Camponotus consobrinus

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Camponotus consobrinus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Species: C. consobrinus
Binomial name
Camponotus consobrinus
(Erichson, 1842)

Camponotus consobrinus casent0217633 p 1 high.jpg

Camponotus consobrinus casent0217633 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


A ground nesting species that recruits via tandem running. Alate specimens at SAMA indicate that nuptial flights occurred near Adelaide on 20 January 1991 and 21 January 1992.

At a Glance • Tandem running  


Photo Gallery

  • Tending a scale insect on a Eucalyptus trunk.
  • Returning to the nest with prey.
  • The enlarged gaster of this worker is the result of collecting honeydew while foraging on trees.
  • Workers tandem running to a food source in a large Eucalyptus approximately 15m from their nest.
  • These ants are ground nesting, often forming large mounds of loose soil around the entrance. Here, a queen ventures outside the nest, preparing for her nuptial flight.
  • Camponotus consobrinus nest in damp soil. South Australia. Photo by A.J.McArthur.


A member of the Camponotus nigriceps species group. McArthur and Adams (1996) - Distinctly polymorphic. Maximum frequency of head widths in minor workers occurs at about 1.75 mm, in medium workers at about 2.8 mm and in major workers at about 3.25 mm. The relationship between log HW and Jog HL is practically linear. Major workers, whose role is to defend the nest, have developed large muscles attached to their mandibles. Thus, major workers possess disproportionately wide heads (Huxley 1936). Some populations of dark coloured C. consobrinus possess suberect pubescence on tibiae.

C. consobrinus, Camponotus loweryi and Camponotus longideclivis always lack setae on the gula and they may be distinguished as follows. C. loweryi major workers (maximum HW = 4·3 mm) are larger than C. consobrinus (maximum HW = 3·6 mm) and C. longideclivis (maximum HW = 3·7 mrn). Gaster colour in C. loweryi shows little variation from posterior to anterior whereas C. consobrinus is distinctly bicoloured. In Mallee areas, C. consobrinus, C. loweryi, Camponotus clarior and Camponotus nigriceps are sympatric. In the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, C. consobrinus and Camponotus pallidiceps are sympatric. In the north-east of New South Wales C. consobrinus and Camponotus eastwoodi are sympatric.

Keys including this Species


McArthur and Adams (1996) - The known distribution is confined to south-eastern and eastern Australia. There is a single pinned specimen of C. consobrinus in ANIC labelled 'Perth. John Clark'. We await other finds before including it in our distribution map of this species.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -21.14121° to -42.9053°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.


Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.



Associations with other Organisms


  • This species is a host for the nematode Mermithidae (unspecified "Mermix") (a parasite) in Australia (NSW) (Wheeler, 1933; Laciny, 2021).

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec





The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • consobrinus. Formica consobrina Erichson, 1842: 258 (q.) AUSTRALIA (Tasmania).
    • Smith, F. 1858b: 41 (w.); Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 346 (k.).
    • Combination in Camponotus: Roger, 1863b: 4;
    • combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Wheeler, W.M. 1933b: 22.
    • Status as species: Smith, F. 1858b: 41; Mayr, 1863: 413; Roger, 1863b: 4; Lowne, 1865a: 277; Dalla Torre, 1893: 226; Emery, 1896d: 378 (in list); Emery, 1925b: 171; Wheeler, W.M. 1933b: 22; Clark, 1934c: 70; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 112; Taylor, 1987a: 11; Bolton, 1995b: 94; Shattuck & McArthur, 1995: 122; McArthur, 2007a: 306; McArthur, 2010: 36; McArthur, 2014: 62.
    • Senior synonym of dimidiatus: Wheeler, W.M. 1933b: 23; Clark, 1934c: 70; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 112; Bolton, 1995b: 94; Shattuck & McArthur, 1995: 122; McArthur & Adams, 1996: 22; McArthur, 2007a: 294; McArthur, 2010: 36.
    • Senior synonym of obniger: McArthur & Adams, 1996: 22; McArthur, 2007a: 294; McArthur, 2010: 36.
  • dimidiatus. Camponotus dimidiatus Roger, 1863b: 4, 44 (w.) AUSTRALIA (no state data).
    • Combination in C. (Myrmoturba): Forel, 1913g: 181;
    • combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 103.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Emery, 1896d: 372 (in list).
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1865: 30.
    • Junior synonym of nigriceps: Mayr, 1876: 63.
    • Subspecies of nigriceps: Emery, 1887a: 211; Dalla Torre, 1893: 244; Forel, 1907h: 301; Stitz, 1911a: 372; Forel, 1913g: 191; Emery, 1914b: 180; Forel, 1915b: 97; Crawley, 1922c: 35; Emery, 1925b: 103.
    • Junior synonym of consobrinus: Wheeler, W.M. 1933b: 23; Clark, 1934c: 70; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 112; Bolton, 1995b: 96; Shattuck & McArthur, 1995: 122; McArthur & Adams, 1996: 22; McArthur, 2007a: 294; McArthur, 2010: 36.
  • obniger. Camponotus nigriceps r. obniger Forel, 1902h: 506 (s.w.) AUSTRALIA (South Australia).
    • Forel, 1910b: 72 (q.).
    • Combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 103.
    • Subspecies of consobrinus: Wheeler, W.M. 1933b: 23; Clark, 1934c: 71.
    • Subspecies of nigriceps: Forel, 1907h: 301; Forel, 1910b: 72; Emery, 1914b: 180; Emery, 1925b: 103; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 117; Taylor, 1987a: 14; Bolton, 1995b: 114.
    • Junior synonym of consobrinus: McArthur & Adams, 1996: 22; McArthur, 2007a: 294; McArthur, 2010: 36.

