Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
Costa Rica. In Costa Rica known from San Jose, La Palma, and Carara.
Eyes composed of 5-10 partially fused facets; eyes situated relatively far forward on sides of head; face with dense small puncta, sublucid; mesonotum weakly convex, with distinct impression at propodeal suture; dorsal face of propodeum strongly sloping and curving gradually into the posterior face; petiolar node high, thin, scale-like; color light red brown. Measurement data.
creola is similar to opacior in size and proportions, but (1) the color is light red brown; (2) the petiolar node is high, thin, and scale-like, much different from the thicker opacior petiole; and (3) the dorsal face of the propodeum is strongly sloping and curves gradually into the posterior face, unlike opacior collections in which the dorsal and posterior faces meet at a more pronounced angle.
This species is known from few collections: the syntypes, with no biological data, and two workers collected by P. S. Ward (collection number 7650), from 500m elevation in Carara Biological Reserve. The Ward specimens were from a Winkler sample of sifted litter from the forest floor.
Ponera creola Menozzi 1931:263. Syntype workers: Costa Rica: San Jose and La Palma (Tristan) [MCZC] (examined).
I first examined the workers collected by Ward. They were similar enough to opacior that I discussed them there. I subsequently found a worker at the MCZC, with label "S. Jose, Costa Rica, Tristan," and a lower label "Hypoponera creola Men. T. S. det. W. L. Brown." Thus Brown considered this specimen part of the type series of creola. It matched exactly one of the Ward specimens. I conclude that creola is a distinct, infrequently collected species.
One of the Ward workers has dense long pilosity on the undersurface of the head, and at first I thought this might be a valuable character for the species. I examined material of opacior, and the length and abundance of this pilosity was highly variable, approaching that seen on the Ward specimen. The Ward specimens have larger eyes than opacior, composed of about 5-6 facets on one worker, and around 10 facets on the other.
Translation of Menozzi's original description (from Italian):
Worker. Brown-ferrugineus or light ferrugineus, the mandibles, antennae, legs, and last segment of the gaster testaceous; covered with a whiteish pubescence, denser on the head. Sublucid, with integument finely punctate, puncta more dense on face, making face almost opaque, puncta sparser elsewhere on body. Head slightly longer than wide, narrowed anteriorly, with posterior margin weakly concave. Maxillary palp one-segmented. Mandibles shiny, with sparse piligerous puncta and with 9-10 teeth, teeth more pronounced anteriorly, becoming rudimentary basally. Anterior margin of clypeus weakly rounded. Eyes separated from mandibular insertions by two times their maximum diameter, in which one counts 9-10 facets [not clear if 9-10 total, or across greatest diameter]. Antennae somewhat thick, with funicular segments, not counting first and last, wider than long; scape reaches occipital border. Frontal sulcus surpasses by about half its length the "lamine omonime" [frontal carinae?]. Thorax robust, with suture impressed and the mesonotum separated from the pleura by a suture. Pronotum viewed from above wider than long and with rounded sides; the mesonotum is weakly concave in the middle of the dorsum and convex at the two ends. The propodeum is a little narrower than the mesonotum, in lateral view forming a distinct obtuse angle, the dorsal face is almost as long as the posterior face, which is flat and with weakly marginate sides. Scale of petiole almost as high as propodeum and a little wider, a little taller than wide at the base, narrowed toward apex, with anterior face slightly convex, posterior face weakly concave and submarginate; ventral surface with thick, almost triangular lamina. Postpetiole twice as wide as long, obtusely truncate anteriorly, and separated from following segment by a weak constriction. Length 3.5-4mm.
9 workers collected in San Jose and La Palma.
Very similar in habitus to P. trigona, but with the propodeum much wider and shorter, and above all by the eyes larger and located closer to the anterior margin of the head.
Menozzi, C. 1931. Contribuzione alla conoscenza del "microgenton" di Costa Rica. III. Hymenoptera - Formicidae. Boll. Lab. Zool. Gen. Agrar. R. Sc. Super. Agric. 25:259-274.
John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA.firstname.lastname@example.org
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