Mesponera ambigua (André)
Type location Sierra
Leone (Pachycondyla ambigua
n. sp., André, 1890: 316, queen; in Euponera
(Brachyponera) Emery, 1901a: 47, reverted to Pachycondyla in
Bolton, 1995: 302; new placement by Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 110)
description is at . Note - there does not seem to be any
definitive description of the worker but the examples below seem to
have several features in common with the queen; i.e. apical segment of
funiculus relatively long (as long as three preceding together), long
mandible with 12 denticles apart from apical tooth; André, however,
gives the length of the queen as 5 mm. The photomontage of the
holotype, collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0101470,
confirms the size as correct.
specimens (as Mesoponera ambigua, Taylor, 1976: 25). WORKER. TL
4.02 mm, HL 1.18, HW 0.96, SL 0.87, PW 0.75 (in my guide as Mesoponera
ambigua). Colour very dark red-brown, lighter brown on extremities,
shiny. Dense pilosity except on propodeum. Mandibles large and elongate
triangular, with more than eight teeth. Clypeus longitudinally
carinate. Metanotal groove present and impressed. Propodeum compressed
above, considerably narrower in dorsal view than the pronotum,
posterior face concave. Petiole a thick scale, subpetiolar process with
an acute posterior angle.
Collected nesting in a dried cocoa pod on the ground, and active on the
ground and lower part of a cocoa tree. Nests also in leaf litter and
other dead wood on the ground.
These seem to match the general form and shape of the type queen.
Oxford University Museum
B Taylor det.
A Fotso Kuate
|Quadrat in forest
The photomontage is of a worker from Cameroun;
Awae II; collector A Fotso
Kuate (fk pachycondyla sp3).
Bolton (1995) there seems to be confusion with the
"unresolved synonym" Ponera ambigua, worker described from
Sudan (Weber, 1942a). In his key to Ponera (now all Hypoponera),
Bernard (1952) has TL 2.5 mm, colour yellow-brown; scape extending
beyond the posterior border of the head; eyes minimal and situated
towards the middle of the cheeks. Bernard had examined the material
collected by André and was obvious to me from the original description that
Weber described a genuinely separate species - that thought now (June 2014) has been confirmed, see Fisheropone
ambigua [former Hypoponera ambigua].
Collingwood (1985), reported it from Saudi Arabia,
noting that the eyes are small but visible.
In Ghana, Belshaw & Bolton (1994b) found 24
specimens in leaf litter at five sites - under cocoa at Ofinso
(2.xi.1992), and from primary forest at Sui River Forest Reserve
(1.x.1992), Mankrang Forest Reserve (11.iii.1992), Kade (12.x.1992) and
Atewa Forest Reserve (primary forest near Kibi, 2.iii.1992, and
Potrase, 24.iii.1992; logged forest near Sagymasi, 27.iii.1992).
photomontage is collated from the Antweb.org site at http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0102405
Collection Information: Specimen Code CASENT0102405; Locality Zaire
(Democratic Republic of the Congo): Bandundu: Kikwit Kinzambi;
Collection codes: ANTC4626; Date: 26 May 1984; Collected by: A.Dejean
[Note: this specimen cannot now (June 2014) be seen from the link but
does opne at http://www.antweb.org/bigPicture.do?name=casent0102405&shot=h&number=1
A specimen from Madagascar can be seen at http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0006209