The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY PONERINAE - Genus Hypoponera - key to workers
Genus introduction

Key to workers: derived from Bolton & Fisher (2011)

Notes:
I use the term hair(s) whereas Bolton & Fisher used "seta(e)"; the latter for me is best reserved for the thick bristles or spikes seen, for instance, on the legs of some Cataglyphis species. 
I also use the term alitrunk in preference to "mesosoma" (which literally translated means middle segment and is neither true nor sensible for insects visually composed of four sections).
Certain of the couplets demand observation of not infrequently concealed characters, such as sculpturation on the back of the petiole. 

Definitions used by Bolton & Fisher:

Prora usually present (absent in only one Afrotropical species): an arched tranverse crest that extends across the first gastral sternite below the helcium; usually the prora extends up the anterior face of the first sternite on each side, so that the entire prora is broadly U-shaped in anterior view

Serna & MacKay (2010) have published a morphological paper that proposes a number of new terms. One of them, cinctus, is adopted here. In terms of this paper the cinctus is the constriction between the pres-clerites and postsclerites of the second gastral segment (= abdominal segment IV), that has previously been called the “girdling constriction” of that segment (as defined in Bolton, 1994: 195)

Measurements
Head Length (HL). The length of the head capsule excluding the mandibles; measured in full-face view in a straight line from the mid-point of the anterior clypeal margin to the mid-point of the posterior margin. Where the posterior margin is concave the measurement is taken from the midpoint of a transverse line that spans the apices of the projecting posterior corners.
Head Width (HW). The maximum width of the head, measured in full-face view.
Head Size (HS). HL + HW, divided by 2.
Scape Length (SL). The maximum straight-line length of the scape, excluding the basal constriction or neck that occurs just distal of the condylar bulb.
Pronotal Width (PrW). The maximum width of the pronotum in dorsal view.
Weber’s Length of Mesosoma (WL). The diagonal length of the mesosoma in profile, from the angle at which the pronotum meets the cervix to the posterior basal angle of the metapleuron.
Hind Femur Length (HFL). The maximum straight-line length of the metafemur.
Petiole Height (PeH). The vertical height of the petiole measured in profile from the lowest point of the subpet-
iolar process to a line that intersects the highest point of the dorsal outline.
Petiole Node Length (PeNL). In profile, the maximum length of the petiole node, measured in a straight horizontal line from immediately above the dorsal base of the anterior petiolar tubercle to the posterior margin.
Petiole Node Width (PeNW). The maximum width of the petiole node in dorsal view.
Petiole Size (PeS). PeH + PeNL + PeNW, divided by 3.
Indices
Cephalic Index (CI). HW divided by HL, 100.
Mandibular Index (MI). Length of closed mandible in full-face view from apex to midpoint of clypeal margin, divided by HL, 100.
Scape Index (SI). SL divided by HW, 100.
Petiole Node Index (PeNI). PeNW divided by PrW, 100.
Lateral Petiole Index (LPeI). PeNL divided by PeH, 100.
Dorsal Petiole Index (DPeI). PeNW divided by PeNL, 100


Given the small to minute size of all the species, there are a number of separations that are difficult or even imposssible to use, except with an unusually high magnification and specimens that are ideally mounted. It seems that Bolton & Fisher chose to ignore the more obvious single character of the petiole shape (lateral and profile views).  The base colour also seems to be ignored.

The term "disc" of the second gastral tergite is unexplained.  Assuming they mean the central portion of the dorsum, this is not clearly shown in any of the illustrations in their paper.

As in previous instances, e.g. Tetramorium (Bolton, 1977), some of the separation of new species appear based on minute differences.  Whilst these may be sound, the irony is that the converse is the norm and the pre-existing species and forms defined under the earlier fashion of subspecies, stirps, varieties not uncommonly are synonymised.

Thus, I have retained (reversed) the separation of the distinctive forms lotti and rothkirchi regarded by Bolton & Fisher (2011: 43) as synonyms of dulcis.

I have synonymised the Bolton & Fisher (2011: 112) species lepida under the well-described species lea, of which I believe I have sighted fresh specimens from Gabon, in addition to my Nigeria drawn specimens (Taylor 1976: 21), curiously not mentioned by Bolton & Fisher.

A particular irony, perhaps, is their reversal of the separation by Seifert (2003b: 61ff)) of H. schauinslandi from H. punctatissima. They noted: Seifert "reached the conclusion that punctatissima actually consisted of two species, punctatissima and schauinslandi, that were not distinguishable by standard morphology but could be separated by micro-morphometrics subjected to discriminant analysis."


