Neoponera is morphologically diverse. Its workers can be most readily identified by the following combination of characters: eyes relatively large and located at or near the midline of the head, metapleural gland orifice with a U-shaped posterior cuticular lip and lateral groove, arolia prominent, stridulitrum present on pretergite of A4, and hypopygium without a row of stout spines on either side of the sting. Many Neoponera also have distinct preocular carinae. Members of Neoponera are superficially most similar to Pachycondyla, Mayaponera, Mesoponera, and perhaps Megaponera.
Neoponera workers differ most obviously from those of Pachycondyla in having prominent arolia, a stridulitrum on the pretergite of A4, and an unarmed hypopygium, and differ from those of Mayaponera in having slit-shaped propodeal spiracles and at most only a shallowly impressed metanotal groove. Neoponera species with round propodeal spiracles (some members of the N. emiliae group) can be separated from Mayaponera by the triangular-shaped metasternal processes (the processes are narrow and fang-like in Mayaponera). Both Mesoponera and Megaponera lack the complex metapleural gland orifice and prominent arolia of Neoponera.