The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY MYRMICINAE - Genus Pongara Taylor & Braet new genus
Contents - Myrmicinae - MYRMICINAE Introduction

Pongara Taylor & Braet new genus

Type species Pongara pongarensis new species Taylor & Braet

In Tribe PHEIDOLINI (?) - the original definition of Pheidolini (Emery, 1877a: 72) was based solely on the queen.

Diagnostic Features - in full-face view head weakly cordiform. Head unusually large relative to the alitrunk. In frontal view the head shape is reminiscent of Rhoptromymrex species but members of that genus all have small eyes set behind the mid-point of the face. Eyes, large and ovoid, shallowly convex, set close to the anterior margin of the head, wholly anterior to the mid-point of the sides and on the sides of the head, the dorsum of the head being quite strongly convex. Mandibles subtriangular, dentate with a row of coarse peg-like teeth on the internal margin, apparently without a noticeably larger apical tooth. Median portion of clypeus projecting slightly over the basal borders of the mandibles when fully closed; anterior border weakly impressed medianly; possibly weakly bicarinate; anterior border with two pairs of long stout setae projecting forward, these are downcurved in lateral view; posterior margin shallowly arcuate. Frontal carinae cover condylar bulbs but are only faintly visible beyond that point. No distinguishable frontal notch. No ocelli visible. Dorsum of head with no erect pilosity but sparse coarse pubescence. Underside of head with several quite long hairs. Wholly shiny but with weak striation on frontal area and weak spiculation between the frons and the eyes.

Antenna similar in form to most Pheidole minors; 12-segmented with a 3-segmented club; scape barely reaching the occiput (most if not all Pheidole minors have the scape surpassing the occiput). Scape with a distinct basal curve then thickening progressively to the apex, with moderate decumbent pubescence. Funiculus in total slightly longer than the scape.

Promesonotum evenly domed, pronotum wholly shiny, mesonotum spiculate, weakly so on the dorsum. Propodeum with sloping dorsum and a very weakly angular transition into the sloping declivity, wholly unarmed; propodeal spiracle small, circular and set close to upper angle. Alitrunk without any erect hairs but sparse decumbent pubescence.

Pedicel of Pheidole form, with petiole profile a fairly low, narrow node, the anterior face a long curve, a distinct dorsum which slopes down to the near vertical posterior face, in dorsal view narrow and parallel-sided, also with a convex ventral process; postpetiole small and globular in all views; both nodes largely unsculptured.

Gaster much smaller than head or alitrunk, with first segment much larger than the rest combined, wholly shiny, with sparse semi-erect short hairs.
TL ca 1.7 mm; HW 0.48, HL 0.51, CI 88; SL 0.40, SI 91, PW 0.39, OI (eye length/HW) 0.30


{Pongara pongarensis}HOLOTYPE specimen worker only found. Collected at Pongara National Park, Gabon, by sweep netting in savannah; by Yves Braet, 22.vii.2006, 1400-1700 h.
Pongara is situated in the Estuary Province (Province de l'Estuaire) across the Komo Estuary from the capital Libreville; at 034'N-919'E.

Specimen deposited in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Following the standard keys to Myrmicinae from Africa (e.g. Bolton, 1994) ends at Pheidole. I have been able to compare it with the minors of over 50 African Pheidole and Pongara pongarensis is quite distinct from all, apart from the superficially similar minor worker of Pheidole termitophila but that has no sculpturation on the head and short, sharp, propodeal spines.

Other images can be seen in the folder at - {album}


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Contents MYRMICINAE Introduction
2007, 2010, 2012 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

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