1 Hypoponera sulcatinasis gasterIn dorsal view the base of the cinctus of the second gastral tergite (Abd. IV) is traversed by crowded longitudinal short cross-ribs or a continuous distinct row of aligned coarse punctures with raised margins between them [of restricted use as this is not visible in many specimens]
2
-- Hypoponera punctatissimaIn dorsal view the base of the cinctus of the second gastral tergite (Abd. IV) is smooth and shining, not traversed by crowded longitudinal short cross-ribs and without a continuous row of aligned coarse punctures with raised margins between them 44
2 Metanotal groove sharply and conspicuously present in dorsal view as a depressed transverse groove that clearly interrupts the surface 3
-- Metanotal groove absent or vestigial in dorsal view; at most there may be a slight change of angle between mesonotum and propodeum, or a superficial transverse line, or rarely there may be the merest vestige of a shallow depression, but the surface is not clearly interrupted by a transverse groove 7
. Metanotal groove sharply and conspicuously present in dorsal view as a depressed transverse groove that clearly interrupts the surface boerorum-group .
3 Hypoponera ignaviaDisc of second gastral tergite almost entirely smooth; sculpture consists only of minute superficial punctures that are separated by very wide areas of shining, polished cuticle. Eye variably developed, either absent or of a single ommatidium, or a small, feature less blister. Full adult colour light brown
Zimbabwe, South Africa -
ignavia
-- Disc of second gastral tergite densely punctate, reticulate-punctate, or with a microreticulate appearance, without minute punctures separated by broad shining areas. Eye present, small but usually conspicuous
4
4 Dorsum of first gastral tergite (Abd. III) without conspicuous standing setae that arise along the entire length of the sclerite when viewed in profile. Scape relatively longer, SI 88–96 (SL/HL 0.75–0.80). Full adult colour blackish brown to black. At least anterior portion of propodeal dorsum finely and densely reticulate-punctate and opaque 5
-- Dorsum of first gastral tergite with conspicuous standing setae that arise along the entire length of the sclerite when viewed in profile. Scape relatively shorter, SI 77–85 (SL/HL 0.66–0.76). Full adult colour yellow to light brown. Propodeal dorsum smooth and shining, with only very inconspicuous, scattered minute superficial punctures 6
5 Hypoponera sulcatinasisDorsum of propodeum finely sculptured everywhere; the sculptured dorsum contrasts strongly with the smooth shining declivity and the transition between the two is sharp and abrupt. Metanotal groove in dorsal view narrow and simple, without a defined metanotal sclerite. Punctate sculpture on pronotal and mesonotal dorsa dense, sharply defined and obvious. Full adult colour dark brown, blackish brown, or mostly black; sometimes with reddish areas South Africa - sulcatinasis
-- Hypoponera transvaalensisDorsum of propodeum with sculpture fading out posteriorly so that the posterior half is almost smooth; without a sharp and abrupt transition between sculptured dorsum and smooth declivity. Metanotal groove in dorsal view broad, with a narrow metanotal sclerite defined. Punctate sculpture on pronotal and mesonotal dorsa sparse, weakly defined and superficial. "A large, darkly coloured species".
South Africa - transvaalensis
6 Hypoponera speiSetae on dorsum of first gastral tergite (Abd. III) long and fine. In full-face view the apex of the scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, just fails to reach or just touches the midpoint of the posterior cephalic margin. Larger species with petiole relatively broader, HW 0.61– 0.74, PeNI 68–76, DPeI 150–180. Full adult colour yellowish brown to medium brown
South Africa - spei
-- Hypoponera boerorumSetae on dorsum of first gastral tergite short, stiff and stubbly. In full-face view the apex of the scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior cephalic margin. Smaller species with petiole relatively narrower, HW 0.56–0.60, PeNI 61–65, DPeI 140–158. Full adult colour yellow.
South Africa - boerorum
. Metanotal groove absent or vestigial in dorsal view .
7 Base of posterior face of petiole node with a radiating series of about 4–8 short straight cuticular ridges that arise just above the peduncle and extend a short distance up the posterior surface of the node [unworkable]
8
-- Base of posterior face of petiole node smooth, flat or with a transverse groove or ridge above the peduncle, but without a radiating series of cuticular ridges that arise on the posterior surface just above the peduncle [unworkable]
18
8 Lateroventral surfaces of head completely covered with very coarse and distinct reticulate-punctate to punctate-rugulose sculpture; without areas of smooth, shining cuticle between separated discrete punctures
9
-- Lateroventral surfaces of head at most with small punctures that are separated by areas of smooth, shining cuticle that are at least as wide as the puncture diameters; sometimes only minute diffuse superficial punctate sculpture is present so that the surface is mostly smooth
10
9 Hypoponera hebesEye absent. Smaller species: HW 0.64–0.67, HS 0.700–0.735, SL 0.54–0.57, HFL 0.58–0.62, PeH 0.52–0.54, PeS 0.393– 0.417. Pronotal dorsum, except along the midline, densely and coarsely reticulate-punctate, the sculpture nearly as strong as that on the coarsely reticulate-punctate dorsum of the head
Rwanda - hebes
