The Ants of Africa
Genus Hypoponera
Hypoponera punctatissima (Roger)

Hypoponera punctatissima (Roger)

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Germany (Ponera punctatissima, Roger, 1859: 246, illustrated, worker & queen; "in hothouses", ergatogyne male, Emery, 1909c: 373)
Junior synonyms
androgyna (Roger, 1859: 246, footnote, male; synonymy Emery & Forel, 1879: 455) from Germany;
exacta (Ponera punctatissima Roger var. exacta n. var. (= Ponera punctatissima Sants., 1921 non Roger), Santschi, 1923a: 134, worker; synonymy Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 71) from Tunisia, Hammamet, coll. F Santschi - see below
jugata (Ponera punctatissima Roger race P. jugata n. stirps, Forel, 1892l: 251, queen) from Madagascar - see
tarda (Ponera tarda, sp. n., Charsley, 1877: 162, worker & queen; synonymy Dalla Torre, 1893: 41) from Great Britain, location not given - see
all forms described (combination in Hypoponera, Taylor, 1967; new defintion Seifert, 2003b: 61) .

Synonymy in Bolton & Fisher (2011: 16) -

punctatissima (Roger, 1859)
= androgyna (Roger, 1859)
= tarda (Charsley, 1877) - see above link
= punctatissima r. jugata (Forel, 1892)
= ergatandria (Forel, 1893) - see ergatandria
= kalakauae (Forel, 1899) - see
= punctatissima subsp. schauinslandi (Emery, 1899) syn. rev. - see schauinslandi
= ergatandria subsp. bondroiti (Forel, 1911) syn. n. - see
= dulcis var. aemula (Santschi, 1911) syn. n. - see
= ergatandria st. cognata (Santschi, 1912) syn. n. - see cognata
= ragusai var. sordida (Santschi, 1914) syn. n. - see
= incisa (Santschi, 1914) syn. n. - see incisa
= sulcatinasis r. durbanensis (Forel, 1914) syn. n. - dark brown - see
= ergatandria r. petri (Forel, 1916) syn. n. - see petri
= brevis (Santschi, 1921) syn. n. - see brevis
= punctatissima v. exacta (Santschi, 1923) - see below
= mina (Wheeler, 1927) - no images on Antweb (January 2015)
= argonautorum (Arnol’di, 1932) syn. n. - no images on Antweb (January 2015)
= mumfordi (Wheeler, 1933) - no images on Antweb (January 2015)
= mesoepinotalis (Weber, 1942) syn. n. - no images on Antweb (January 2015)
= breviceps (Bernard, 1953) syn. n. - see breviceps
= ursoidea (Bernard, 1953) syn. n. - see ursoidea
= sulcitana (Stefani, 1970) syn. n. - no images on Antweb (January 2015)

{Hypoponera punctatissima}Roger's (1859, 1860) description is at {original description}. Charsley's (1877) description of Ponera tarda is at {original description}. Forel's (1892l) description of jugata is at {original description}. Emery (1909c: 373) gave an illustrated description, this is at {original description}. Santschi (1921e) gave an illustrated description, this is at {original description}. Santschi (1923a) gave a further note, with a naming of exacta, this is at {original description}. He accepted that the length of the scape varied between populations and was often shorter than in his (1921e) drawing, which he said was of exacta.

Bernard's key (1952, now probably incorrect) has it as - TL 2.5-3.0, head large, with convex sides; clypeus and thorax matt, dull red; mandibles with 5 large, spaced out, teeth.

Collingwood (1985, illustrated), reporting it from Saudi Arabia, noted that the frontal furrow on the face continues as a thin line.

{Hypoponera punctatissima}Seifert (2003b: 61ff - reported an analytical study of specimens previously identified as Hypoponera punctatissima or varieties. This led him to separate off Hypoponera schauinslandi (Emery) as a distinct sibling species, type location Hawaii,with an African synonym aemula, formerly Ponera dulcis var. aemula Santschi, type location Tanzania. Also Hypoponera indifferens Forel (1895), type location Madagascar. (Forel, 1895c: 245, worker & queen). Seifert gave a review of the habitat requirements of punctatisssima and schauinslandi in Europe north of 40° latitude. This strongly suggests punctatisssima is endogenous to temperate Europe, i.e. tolerant of relatively cool, dry climates. H. schauinslandi is found only in hothouse situations in Europe, with air temperatures constantly above 19°C (usually between 22°C and 27°C) and appears to have its origins in the humid tropics. Thus Seifert characterized the latter as a "tropical, cosmopolitan, tramp species".

My feeling, therefore, is that the reports of H. punctatissima from sub-Saharan Africa, including my own from Nigeria, are very likely to be of H. schauinslandi.

Seifert (2003b) unfortunately chose to use a set of different measurements, or at least to use different names for the measurements. Thus -
CL = maximum cephalic length in median line (i.e similar to HL but taken from the lowest point of any concavity of the occipital margin to the upper clypeal prtrusion
CW = maximum cephalic width, i.e = HW
CS = cephalic index, arithmetic mean of CL and CW
Eyepos = difference between a posterior reference point, apparently where a transverse line from the eye centres transect the median longitudinal line of the head

{Hypop[onera punctatissima exactaThe photomontage of a syntype worker of exacta is collated

{Hypoponera punctatissimaNigeria specimens (as Hypoponera punctatissina, Taylor, 1976: 21). WORKER. TL 2.46 mm, HL 0.58, HW 0.47, SL 0.39, PW 0.34
Seifert measurements: CS = 525 CL/CW 123 SL/CS = 0.742)
Colour dark yellow-brown, shiny with dense pilosity. Eyes absent. Metanotal groove distinct.
I collected it from in an old tree stump, in dead wood and in soil, some 5-7 cm deep, the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre.

Inexplicably not reported by Bolton & Fisher (2011: 92). Prior to their revision, I had placed the specimens as H. schauinslandi.

Possibly, or even probably, the species reported as H. punctatissima as found in Ghana in open ground under Lantana tangle; and from leaf litter and nesting in dead wood on the ground under cocoa at the Mampong Cemetery farm (Room, 1971). This likelihood may also relate to the findings Wheeler (1922) listed from Guinea (Conakry, by F. Silvestri) and Nigeria (Olokemeji and Lagos, by F. Silvestri).

Oxford University Museum specimens

Hypoponera punctatissima
B Taylor det.

Y Braet
Gabon 194

00°34' N
09°19' E
Leaf litter, winkler funnel
Hypoponera punctatissima
B Taylor det.
A Fotso Kuate
Pachycondyla sp11
Awae II
03°54'30" N
11°25'58" E
Quadrat in fallow
Hypoponera punctatissima
B Taylor det.
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
2°28'49.5" N
16°12'55.9" E
392 m; nuit : 17h45 - 6h30, UV, Azobé, canopée (35 m), camp de base lac 1

{Hypoponera punctatissima}The photomontage is of a worker from Gabon, Pongara National Park; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 194).

{Hypoponera punctatissima}The photomontage is of a worker from Cameroun, Awae II; collector A Fotso Kuate.

. Previously listed by me as H. brevis

{Hypoponera punctatissima}The photomontage is collated from (shown in Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 89)

{Hypoponera punctatissima}The photomontage is of a queen from Central African Republic, Dzanga-Sangha NP; collector Philippe Annoyer.

A similar queen from Mauritius can be seen at

© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.