Camponotus kiesenwetteri species group

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Based on Salata et al. 2019.

Species

Members of the subgenus Myrmentoma

Species Identification

Key to species of the Camponotus kiesenwetteri species-group.

Group Diagnosis

Metanotal groove absent or shallow; propodeal dorsum relatively flat, propodeal declivity deeply concave, posterior protrusions absent or weakly to well developed; body densely punctate, appears dull (only C. nitidescens and C. schulzi have sculpture partially reduced on the lateral sides of mesosoma); the whole body bearing short to long, thick, pale and erect setae, and additional short appressed microsetae; head, mesosoma, and gaster uniformly blackish-brown to black (only C. aktaci has gaster yellowish-brown); polymorphic species.

Biology

All known species have similar biological preferences and were most often collected in warm and arid habitats within coniferous forests, especially pine forests. Less frequently they were observed in oak forest, woodland-meadow ecotones, xerothermic meadows, suburban areas with maquis, pastures with shrubs, olive plantations, river bank, orchards, occasionally in rocky gorges with deciduous trees. However, records from open habitats most often were located in the vicinity of trees, especially pine trees. Nests were located in soil, usually sandy, under trees, most often between roots, under small stones, less frequently under big stones. The only observed nest of C. nitidescens was located in a cracked rock wall on a roadside in oak forest under a loose piece of rock. Workers were active all day with the highest activity at dusk. Both major and minor workers were most often found on trunks and branches of coniferous trees, less often on the ground or litter.

Distribution

Species of the Camponotus kiesenwetteri group (subgenus Myrmentoma) are primarily found in areas adjacent to the Aegean Sea, i.e., mainland Greece, Crete and other islands, and western Turkey. The range of some species collectively extend the group's range further east (including Cyprus, Lebanon, northern Israel, Iran, and other parts of Turkey) and north (including North Macedonia and Bulgaria).

Most of the records located in the European mainland came from areas below 700 m a.s.l. and only Camponotus nitidescens is known exclusively from sites located between 1100 and 1700 m a.s.l. However, on Crete, specimens of Camponotus kiesenwetteri were also found in area above 1000 m a.s.l., and the highest record comes from Trocharis peak in Lasithi province (2131 m a.s.l.). Members of the group known from Turkey manifest more alpine preferences. According to label data, the new species Camponotus schulzi was collected at the site located at an altitude of 1150–1500 m. Also C. aktaci is known almost exclusively from montane habitats located above 1000 m a.s.l.

Additional Resources

References