-- Hypoponera faexEye present and conspicuous, of 5–6 small ommatidia. Larger species: HW 0.72, HS 0.800, SL 0.66, HFL 0.72, PeH 0.58, PeS 0.427. Pronotal dorsum, except along the midline, sculptured with spaced small punctures, the sculpture much more sparse and feeble than that on the dorsum of the head. Colour not stated.
Ethiopia - faex
10 Row of cuticular ridges at base of posterior face of petiole node bounded dorsally by a darkly coloured arched transverse rim or carina; the cuticular ridges lie within a shallow transverse groove of which the dark rim or carina is the upper margin [unworkable]
11
-- Row of cuticular ridges at base of posterior face of petiole node not bounded dorsally by an arched transverse dark rim or carina; the cuticular ridges not lying within a shallow transverse groove [unworkable] 12
11 Hypoponera traegaordhiSmaller species, HL 0.55, HW 0.43, SL 0.36, HS 0.490, PeH 0.30; with petiole node relatively narrower, PeNI 67, DPeI 157. In dorsal view maximum width of first gastral tergite is distinctly less than width of second tergite at its midlength. Subpetiolar process with an anteroventral angle that is followed by a long, straight ventral surface that slopes upward posteriorly, without an ascending angle at about the midlength of the sternite. Full adult colour yellow
South Africa - traegaordhi
-- Hypoponera exiguaLarger species, HL 0.66–0.68, HW 0.52–0.54, SL 0.44–0.48, HS 0.590–0.610, PeH 0.40–0.43; with petiole node relatively broader, PeNI 72–79, DPeI 168–188. In dorsal view maximum width of first gastral tergite is subequal to or slightly greater than width of second tergite at its midlength. Subpetiolar process an elongate low lobe that has a short but distinct ascending angle at about the midlength of the sternite. Full adult colour light brown
Ethiopia - exigua
12 Hypoponera tectaWith head in full-face view the mid-point of the anterior clypeal margin is overhung by a small but conspicuous, acutely projecting sharp denticle that arises from the mid-line of the clypeus just behind the margin. In profile the denticle is seen to be the projecting sharp apex of the mid-clypeal ridge. Colour not stated
Kenya - tecta
-- With head in full-face view the mid-point of the anterior clypeal margin blunt and rounded, without trace of a projecting acute denticle
13
13 Petiole node in profile relatively shorter and higher, LPeI 35–38; in dorsal view petiole node relatively shorter and broader, DPeI179–200. Scape relatively short, SI 81–85, SL/HL 0.66–0.68
Full adult colour: cephalic dorsum black; alitrunk, petiole and gaster dark brown [no illustration available]
Ethiopia - jocosa
-- Petiole node in profile relatively longer and lower, LPeI 43–50; in dorsal view petiole node relatively longer and narrower, DPeI 137–170. Scape usually relatively longer, SI 82–93, SL/HL 0.64–0.75; if SI<85 or SL/HL <0.68 then DPeI in range 140–165 14
14 Hypoponera mixtaWith petiole node in profile the anterior and posterior faces inclined and obviously convergent dorsally. Larger species, HL 0.68–0.74, HS 0.620–0.665, SL 0.50–0.54, HFL 0.52–0.54. Colour not stated.
Kenya & Tanzania - mixta
-- With petiole node in profile the anterior and posterior faces parallel or nearly so, at most only very slightly convergent dorsally. Smaller species, HL 0.58–0.68, HS 0.525–0.620, SL0.40–0.48, HFL 0.39–0.48 15
15 Hypoponera quaestioIn profile dorsum of first gastral tergite, discounting the apical margin, densely pubescent but without conspicuous erect hairs; at most one or two minute standing hairs present that appear more like erect pubescence than hairs; dorsum of second tergite the same. Petiole node relatively broad, PeNI 76, DPeI 172. Colour brown.
Tanzania - quaestio
-- In profile dorsa of first and second gastral tergites, discounting the apical margins, densely pubescent and also with numerous conspicuous short standing hairs that are usually easily distinguished from the pubescence. Petiole node relatively narrower, PeNI 65–74, DPeI 140–165 16
16 Hypoponera surdaPetiole node in dorsal view thickly D-shaped, with a strongly convex anterior margin. Petiole larger, PeS 0.297–0.317 (PeNL 0.19–0.21, PeH 0.40–0.45, PeNW 0.28–0.30). Head larger, HS 0.585–0.620 (HL 0.63–0.68, HW 0.52–0.56). SL/HL 0.71– 0.75. Colour not stated.
Kenya - surda
-- Petiole node in dorsal view not thickly D-shaped, with a shallowly convex anterior margin. Petiole smaller, PeS 0.237–0.283 (PeNL 0.15–0.19, PeH 0.34–0.40, PeNW 0.24–0.28). Head smaller, HS 0.525–0.580 (HL 0.58–0.64, HW 0.46–0.52). SL/HL 0.66–0.72.
17
17 Hypoponera ursaFuniculus segments 7–10 all conspicuously broader than long: the sum of the widths of funiculus segments 7–10, divided by the sum of their lengths is1.60 or more [no modern illustration available; too difficult] Colour (Santschi, 1924b) quite dark brown, appendages and apex of gaster dull yellow
Congo Basin - ursa
-- Hypoponera jeanneliFuniculus segments 7–10 gradually increase in width apically: the sum of the widths of funiculus segments 7–10, divided by the sum of their lengths, is 1.50 or less [too difficult], Colour (Santschi, 1935b) clear chestnut brown, head and gaster darker
Congo Basin east to Tanzania - jeanneli
17A Hypoponera jeanneliSignificantly darker and shinier
Revived from B&F.
Congo Basin east to Tanzania - abyssinica
-- Hypoponera imatongicaYellow-brown, with darker head
Revived from B&F.
South Sudan - imatongica
18 Either: disc of second gastral tergite (Abd. IV) with sharply incised discrete small punctures that are separated from each other by at least the diameter of the punctures, the spaces between punctures glassy smooth; entire surface without a reticulate-punctate or microreticulate appearance.
