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Ponera ursa SantschiHNS, 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 HypoponeraHNS: Bolton, 1995: 216.] (See note.)
NOTE. Both syntype workers of ursaHNS 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 ursaHNS (figs 3a,b) and jeanneliHNS (figs 3 c–e). Of these, fig. 3c is supposed to represent the antenna of jeanneliHNS, 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 jeanneliHNS, but does correspond to the shape seen in the syntype of ursaHNS that retains a complete funiculus. It is interesting to note that on the previous page, Santschi (1935: 261) records ursaHNS from Mt Elgon, also the type-locality of jeanneliHNS, and it is suspected that he may have confused his specimens when he came to describe jeanneliHNS. The Mt Elgon specimen of ursaHNS was not found in the course of this study, but jeanneliHNS 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 jeanneliHNS 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 ursaHNS 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 ursaHNS 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 jeanneliHNS and the closely related quaestioHNS the ratio is 1.20 – 1.46.
Elevations: collected at 2000 m