Type Material

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.


Black,shining head dark sides of the thorax and legs ferruginous.

Female. Length 6 lines (12.5 mm). Close to C herculaneus. Antennae scape black. Head is just wider than thorax. Black,opaque above, sparingly punctated obsoletely, finely grooved between the median ridges, two carinae between the antennae, carinae slightly bow shaped. Mandibles and palps black. Thorax oblong, somewhat compressed, smooth dorsal part of the notum with scattered punctures. Node subovate, front and back flat, ferruginous. Gaster with sparse and fine punctations, pilosity scarce. Black and shining, forepart is ferruginous. Wings are dark, stigmata and nerves are yellow. Differs from C.herculaneus by the less upright stature, dark head black border, thorax longer, dorsal metathorax black, gaster scarcely punctated, feet completely reddish.

McArthur and Adams (1996) - Colour: head black to red brown; mesosoma, node black to yellow including orange; anterior gaster lighter than posterior, posterior gaster usuall near colour of head. Pilosity always absent on gula; setae erect slightly forward pointing. 0.3-0.5 mm long on mesosoma dorsum, 3-10 on propodeum (Fig. 15 a, b), 5-20 on mesonotum, 15-30 on pronotum, plentiful on gaster pointing backward; on head and mandibles more erect and shorter, not plentiful. Short setae on scapes raised to an inclination of up to 20° when viewed from front. Short setae on midtibiae: inclination 5-40°. Pubescence(= short setae, length always < 0.2 mm) on head and mesosoma adpressed, spacing > setae length. Integument: glossy finely reticulate, front of head with shallow sparse punctation. Node summit viewed from the rear: straight or convex (Fig. 12b), occasionally slightly concave in largest majors.

HW = 1.30-3.30 mm; HL = 1.75-3.40 mm; n = 261. TL = 2.95-3.00 mm; n = 49. TL = 1.9 + 1.87 log HW (n = 49, r = 0.93, s.e.(y). = 0.07, s.e.(x)., = 0.07). PD:D = 1.3 in major workers increasing to 3.0 in minor workers.


  • n = 23, 2n = 46 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).


McArthur and Adams (1996) - Consobrina (Latin: cousin). Erichson (1842) recognised some similarity of this species to Formica herculaneus.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Emery C. 1886. Saggio di un catalogo sistematico dei generi Camponotus, Polyrhachis e affini. Memorie della Reale Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna 5: 363-382
  • Emery C. 1887. Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia. [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 24(4): 209-258.
  • Emery, C. "Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia." Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria (Genova) (2) 4, no. 24 (1887): 209-258.
  • Forel A. 1913. Fourmis de Tasmanie et d'Australie récoltées par MM. Lae, Froggatt etc. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 49: 173-195
  • Gibson L. A., and T. R. New. 2007. Characterising insect diversity on Australia's remant native grasslands: ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and beetles (Coleoptera) at Craigieburn Grasslands Reserve, Victoria. Journal of Insect Conservation 11: 409-413.
  • Mann V. 2013. Using insect biodiversity to measure the effectiveness of on-farm restoration plantings. Master of Environmental Management at the School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania 111 pages.
  • McArthur A. 2010. A guide to Camponotus ants of South Australia. Adelaide: South Australian Museum, IV + 121 pp.
  • McArthur A. J., and M. Adams. 1996. A morphological and molecular revision of the Camponotus nigriceps group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Australia. Invertebr. Taxon. 10: 1-46.
  • Shattuck S. O., and A. J. McArthur. 1995. Generic placements of Australian ants described by W. F. Erichson (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 34: 121-123.
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.
  • Taylor R. W., and D. R. Brown. 1985. Formicoidea. Zoological Catalogue of Australia 2: 1-149. 
  • Vieira de Oliveira J. A., D. Martins da Silva, and F. A. Santana. 2014. Ant species diversity in ciliary forest and gallery forest areas in central Brazil. Advances in Entomology 2(1): 24-32.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1933. Mermis parasitism in some Australian and Mexican ants. Psyche (Cambridge) 40: 20-31.