Brachyponera chinensis is a significant and emerging pest in the southeastern United States.
Diagnosis of worker among Antkey species. Antenna 12-segmented. Antennal scapes exceed posterior head margin. Anterior margin of clypeus not denticulate. Eyes medium to large (greater than 6 facets); situated distinctly below midline of head. Frontal lobes present. Clypeus with anterior margin flat to convex, but never forming a distinct triangle that projects anteriorly beyond the base of the mandibles. Mandibles triangular; with 7 teeth. Metanotum does not form a prominent convexity bordered by distinct suture lines. Hind tibia with both pectinate spur and simple spur. Tarsal claws lacking subapical tooth, hind coxae lacking dorsal spine. Waist 1-segmented. Petiole narrowly attached to gaster with conspicuous posterior face. Gaster armed with sting. Abdominal segment 4 lacking deep longitudinal furrows. Distinct constriction between abdominal segments 3+4. Color dark brown to black with paler appendages.
Brachyponera chinensis is easily distinguished from species of Anochetus, Odontomachus and Leptogenys by its triangular mandibles. Among species of Hypoponera and Ponera that are introduced to or commonly intercepted in the United States, B. chinensis can be distinguished by its large eyes which are composed of more than 6 facets (versus 0–6), its mandibles which have exactly 7 teeth (versus more than 7), and by its hind tibia that has both a pectinate spur and simple spur (versus only a simple spur). These character states also separates B. chinensis from P. stigma, which has less than 6 eye facets and exactly 5 mandibular teeth.
Native range. North Temperate to subtropical Asia.
Introduced range. Southeastern United States.