Or: in dorsal view the maximum width of the first gastral tergite (Abd. III) is greater than the width of the second gastral tergite at its midlength, usually obviously so; or usually both of these
19
-- Either: disc of second gastral tergite (Abd. IV) appears reticulate-punctate, microreticulate or with crowded superficial punctures whose margins are nearly confluent, so that the surface appears disorganised; without discrete small punctures separated by distinct smooth broad spaces.
Or: in dorsal view the maximum width of the first gastral tergite (Abd. III) is usually less than the width of the second gastral tergite at its midlength, at most the two are subequal; or usually both of these
23
19 Hypoponera demaWith head in full-face view the mid-point of the anterior clypeal margin with a small, sharp denticle; in profile this is seen as the termination of a raised, sharp cuticular ridge on the anterior clypeal midline. Colour not stated.
Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda - dema
-- With head in full-face view the mid-point of the anterior clypeal margin without a denticle
20
20 Smaller species: HL 0.53–0.64, HW 0.40–0.48, SL 0.32–0.43, HFL 0.33–0.45. With gaster in profile the dorsum of the first tergite with abundant short, bristly erect setae that are clearly distinguished from the underlying pubescence 21
-- Larger species: HL 0.65–0.79, HW 0.50–0.60, SL 0.46–0.58, HFL 0.47–0.60. With gaster in profile the dorsum of the first tergite without, or with only very sparse, short setae; those that are present are scarcely distinguished from the dense elevated pubescence 22
21 Hypoponera molestaPetiole node relatively very broad, PeNI 89–94, DPeI 170–180. Colour not stated.
Congo Basin - molesta
-- Hypoponera venustaPetiole node relatively narrower, PeNI 76–82, DPeI 139–160. Colour not stated.
Rwanda - venusta
22 Hypoponera segnisPetiole node relatively very broad, PeNI 89–94, DPeI 170–180 [may = tristis]
Congo, Rwanda, Kenya - segnis
-- Hypoponera tristisPetiole node relatively narrower, PeNI 76–82, DPeI 139–160. Colour not stated.
Rwanda, Uganda - tristis
23 Hypoponera angustataApex of antenna very distinctly with only 4 enlarged funicular segments that form an obvious club. Minute species, HW 0.27– 0.35. Full adult colour yellow.
Guinea to Kenya - angustata
-- Apex of antenna gradually incrassate, the incrassation involving 5–6 segments, without an obvious 4-segmented club. Size vary from minute to moderate, HW 0.30–0.57, but usually >0.35 24
24 Petiole node in dorsal view narrow, relatively long in proportion to its width, as long as broad or only slightly broader than long; DPeI 100–120 25
-- Petiole node in dorsal view shorter in proportion to its width, usually very obviously broader than long; DPeI 125 or more, usually considerably greater 28
25 Larger species, HL 0.54 or more, HW 0.40 or more, SL 0.36 or more, WL 0.70 or more, PeH 0.30 or more; HS 0.475–0.565 and PeS 0.240–0.260. Scape relatively long, SI 90–94 and SL/HL 0.65–0.72 26
-- Smaller species, HL 0.47 or less, HW 0.37 or less, SL 0.30 or less, WL 0.61 or less, PeH 0.24 or less; HS 0.350–0.420 and PeS 0.155–0.200. Scape relatively short, SI 73–85 and SL/HL 0.57–0.66 27
26 Hypoponera bulawayensisWidth of petiole node in dorsal view about three-quarters the width of the pronotum, PeNI 70–76; in profile petiole relatively low in relation to its length, LPeI 67. Smaller species, HW 0.40–0.41, SL 0.36–0.37 (SL/HL 0.65–0.69). Anterodorsal and posterodorsal angles of petiole node in profile about equally rounded. Full adult colour yellow
Tanzania, Zimbabwe - bulawayensis
-- Hypoponera regisWidth of petiole node in dorsal view about half the width of the pronotum, PeNI 54; in profile petiole relatively high in relation to its length, LPeI 58. Larger species, HW 0.49, SL 0.66 (SL/HL 0.72). Anterodorsal angle of petiole node in profile distinctly more broadly rounded than posterodorsal angle. Full adult colour yellow.
Tanzania - regis
27 Hypoponera blandaPetiole node broader, PeNW 0.18–0.20, PeNI 69–77, LPeI 61–70. Scape slightly longer, SI 80–85, SL/HL 0.61–0.66. DPeI 120 is bottom of range for the species (DPeI 120–136). Subpetiolar process absent. Full adult colour yellow.
Also at couplet 40
CAR, Uganda - blanda
-- Hypoponera perparvaPetiole node narrower, PeNW 0.14–0.16, PeNI 61–67, LPeI 52–62. Scape slightly shorter, SI 73–81, SL/HL 0.57–0.60. DPeI 120 is top of range for the species (DPeI 108–120). Subpetiolar process present. Full adult colour yellow.
Congo, Tanzania, South Africa - perparva
28 Posterior face of petiole node with a transverse groove or impression above the posterior peduncle; the upper margin of the groove is dark, conspicuous in posterodorsal view and located well above the peduncle (South African species) [unworkable 29
-- Posterior face of petiole node without a transverse groove or impression above the peduncle, or at most with a weak ridge immediately adjacent to the peduncle [unworkable] 30
29 Hypoponera natalensisPetiole in dorsal view relatively broad, DPeI 160–187; in profile somewhat shorter and higher, LPeI 41–47. Scape slightly longer, SL 0.42–0.50, SI 84–90. Dorsum of alitrunk usually with a vestigial remnant of the metanotal groove. Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral tergite usually long, coarse and strongly developed [Bolton & Fisher diagnosis questionable]. Full adult colour yellowish brown to light brown (B7F). Santschi (1914e) had colour testaceous red, with a brown patch on the middle of the face; mandibles, antennae, legs and gastral apex yellowish
South Africa - natalensis
