Phrynoponera pulchella Bolton & Fisher , Bolton, B. & Fisher, B. L., 2008

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B. L., 2008, The Afrotropical ponerine ant genus Phrynoponera Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1892, pp. 35-52: 47-49

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Phrynoponera pulchella Bolton & Fisher

sp. n.

Phrynoponera pulchella Bolton & Fisher  HNS  sp. n.

(Figures 5a-d) Holotype worker. TL 11.1, HL 2.48, HW 2.56, CI 103, SL 2.04, SI 80, PW 2.04, WL 3.76, maximum diameter of eye 0.56, OI 22.

Mandible smooth with scattered setal pits, with 5 teeth, the basal tooth no more than a broad angle. Median portion of anterior clypeal margin with a small and extremely shallow median indentation which rounds broadly and evenly into the clypeal margin on each side; without a prominent tooth on each side of the midline. Dorsum of head near midline very finely and very densely rugulose, the narrow rugulae predominantly longitudinal but with some fine anastomoses; spaces between rugulae extremely finely reticulate-punctate to shagreenate. More laterally on cephalic dorsum, and behind the eyes, the reticulae are wider though no more strongly defined. Dorsum of mesosoma coarsely, irregularly reticulate-rugose, spaces between reticulae shagreenate. Metanotal groove in dorsal view visible laterally but obliterated towards central area of dorsum. Median strip of propodeal dorsum with pubescence that is much more dense than anywhere else on dorsum of mesosoma. Propodeal teeth in dorsal view short, broad at base and blunt apically. Petiole broad, width at base of spines ca. 2.00, surmounted by 5 spines that are all short and stout. Outer pair of petiolar spines the longest, broadly triangular and weakly divergent. Median spine only slightly longer than the flanking pair. Gastral tergites 1-3 shagreenate to extremely finely and densely reticulate-punctate, with scattered larger setal pits; tergites also densely clothed with subappressed to appressed pubescence. Setae on first gastral tergite suberect to subdecumbent, short, maximum length ca. 0.22.

Paratype workers. TL 11.5-12.0, HL 2.40-2.48, HW 2.40-2.62, CI 100-106, SL 1.92-2.04, SI 78-80, PW 1.88-1.96, WL 3.44-3.68, maximum diameter of eye 0.56-0.58, OI 22-23 (3 measured). As holotype but mandible with 3-5 teeth. In one specimen the left mandible has 5 teeth, the right mandible 3.

Holotype worker. Kenya: Kora Res., Tana River, 22.vii.1983, 0-100 m., no. 5c, Acacia-Commiphora scrub (N.M. Collins & M. Ritchie) ( BMNH).

Paratypes: 9 workers (2 dissected, on same pin), with the same data ( BMNH, CASC).

This large species is immediately identified by its unmodified clypeus, characteristic gastral sculpture, short stout petiolar spines and dense propodeal and gastral pubescence. It also retains traces of a stridulitrum, absent from all other known species.

Non-paratypic material examined. Kenya: Malindi Distr., Arabuko-Sokoke For. (Snelling & Martins). Tanzania: Mkomazi Game Res., nr Dindera Dam (A. Russell-Smith).


United Kingdom, London, The Natural History Museum [formerly British Museum (Natural History)]


USA, California, San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences