The Ants of Africa
Genus Hypoponera
Hypoponera lea (Santschi)

Hypoponera lea (Santschi)

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Sierra Leone (Ponera lea n. sp., Santschi, 1937g: 73, illustrated, worker) collected at Njala by E Hargreaves - fragmentary remains at
junior synonym lepida (Hypoponera lepida, Bolton & Fisher, 2011: 67, illustrated, worker) from Ghana, Ashanti, Juaso, 8.ix.1992, R Belshaw - see below and
worker only described (new combination in Hypoponera, Bolton, 1995) .

{Hypoponera lea}Santschi's (1937g) description is at {original description}. Santschi's (1938b) notes are at {original description}. It is curious that in a paper where he defined Hypoponera (see the Genus Introduction) Santschi did not consider lea as a member of the genus.

As shown below Gabon specimens collected by Yves Braet and mine from Nigeria match Santschi's description and drawings in all ways. Bolton & Fisher (2011: 112), who could locate only a badly damaged holotype, chose to decry Santschi's description. I quote "In the original (1937) figure there is no mesonotal-mesopleural suture indicated and the petiole node in profile appears relatively lower, longer and more broad-topped, generally resembling punctatissima. In the later (1938) figure, a mesonotal-mesopleural suture is very conspicuous and the node in profile appears higher, shorter and more narrowly rounded dorsally, altogether more like dulcis".

The workers I drew and photographed show variation in the development of the mesonotal-mesopleural suture that satisfies both Santschi's notes. My drawn specimen, let alone my published report, was not listed by Bolton & Fisher (2011: 112, nor under lepida on p 69).

I therefore regard H. lepida as a simple junior synonym of H. lea.

Bolton & Fisher's treatment can be found in

{Hypoponera lea}Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1976: 21). WORKER. TL 2.46 mm, HL 0.62, HW 0.5, SL 0.47, PW 0.34
Colour dark yellow-brown, shiny with relatively dense pilosity. Eyes small, 2-3 facets. Clypeus with short carina, not ridged in the middle. Dorsum of propodeum a little longer than the declivity, and with clear angle at junction (in part after Bernard, 1952).

Occasionally collected on cocoa trees, perhaps tending Homoptera. Nests in crevices and in ground at the base of trees (e.g. at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre, Coffee Block S8, in a dead tree stump).

Also found in Ghana cocoa leaf litter and nesting in dead wood on the ground at the Mampong Cemetery farm (Room, 1971), this is listed under lepida by Bolton & Fisher (2011).

Oxford University Museum specimens

Hypoponera lea
B Taylor det.
Y Braet
Gabon 229
0034' N
0919' E
Leaf litter, winkler funnel

{Hypoponera lea}The photomontage is of a worker from Gabon, Pongara National Park; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 229).

{Hypoponera lepida} The photomontage is from Bolton & Fisher (2011) and, as Hypoponera lepida, is also on

2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.