-- Hypoponera austraPetiole in dorsal view relatively narrow, DPeI 137–150; in profile somewhat longer and lower, LPeI 47–56. Scape slightly shorter, SL 0.38–0.42, SI 80–84. Dorsum of alitrunk usually without trace of the metanotal groove. Cross-ribs at base of cinctus of second gastral tergite short, delicately developed. Full adult colour yellowish brown to light brown.
South Africa - austra
30 Hypoponera hawkesiPetiole node in dorsal view very narrow in relation to width of pronotum, PeNI 56–59. Scape relatively long, SI 90–94. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, projects slightly beyond the midpoint of the posterior margin of the head; SL/HL 0.74–0.78. Full adult colour yellow.
Uganda, Tanzania - hawkesi
-- Petiole node in dorsal view broader in relation to width of pronotum, PeNI 63–81; if PeNI 70 or less then SI <90. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, usually distinctly fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin of the head, only very rarely just touches it; SL/HL0.60–0.72 31
31 Petiole in profile relatively tall and more slender, LPeI37–44 32
-- Petiole in profile relatively low and more stout, LPeI46–70
35
32 On the second gastral tergite (Abd. IV) the cross-ribs at the base of the cinctus very coarse, long and stout, widely spaced and extremely conspicuous. Full adult colour light brown to brown (as fatiga?). [no illustration available]
Ethiopia - juxta
-- On the second gastral tergite (Abd. IV) the cross-ribs at the base of the cinctus fine and delicate, short and slender, closely packed and often inconspicuous 33
33 Hypoponera pulchraHead large, HS 0.575, HW 0.51; scape longer, SL 0.44; petiole node slightly more slender, DPeI 147, PeNI 66. Full adult colour dull yellow
Also at couplet 36
Equatorial Guinea - pulchra
-- Head smaller, HS 0.410–0.495, HW 0.36–0.44; scape shorter, SL 0.28–0.38; petiole node slightly more broad, DPeI 155–180, PeNI 67–78 34
34 Hypoponera lassaLateroventral surfaces of head densely and conspicuously punctate, almost reticulate-punctate, the punctures closely packed and sharply defined; diameters of individual punctures generally greater than the distances between them. Slightly larger species: HW 0.40–0.44, HS 0.455–0.495, SL 0.34–0.38, PeH 0.33–0.38, PeS 0.227–0.260. Scape averages slightly longer, SI 84–90. Full adult colour light brown, the appendages lighter.
Ivory Coast, Ghana - lassa
-- Hypoponera fatigaLateroventral surfaces of head feebly and inconspicuously punctate, the punctures small, superficial, weakly defined and widely separated; diameters of individual punctures less than the distances between them. Slightly smaller species: HW 0.36– 0.40, HS 0.410–0.450, SL 0.28–0.33, PeH 0.27–0.31, PeS 0.195–0.220. Scape averages slightly shorter, SI 78–86. Full adult colour light brown to brown West Africa to Tanzania - fatiga
35 Hypoponera defessaClypeus in oblique dorsolateral view without a raised median longitudinal ridge or crest. Lateroventral surfaces of head finely but quite densely and conspicuously punctate. Full adult colour light brown, the appendages lighter.
Ivory Coast to Gabon - defessa
-- Clypeus in oblique dorsolateral view with a raised median longitudinal ridge or crest. Lateroventral surfaces of head almost entirely smooth and polished, with only a very few minute, inconspicuous and widely separated punctulae 36
36 Hypoponera pulchraHead large, HS 0.575, HW 0.51. Full adult colour dull yellow
Also at couplet 33
Equatorial Guinea - pulchra
-- Head smaller,HS 0.365–0.530, HW 0.33–0.46 37
37 With petiole node in profile either the anterior and posterior faces are vertical and parallel, not convergent dorsally, so that length of node just above the level of the anterior tubercle is about the same as at the points where the anterior and posterior faces meet the dorsum; or the anterior face is vertical and the posterior face is very slightly inclined towards it
38
-- With petiole node in profile either the anterior and posterior faces are both inclined and converge dorsally, so that length of node just above the level of the anterior tubercle is distinctly greater than at the points where the anterior and posterior faces meet the dorsum; or the posterior face is vertical and the anterior face is inclined towards it, usually quite distinctly so
40
38 Smaller species with petiole node narrower with respect to the pronotum; HL 0.46, SL 0.28, WL 0.56, PeH 0.24, PeNW 0.17 (PeS 0.180); PeNI 65. Full adult colour brown [no illustration available]
Uganda - rigida
-- Larger species with petiole node broader with respect to the pronotum; HL 0.52–0.56, SL 0.32–0.38, WL 0.67–0.70, PeH 0.28–0.32, PeNW 0.20–0.25 (PeS 0.210–0.257); PeNI 70–78 39
39 Hypoponera meridiaWith petiole in profile the posterodorsal angle distinctly rounded, not a right-angle; posterodorsal angle more broadly rounded than the anterodorsal angle. First gastral tegite (Abd. III) in dorsal view broader than long. Width of first gastral tergite at posterior margin ca 1.4 the width at the anterior margin in dorsal view. Scape both absolutely and relatively slightly shorter, SL 0.32–0.36, SI 82–89, SL/HL 0.62–0.65. Full adult colour yellow to yellowish brown.
Also at couplet 59
South Africa - meridia
-- Hypoponera abeilleiWith petiole in profile the posterodorsal angle a right-angle or very nearly so; anterodorsal angle distinctly more broadly rounded than the posterodorsal angle. First gastral tergite (Abd. III) in dorsal view slightly longer than broad. Width of first gastral tergite at posterior margin ca 1.6 the width at the anterior margin in dorsal view. Scape both absolutely and relatively slightly longer, SL 0.37–0.38, SI 95, SL/HL 0.68–0.69. Full adult colour light brownish yellow.

