logs in forested areas or under stones in nonforested situations. In the tropical areas specimens are rarely encountered away from rain forest. In temperate areas, however, species may occur in relatively lightly forested areas. This appears to be the case with Ponera japonica, Ponera pennsylvanica and especially with Ponera coarctata. The Australian Ponera leae is essentially limited to rain forest in the northern parts of its range, but further south it may be found in dry, lightly forested areas.

Foraging is probably cryptobiotic, though some New Guinea species have been taken straying on the ground surface. Little information is available concerning feeding. However, most species are probably insectivorous. I have conducted feeding experiments with some of the New Guinea and Samoan species, including Ponera xenagos, Ponera elegantula, Ponera tenuis, Ponera incerta and Ponera woodwardi. These were unsuccessful with the larger species, except elegantula, which accepted moderately large (8-12 mm) campodeid and japygid Diplura. Tenuis and incerta accepted smaller (4-6 mm) campodeids, isotomid and sminthurid Collembola, and small newly hatched spiders (2 mm long). Negative feeding response was obtained with eggs and larvae of various ants, small crushed insects of various orders, and small myriapods. Stray workers were never observed carrying prey, and distinct middens of insect or other remains were not located near nests.

Colonies usually contain about 30 workers. Larvae and pupae are not segregated in most cases, but occasionally aggregations of pupae were observed. These may have included the total brood of the colonies involved. Larvae are attached to the floor or walls of the nest galleries by the glutinous abdominal tubercles described above, and the ants move them high up on the walls or ceilings of artificial nests, if they are flooded. Details of nuptial behavior of pennsylvanica were given by Wheeler (1900), and Haskins & Enzmann (1938). The flights appear to be of a pattern typical for ants, with the alates meeting in the air and mating there or on the ground. Colony foundation is non-claustral and independent in pennsylvanica (Kannowski 1959); judging from my observations this is typical for the genus.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • menglana. Ponera menglana Xu, 2001a: 54, figs. 7-9 (w.) CHINA.

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

Description

Worker

Xu 2001 figs. 16-27

Holotype. TL 2.9, HL 0.68, HW 0.60, CI 89, SL 0.50, SI 83, PW 0.50, AL 0.90, ED 0.03, ML 0.40, PNL 0.23, DPW 0.43, PH 0.50, PNI 85, LPI45. Head roughly square, lightly longer than broad. Occipital margin slightly concave, occipital corners blunt, lateral sides weakly convex. Mandible with 3 enlarged apical teeth followed by a series of minute denticles. Anterior margin of clypeus evenly convex. Apex of scape reached to 9/10 of the distance from antennal socket to occipital corner, antennal club consisted of the apical 5 segments. Eye with one facet. In profile view dorsum of alitrunk slightly convex, promesonotal suture distinct, metanotal groove very weak with fine visible trace. Dorsum of propodeum about as long as declivity, posterodorsal corner of propodeum rounded, lateral sides of propodeum weakly depressed, declivity obviously. depressed, lateral sides of declivity distinctly marginate. In profile view petiolar node higher than long, anterior face straight and vertical, dorsal and posterior faces formed a single arched surface, anterodorsal corner blunt. Subpetiolar process with small circular fenestra, anteroventral corner obliquely truncate, posteroventral corner with a minute denticle. In dorsal view petiolar node roughly semicircular, anterior and lateral borders formed a single arch, posterior face weakly concave. Gaster distinctly constricted between the two basal segments. Mandibles smooth and shining. Head, alitrunk and the two basal segments of gaster densely and finely punctured. Petiole with anterior and lateral faces weakly finely punctured,. posterior face smooth. Segments 3 - 6 of gaster smooth and shining. The whole body surface with sparse erect or suberect hairs and dense decumbent pubescence. Scapes and tibiae with dense decumbent pubescence, but without erect hairs. Body in.color black. Mandibles, antennae, legs, subpetiolar process and apex of gaster yellowish brown.

Paratype workers: TL 2.7- 3.1, HL 0.65-.0.68, HW 0.58-0.60, CI 85-89, SL 0.48-0.53, SI 83-88, PW 0.45-0.48, AL 0.85-0.90, ED 0.03, ML 0.33-0.38, PNL 0.20-0.23, DPW 0.40-0.43, PH 0.45-0.50, PNI 84-94, LPI 43-50 (5 measured).

Type Material

Holotype: worker, No. A97-2046, 730 m, Bubang Village, Mengla County, Yunnan Province, 17-VIH-1997, collected in a soil sample of seasonal rain forest by Zeng Guang. Paratypes: 4 workers and 2 males, with same data as holotype, 3 workers, with same data as holotype but No. A97-2024, collected in a ground sample, 9 workers, with same data as holotype but No. A97-2029, 7 workers and 1 dealate female, No. A97-1134, 660 m, Cuipingfeng, Menglun Town, Mengla County, Yunnan Province, 10-VIII-1997, collected in a ground sample of karst monsoon forest by He Yunfeng; 6 workers, with same data as No. A97-1134 but No. A9i-1153, collected by Liu Taiyong; 9 workers and 2 females, with same data as No. A97-1134 .but No. A97-1162, collected by Xu Zhenghui.

The type specimens are deposited in the Insect Collection, Southwest Forestry College, Kunming, Yunnan Province, P.R. China.

References

  • Taylor, R. W. (1967). A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph, 13: 1–112. PDF
  • Xu, Z.-H. 2001b. A systematic study on the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of China. Entomotaxonomia 23: 51-60 (page 54, figs. 7-9 worker described)