Hypoponera punctatissima (Roger 1859) iso. Seifert, 2013

Description and notes

Hypoponera punctatissima is a small brown ant with a functioning sting, a single substantial petiole and a constriction between the first and second segments of the gaster. It is an underground species with wingless worker-like males and only the alate gynes are likely to be seen above ground. There is some dispute as to whether this should be treated as a native species because it is most often come across in greenhouses and other permanently heated buildings but there is evidence for its presence 1500 years ago in northern Britain (Seifert, 2003) and colonies have occasionally been discovered a long way from human habitation.


Isolated records from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

A cosmopolitan species distributed throughout Europe, the tropics and sub-tropics.

Because H. ergatandria was only recently recognised as present in Britain there is some uncertainty about existing records. The map therefore probably combines records for both species. Where records are known to be of H. ergatandria they have been omitted from this map.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is not regarded as scarce or threatened.


Seifert (2013) gives a method of separating the species based on measurments of the head width and scape length. The input of data has to be in millimetres and accurate for three decimal points. For Head width, CW and Scape length, SL:

If SL/CW > 0.88 you have H. eduardi


For workers and ergatomorphic females calculate the function D = 142.82 SL – 68.67 CW –26.12 Specimens with D<0 belong to H. ergatandria and those with D>0 to H. punctatissima.

For gynomorphic females calculate the function D = 85.90 SL – 18.54 CW – 30.312 Specimens with D<0 belong to H. ergatandria and those with D>0 to H. punctatissima.


This species has been found in greenhouses and buildings that are permanently heated and also in outdoor waste spoils warmed by fermentation or decay.

Flight period

May to September

Foraging behaviour

Feeds on very small soil living arthropods.

Nesting biology

Colonies are underground and can be polydomous usually containing several queens, a few males and around 200 workers.

Author of profile

M G Fox

Year profile last updated