Circum-Mediterranean - abeillei
40 Hypoponera blandaPetiole in profile relatively lower and longer, LPeI 61–70. DPeI not greater than 136 (DPeI range 120–136). Petiole in profile without a ventral process or at most with a minute, denticle-like projection. Full adult colour yellow.
Also at couplet 29
CAR & Uganda - blanda
-- Petiole in profile relatively higher and shorter, LPeI 47–59. DPeI often greater than 136 (DPeI range 125–173). Petiole in profile with a ventral process of some form present 
41
41 Hypoponera cammerunensisLarger species, HS 0.470–0.530. [If HS is in the range 0.470–0.480 then SI 74–80, DPeI 156–167 and PeS 0.237–0.243. Full adult colour yellow.
Congo Basin to Uganda - camerunensis
-- Smaller species, HS 0.365–0.470. [If HS is in the range 0.460–0.470 then SI 81–90, DPeI 125–157 and PeS 0.213–0.230.]
42
42 Hypoponera orbaWith the following combination of indices: LPeI 47 and DPeI 150–157 and SI 90–92. In dorsal view the sides of the second gastral tegite (Abd. IV) are straight and parallel; the posttergite, from the posterior margin of the cinctus to the apex, is slightly longer than broad. Full adult colour yellow. .
. Hypoponera orba Eritrea - orba
-- With the following combination of indices: LPeI 50–59 and DPeI 125–150 and SI 74–89. In dorsal view the sides of the second gastral tegite (Abd. IV) are shallowly convex; the posttergite, from the posterior margin of the cinctus to the apex, is slightly broader than long
43
43 Hypoponera coecaWith petiole in profile the posterodorsal angle distinctly rounded, not a right-angle; posterodorsal angle more broadly rounded than the anterodorsal angle. First gastral tegite (Abd. III) in dorsal view broader than long. Width of first gastral tergite at posterior margin ca 1.4 the width at the anterior margin in dorsal view. Scape both absolutely and relatively slightly shorter, SL 0.32–0.36, SI 82–89, SL/HL 0.62–0.65. Full adult colour yellow. Pan-African - coeca
-- Hypoponera inaudaxWith petiole in profile the posterodorsal angle a right-angle or very nearly so; anterodorsal angle distinctly more broadly rounded than the posterodorsal angle. First gastral tergite (Abd. III) in dorsal view slightly longer than broad. Width of first gastral tergite at posterior margin ca 1.6 the width at the anterior margin in dorsal view. Scape both absolutely and relatively slightly longer, SL 0.37–0.38, SI 95, SL/HL 0.68–0.69. Full adult colour yellow. Guinea to Kenya - inaudax
-- Hypoponera myrmicariaeSmaller than coeca with a somewhat thicker petiole
Pan-African - myrmicariae
. Cinctus of the second gastral tergite smooth and shining .
44 Metanotal groove sharply and conspicuously present in dorsal view as a depressed transverse groove that clearly interrupts the surface 
45
-- Metanotal groove absent or vestigial in dorsal view; at most there may be a slight change of angle between mesonotum and propodeum, or a superficial transverse line, or there may be the merest vestige of a shallow depression, but the surface is not clearly interrupted by a transverse groove
51
45 Hypoponera petiolataDorsum of alitrunk sculptured with fine transverse rugulae. Colour entirely deep yellow (Bernard, 1952). Photographs of fragmented worker on species page.
Guinea - petiolata
-- Dorsum of alitrunk usually with fine punctate sculpture that varies in intensity and density between species; sometimes the punctate sculpture may be almost effaced, leaving the surface mostly smooth and shining; never with transverse rugulae
46
46 Mesopleuron with very fine, dense punctulate-shagreenate to minutely striolate sculpture at least on the upper half; sculpture frequently blankets the entire sclerite and renders it opaque; upper half of mesopleuron without unsculptured shining areas
47
-- Mesopleuron almost entirely unsculptured and shining, at most with a few scattered small punctures on a smooth surface; without fine dense sculpture that blankets at least the upper half of the sclerite and renders it opaque
48
47 Hypoponera eduardiFull adult colour dark brown to almost black. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, touches or slightly exceeds midpoint of posterior margin of head, SL/HL 0.72–0.78. Propodeal dorsum densely superficially punctulate to reticulate-punctulate. Slightly larger species with longer scape and broader petiole node, HL 0.63–0.70, HW 0.54–0.59, SL 0.47–0.54, SI 86–93, DPeI 167–188 Tramp species & South Africa - eduardi
-- Hypoponera nirvarianaFull adult colour dull yellow. Apex of scape, when laid straight back from its insertion, distinctly fails to reach midpoint of posterior margin of head, SL/HL 0.68. Propodeal dorsum almost smooth, with scattered minute superficial punctulae. Slightly smaller species with shorter scape and narrower petiole node, HL 0.56, HW 0.46, SL 0.38, SI 83, DPeI 157
