Hypoponera ursa (Santschi)

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B. L., 2011, Taxonomy of Afrotropical and West Palaearctic ants of the ponerine genus Hypoponera Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 2843, pp. 1-118: 110

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Hypoponera ursa (Santschi)


Hypoponera ursa (Santschi)  HNS 

Ponera ursa Santschi  HNS  , 1924: 197. Syntype workers and queen, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Ruwenzori, 2000 m (Bequaert) (NHMB) [examined]. [Combination in Ponera (Hypoponera)  HNS  : Santschi, 1938: 79; in Hypoponera  HNS  : Bolton, 1995: 216.] (See note.)

NOTE. Both syntype workers of ursa  HNS  are damaged. The head and prothorax of one is broken from the remainder of the mesosoma and petiole and mounted separately. The gaster of this specimen is on a separate card, mounted above the second syntype. The latter has the head detached, with much of the right hand side embedded in glue. The only funiculus that remains for examination is on this second specimen and is in the glue, which has probably saved it from damage. Santschi (1935: 262) presented figures supposed to represent ursa  HNS  (figs 3a,b) and jeanneli  HNS  (figs 3 c–e). Of these, fig. 3c is supposed to represent the antenna of jeanneli  HNS  , which is depicted with very broad funicular segments. This is supported in the text by the statement that “ funicular segments 2 to 10 are about twice broader than long. ” This statement does not match the available syntype of jeanneli  HNS  , but does correspond to the shape seen in the syntype of ursa  HNS  that retains a complete funiculus. It is interesting to note that on the previous page, Santschi (1935: 261) records ursa  HNS  from Mt Elgon, also the type-locality of jeanneli  HNS  , and it is suspected that he may have confused his specimens when he came to describe jeanneli  HNS  . The Mt Elgon specimen of ursa  HNS  was not found in the course of this study, but jeanneli  HNS  is now known to be quite common in Kenya.

WORKER. Measurements: HL 0.62, HW 0.51, HS 0.565, SL 0.44, PrW 0.38, WL 0.80, HFL 0.42, PeNL 0.18, PeH 0.39, PeNW 0.26, PeS 0.277. Indices: CI 82, SI 86, PeNI 68, LPeI 46, DPeI 156.

Answers the description of jeanneli  HNS  and apparently is only separated from it by the proportions of the funicular segments, as noted in the key. This is not satisfactory because the degree of telescoping and variation of this character in ursa  HNS  cannot be assessed, and also the view of its funiculus is somewhat distorted by the glue in which it is embedded. For the present it is regarded, somewhat arbitrarily, as dividing the two taxa and this status will have to suffice until the fauna is better known. In ursa  HNS  the sum of the lengths of funicular segments 7 – 10, divided by the sum of their widths, gives a ratio of about 1.68 in the syntype. In jeanneli  HNS  and the closely related quaestio  HNS  the ratio is 1.20 – 1.46.