Camponotus aureopilus species-group

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Key to Camponotus aureopilis species-group


Members of this species-group can be separated from most other species in the genus, and from all Old World species, by having either or both of the following characters: (1) head with an angle, ridge or strong inflection line running between the compound eye and the posterolateral corner, the area immediately below this ridge varying from weakly to strongly concave; (2) the presence of numerous enlarged, closely spaced, elongate, finely barbed white or yellow hairs on the dorsum of the pronotum, mesonotum and/or gaster. These hairs are found in dense groups and are present in all species with the exception of cyrtomyrmodes (in this species the posterolateral section of the head is strongly ridged dorsally and concave laterally). When present, these hairs will immediately identify these taxa among Old World Camponotus. A few New World species in the subgenera Manniella, Myrmaphaenus and Myrmeurynota share these characters (for example, Camponotus personatus and Camponotus sphaericus), but there is no evidence of close phylogenetic relationship between these two sets of taxa.

Donisthorpe (1936, 1941a, b), who described three of the species treated here, placed his species in the subgenus Myrmophyma and Emery (1925) considered aureopilus as belonging here as well. This is a South-east Asian and Australian subgenus containing just over 30 species (Bolton 1995). While not currently defined in any rigorous manner, all species share a similar head shape (straight-sided and either parallel or converging anteriorly) and either a compact, highly arched mesosoma (as in the aureopilus group) or an elongate body with a low propodeum (as in Camponotus ephippium (Smith) and relatives).


These appear to be rare ants with most species known from very limited material or occurring in very limited geographic areas (in the case of Camponotus thadeus).

It is extremely likely that this study represents only a small fraction of the taxa occurring in this species-group and additional collecting in Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia will undoubtedly reveal many more species.

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