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Species: Ponera exotica   Smith, 1962 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Ponera exotica Smith, 1962b PDF: 378, fig. 1 (w.q.) U.S.A. Nearctic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

See also: Taylor, 1967a PDF: 96; Johnson, 1987 PDF: 358.


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, United States
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Nearctic, Neotropical

Distribution Notes:

Ozarks & SE


Habitat: P. exotica inhabits dry and dry-mesic woodlands with acid soils such as those formed from shale, chert, cherty clay or sandstone. It probably nests primarily in soil, but this ant is most easily captured as stray worker foragers (and occasional single queens) by extracting leaf litter. In Missouri, I usually collect it from Vaccinium thickets in dry, pine-oak or open oak woodlands on south-facing slopes with cherty clay soil. I once found an entire colony under an approximately 1-ft. diameter, flat rock, on a sparsely wooded ridge in Lawrence, Kansas, after heavy rains several days in a row had completely saturated the subtending, clayey soil.

Natural History: Little known. Ponera species are all thought to be generalist predators of small, soft-bodied arthropods. Colony-founding queens forage (as most likely do all our ponerines) in soil and leaf litter. The above mentioned Kansas colony had about sixty workers and a single queen.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 102 times found in cloud forest, 59 times found in montane wet forest, 21 times found in mixed forest, 19 times found in 2º mesophil forest, 0 times found in at base of hardwood tree, 17 times found in litter in upland hardwood forest, 14 times found in deciduous forest, 15 times found in litter/soil- Carya sp. base in upland hardwood forest, 15 times found in soil at base of large Juniperus virginiana in cedar glade, 15 times found in oak cloud forest, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 255 times ex sifted leaf litter, 22 times soil and litter, 5 times forest litter, 10 times Malaise trap, 6 times ex forest litter, 6 times leaf litter, 1 times under epiphytes, 3 times soil, 1 times litter, 2 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), 1 times near campground, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 155 times MiniWinkler, 79 times Berlese funnel, 65 times MaxiWinkler, 16 times Berlese, 21 times general collecting, 15 times Berlese/Winkler, 8 times malaise trap, 13 times Winkler, 2 times search, 2 times Malaise, 2 times Maxi Winkler, ...

Elevations: collected from 60 - 2302 meters, 1476 meters average

Type specimens:

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