IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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Prionopelta majuscula Emery HNS

(Figs 8-10, 21)

Ponera simillima F. Smith HNS , 1860: 105 (junior primary homonym of Ponera simillima Smith HNS , F. 1860: 104; combination in Rhopalopone by Emery, 1900: 311).

Prionopelta majuscula Emery HNS , 1897: 595.

Prionopelta poultoni Donisthorpe HNS , 1932: 462 (replacement name for Ponera simillima Smith HNS , F. 1860: 105; junior synonym of P majuscula HNS by Brown, 1953: 12).

Renea testacea Donisthorpe HNS , 1947: 183 (queen described by Donisthorpe, 1948: 590; junior synonym of P. majuscula HNS by Brown, 1953: 12).

Examblyopone churchilli Donisthorpe HNS , 1949: 401 (junior synonym of P. majuscula HNS by Brown, 1951: 102).

Types. Ponera simillima F. Smith HNS : Holotype queen from New Guinea ( BMNH , not examined). Prionopelta majuscula Emery HNS : Worker and queen syntypes from Beliao, Madang, Papua New Guinea (as Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen) ( MSNG , not examined). Renea testacea Donisthorpe HNS : Worker and male syntypes from New Guinea ( BMNH , CASC , examined). Examblyopone churchilli Donisthorpe HNS : Holotype and paratype queens from New Guinea ( BMNH (holotype), CASC , examined).

Diagnosis. Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, generally rounded or at most with a very small, obscure tooth on each side. Dorsal mesosomal sculpturing reduced to minor irregularities. Size intermediate, head width between 0.49mm and 0.58mm.

Description. Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, generally rounded and lacking a tooth but occasionally with a very small, obscure tooth on each side. Dorsal mesosomal sculpturing reduced to minor irregularities consisting of fine punctuations. Lateral mesosomal sculpturing weakly developed on pronotum and anterior and ventral region of mesopleuron, dorsal region of mesopleuron and majority of propodeum smooth. Fenestra present within subpetiolar process. Colour pale yellow, queens sometimes yellow-brown.

Measurements. (n=5) CI 78-81; HL 0.61-0.69; HW 0.50-0.56; ML 0.74-0.79; PetL 0.18-0.20; PetW 0.25-0.29; PI 138-155; SI 61-66; SL 0.32-0.34; T 1W 0.36-0.43.

Material examined (in ANIC unless otherwise noted). Indonesia: Irian Jaya: Biak I., Kampong Landbouw(Gressitt,J.L.) ( ANIC , MCZC ); Cyclops Mts., Ifaar (Gressitt,J.L.) ( MCZC ); Maffin Baai (as Maffin Bay) (Ross,E.S.) ( MCZC ). Papua New Guinea: East Sepik: Wewak (Gressitt,J.L.) ( MCZC ); Madang: Uho Village, 20km SW Madang (Anderson,R.S.) ( CASC ); Milne Bay: Wakaiuna, Sewa Bay, Normanby I. (Brandt,W.W.) ( MCZC ); Morobe: 13mi. W Lae (Emerson,A.); Lasanga Is. (Fanning,I.); lower Busu River, Huon Pen. (Wilson,E.O.) ( MCZC ); N Solomons: Sohano (Kerruish,J.); Sohano, Bougainville (Kerruish,J.); New Britain: Keravat Ptn. (Gray,B. & Alikana); Western: Kiunga (Balogh,J.) ( MCZC ). Solomon Islands: Kolombangara, Base camp (Roy.Soc.Exped.Brit.Mus.1966-1); Kolombangara, near Kuzi (Lawrence,P.N.); Guadalcanal: Umasani R. (Greenslade,P.J.M.).

Comments. This species has been found in rainforests and on coral limestone on New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Nests have been found in rotten wood. All Solomon Islands records are based on queens (no workers are yet known).

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