Canary Islands (Teneriffe) - nivariana
48 Hypoponera dulcisPetiole node scale-like and with a narrow dorsal surface; petiole relatively higher and shorter, LPeI 32–39. In dorsal view node relatively thin from front to back, DPeI 180–218. Side of alitrunk with a suture between mesonotum and mesopleuron. In dorsal view the maximum width of the first gastral tergite is equal to or slightly greater than the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Scape relatively longer, SI 90–102 and SL/HL 0.74–0.83
Forel described the type as reddish or red-yellow, head and antennal club rather brownish, gaster yellow brown
Bolton & Fisher synonymies include muscicola, lamottei, mandibularis and villiersi
Pan-African - dulcis
. Hypoponera dulcisThe workers from Congo that I regard as lotti are very dark brown quite distinct from the chestnut-brown dulcis from Gabon; this is as described by Weber (1942a); synonymised with dulcis by Bolton & Fisher (2011)
Pan-African - lotti
. Hypoponera rothkirchiDescribed as yellow-gold, with yellow antenna, by Wasmann (1918b); synonymised with dulcis by Bolton & Fisher (2011) Pan-African - rothkirchi
-- Petiole node not scale-like and with a well-defined, flat to convex dorsal surface; petiole relatively lower and longer, LPeI 43– 61. In dorsal view node relatively thick from front to back, DPeI 120–165. Side of alitrunk without a suture between mesonotum and mesopleuron (note: this suture present in intercastes). In dorsal view the maximum width of the first gastral tergite is distinctly less than the width of the second tergite at its midlength. Scape relatively shorter, SI 75–87 and SL/HL 0.61–0.70
49
49 Hypoponera ragusaiPetiole node in profile relatively longer and lower, LPeI 55–61; in dorsal view the petiole node relatively longer from front to back, DPeI 120–140. Colour testaceous (Emery, 1894)
Ethiopia, Kenya, circum-Mediterranean - ragusai
-- Petiole node in profile relatively shorter and higher, LPeI 43–53; in dorsal view the petiole node relatively shorter from front to back, DPeI 140–165 or more
50
50 Hypoponera punctatissimaPetiole in profile with anterior and posterior faces only weakly convergent dorsally, so that dorsal length of node is only slightly less than length immediately above the anterior tubercle. Dorsal midline of head with a narrow impression that extends back from the frontal lobes and reaches beyond the midlength of the vertex. Eye small but distinct, far forward on side of head.
Full adult colour varies from dull brownish yellow to very dark brown or almost black. In general, workers at the bottom end of the size range given above tend to be lighter and the colour becomes darker with increasing size, but this is by no means an entirely consistent rule.
HL 0.56–0.72, HW 0.46–0.60, PW 33-43, CI 79–87, SI 75–84, PeNI 63–74, LPeI 43–53, DPeI 140–165
Tramp species - punctatissima
-- Hypoponera sinuosaPetiole in profile with anterior and posterior faces very strongly convergent dorsally, so that dorsal length of node is less than half the length immediately above the anterior tubercle. Dorsal midline of head without a narrow impression that reaches beyond the midlength of the vertex. Eye a minute vestigial blister, difficult to discern. Full adult colour dark brown, blackish brown, or mostly black; sometimes with reddish areas
Guinea - sinuosa
50A Hypoponera hlavaciPetiole scale a thick node, almost as wide seen from above as high, with the anterior and posterior faces in profile completely parallel, sides also vertircal rounding apically into a shallowly convex dorsum, longitudinal thickness about 3/4 of transverse width; apex higher than the level of the propodeum dorsum; propodeum declivity laterally bordered and shallowly concave; posterior face of petiole node totally smooth; first segment of gaster distinctly wider than second; head with weakly convex sides and even more weakly convex occiput; clypeus with strong median carina; without eyes; almost totally lacking in erect hairs; head with quite coarse, dense spiculate sculpturation; rest of body shiny brown but with faint surface roughening rather than sculpturation, appendages contrasting orange-yellow
HL 0.72, HW 0.60, SL 0.50, PW 0.38, WL 1.00;  CI 78, SI 84, LPeI 45 PeNI 90 DPeI 188
South Africa - hlavaci
. Metanotal groove absent or vestigial in dorsal view .
51 Hypoponera productaScape relatively longer, SI 99–108. DPeI 135–155. Apex of scape, when laid straight back in full-face view, just touches the midpoint of the posterior margin of the head. Colour not stated.
Cameroun, Gabon - producta
-- Scape relatively shorter, SI 78–96. If SI in range 90–96 then either DPeI >160, or apex of scape, when laid straight back in full-face view, fails to reach the midpoint of the posterior margin of the head, or both of these 52
