Ponerinae is a subfamily of ants in the Poneromorph subfamilies group, with about 1,600 species in 47 extant genera, including Dinoponera gigantea - one of the world's largest species of ant. Mated workers have replaced the queen as the functional egg-layers in several species of ponerine ants. In such queenless species, the reproductive status of workers can only be determined through ovarian dissections.[citation needed]

Temporal range: Turonian-Recent
Harpegnathos saltator fight.jpg
Fighting Harpegnathos saltator
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Lepeletier, 1835
Type genus
Latreille, 1804
59 genera
Plectroctena sp. fighting

Description and identificationEdit

They are most easily identified from other subfamilies by possessing a single-node petiole with a constriction before the second gastral segment.[2] They are rare examples of stinging ants.[3] In addition to the sting, they can also be characterized by a single segmented petiole and the constriction of the first and second segment of the gaster. They can also be identified[how?] by the shape of their head. Female workers have twelve segmented antennae, whereas male workers have 13 segmented antennae.[citation needed][2]


These ants typically nest in soil, forest litter, or rotting logs, and are predacious.[4] They primarily prey on isopods. They mostly live in small colonies of up to 200 workers. They can be found mostly in tropical environments, but have been found in southeastern Canada and New York.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Bolton, B. (2015). "Ponerinae". AntCat. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Ponerinae". AntWiki.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Donald R. (2010). "Ant venoms". Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology. 10 (4): 342–346. doi:10.1097/ACI.0b013e328339f325. PMID 20445444. S2CID 4999650.
  4. ^ Schmidt, C.A.; Shattuck, S.O. (2014). "The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior". Zootaxa. 3817: 1–242. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1. PMID 24943802.
  5. ^ a b c d Dlussky, G.M.; Wedmann, S. (2012). "The poneromorph ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae: Amblyoponinae, Ectatomminae, Ponerinae) of Grube Messel, Germany: High biodiversity in the Eocene". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 10 (4): 725–753. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.628341. S2CID 83928415. – via Taylor & Francis (subscription required)

External linksEdit