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Hypoponera zwaluwenburgi is a small (2–2.3 mm) brownish yellow species with short antennal scapes, no eyes, a short subtriangular petiole, and a strongly reduced subpetiolar process. The species was originally described from eleven specimens taken by Mr. R. H. Van Zwaluwenburg at Waimalo, Waialua, and Waipio on Oahu Island, and also on Maui Island, Hawaii (Wheeler, 1933b). They were collected from below the surface in the soil of both cultivated and fallow sugar-cane fields. Despite the multiple distributions reported from the original description, and the apparently large amount of suitable habitat, the species has not been collected in Hawaii since 1967 (Krushelnycky et al., 2005). The only other record of the species is from Okinawa, Japan (Imai et al., 2003).
Hawaii (introduced): Oahu I. (Waimalo, Waialua, and Waipio), Maui I. Japan: Okinawa (introduced?).
Hypoponera zwaluwenburgi is a rather aberrant member of the genus with its complete lack of eyes, strongly reduced subpetiolar process, and the presence of an epimeral sclerite in the males (Bolton & Fisher, 2011; Imai et al., 2003; Wilson, 1957), and in general is highly convergent with Ponera (Taylor, 1967). Among introduced and commonly intercepted ants of the United States, H. zwaluwenburgi can be separated from its congeners by the absence of the eyes, the strongly reduced subpetiolar process, and the shorter and more triangular petiole. It can be separated from Ponera swezeyi by the subpetiolar process, which lacks a fenestra and a posteriorly pointing tooth, and also by the lack of eyes.
Imai, H.T., Kihara, A., Kondoh, M., Kubota, M., Kuribayashi, S., Ogata, K., Onoyama, K., Taylor, R.W., Terayama, M., Tsukii, Y., Yoshimura, M. & Ugava, Y. (2003) Ants of Japan. Gakken, Tokyo, 224 pp.
Krushelnycky, P.D., Loope, L.L. & Reimer, N.J. (2005) The ecology, policy, and management of ants in Hawaii. Proc. Hawaii. Entomol. Soc., 37, 1-22.
Taylor, R.W. (1967) A monographic revision of the ant genus Ponera Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pac. Insects Monogr., 13, 1-112.
Wheeler, W.M. (1933) Three obscure genera of ponerine ants. Am. Mus. Novit., 672, 1-23.
Wilson, E.O. (1957) The tenuis and selenophora groups of the ant genus Ponera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 116, 355-386.
Collected most commonly using these methods: 1 times 135, 136, 137.
Type specimens: cotype: casent0249112