52 Disc of second gastral (Abd. IV) tergite finely, sharply punctate; the individual punctures are sharply incised, minute and separated by wide areas of glassy smooth cuticle; distance between punctures is distinctly greater than puncture diameters. In dorsal view width of second gastral tergite at its midlength is less than the maximum width of the first tergite 53
-- Disc of second gastral (Abd. IV) tergite microreticulate or superficially reticulate-punctate; individual punctures are expanded and superficial, their margins confluent and slightly raised to give a microreticulate effect; without areas of glassy smooth cuticle between isolated punctures. In dorsal view width of second gastral tergite at its midlength is at least equal to, and usually greater than, the maximum width of the first tergite
58
53 Petiole node in dorsal view short but very broad, DPeI 182–200 (mean=190)
54
-- Petiole node in dorsal view longer and narrower, DPeI 145–180 (mean=157)
55
54 Hypoponera importunaPetiole node in profile with anterior and posterior faces above level of anterior tubercle parallel or very nearly so; node longer, higher and broader, PeNL 0.20–0.22, PeH 0.48–0.53, PeNW 0.38–0.41 (PeS 0.360–0.383); in dorsal view node relatively broader with respect to pronotum, PeNI 85–95. Full adult colour of head and alitrunk dark reddish brown Gabon, CAR, Kenya - importuna
-- Hypoponera comisPetiole node in profile with anterior and posterior faces above level of anterior tubercle converging dorsally; node shorter, lower and narrower, PeNL 0.16–0.17, PeH 0.39–0.41, PeNW 0.29–0.32 (PeS 0.280–0.297); in dorsal view node relatively narrower with respect to pronotum, PeNI 75–82. Full adult colour of head and alitrunk blackish brown to black Tanzania - comis
55 Larger species, HL 0.58 or more, HW 0.46 or more, SL 0.38 or more, PrW 0.35 or more, PeH 0.35 or more; HS 0.520 or more, PeS 0.280 or more
56
-- Smaller species, HL 0.53 or less, HW 0.42 or less, SL 0.36 or less, PrW 0.32 or less, PeH 0.32 or less; HS 0.470 or less, PeS 0.250 or less
57
56 Hypoponera occidentalisWith petiole in profile the posterior face of the node vertical and straight, the anterior and posterior faces approximately parallel; anterodorsal and posterodorsal angles of node about equally bluntly rounded and the dorsum between them convex. Petiole slightly higher, PeH 0.42–0.52. Generally averaging slightly larger, HW 0.48–0.60, SL 0.44–0.55, HFL 0.46–0.58
Colour dull reddish-brown, head lighter and more shiny (Bernard, 1952)
Pan-African - occidentalis
-- Hypoponera odiosaWith petiole in profile the posterior face of the node weakly convex and converging on the vertical anterior face dorsally; anterodorsal angle of node distinctly more sharply developed than posterodorsal angle and the dorsum between them flat. Petiole slightly lower, PeH 0.38–0.43. Generally averaging slightly smaller, HW 0.46–0.49, SL 0.38–0.44, HFL 0.42–0.47. Colour not stated
Cameroun - odiosa
57 Hypoponera disWith base of gaster in profile the prora present, visible as a short vertical raised crest or rim that extends from just below the helcium to the anteroventral corner of the first gastral sternite and separating the anterior and lateral surfaces of the sternite; prora darker in colour than the cuticle posterior to it. Full adult colour light to medium brown
Tanzania - dis
-- Hypoponera aproraWith base of gaster in profile the prora absent; anterior and lateral surfaces of first gastral sternite meet in a blunt angle but there is no raised crest or rim separating the two surfaces. Full adult colour glossy dark brown to blackish brown.
Tanzania - aprora
. Disc of second gastral (Abd. IV) tergite microreticulate or superficially reticulate-punctate .
58 Hypoponera leaPetiole node in profile relatively short and tall, LPeI 38–47; PeH 0.32–0.39. Full adult colour light brown, the appendages lighter.
West Africa to CAR - lepida = lea
-- Petiole node in profile relatively long and low, LPeI 52–65; PeH 0.26–0.32 59
59 Hypoponera meridiaWith petiole in profile the anterior and posterior faces of the node are parallel. Petiole larger, PeNL 0.18–0.20, PeH 0.30–0.32, PeNW 0.24–0.25 (PeS 0.240–0.257). Head relatively narrower and scape longer, CI 73–77, SI 82–86. Full adult colour yellow to yellowish brown.
Also at couplet 39
South Africa - meridia
-- Hypoponera obtunsaWith petiole in profile the anterior and posterior faces of the node are inclined and converge dorsally. Petiole smaller, PeNL 0.14–0.15, PeH 0.26–0.27, PeNW 0.20–0.21 (PeS 0.200–0.207). Head relatively broader and scape shorter, CI 80–82, SI 78– 80. Full adult colour yellow
Zimbabwe - obtunsa
Contents Genus Introduction
2013, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

href="hypoponera_key_2012.htm"