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A new species of Boloponera from Sekhukhuneland, South Africa (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae).


ABSTRACT: During an environmental impact assessment survey of a proposed tailings storage facility for a platinum mine in Sekhukhuneland, South Africa, five adult and five larval specimens of a new species of Boloponera were found while excavating soil to a depth of 10-15 cm at the base of a tree in riparian woodland. These specimens represent a 3400 km range extension and the first reported record of the genus since its description in 2006, which was based on a single specimen collected in the Central African Republic in 2001. A description of the worker and ergatoid queen of Boloponeraikemkha sp. n. is presented, with a description of the mature larva and a key to distinguish workers of the two currently known species of the genus. The taxonomic relationships of Boloponera are discussed with respect to several confirmed and newly identified autapomorphies that support its retention as a distinct genus, although closely related to Plectroctena and Loboponera. A preliminary assessment of the conservation status and discussion of potential threats to the survival of B.ikemkha is also provided. Evaluation of current data under the IUCN Red List criteria would result in B.ikemkha being assessed as Critically Endangered, but further investigation is required to test the validity of placing it in this category.

SUBMITTER: Hawkes PG 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6262044 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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