Camponotus lateralis species group

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Seifert (2019) - A group of ants currently assigned to the subgenus Myrmentoma (but see the subgenus page for issues with this classification), this study focused on species found in the Westpalaearctic .

Key to the Westpalaearctic Camponotus lateralis species group

Expanding beyond the Westpalaearctic, Radchenko (1997) included the following additional species in the Camponotus lateralis species group:


Separated from other sympatrically occurring species groups of Camponotus by the following character combination: Comparably small size, CS ranging between 840 and 2190 μm. Dorsal area of propodeum clearly delimited laterally by strong longitudinal edges and appearing in dorsal view as a rectangle or trapezium. The median part of this area is never much higher than the lateral ones – as result a transverse section of upper propodeum is roughly rectangular with a very weakly concave, straight or weakly convex dorsal part. The overall dorsal profile of mesosoma is discontinuous, always more or less depressed between mesonotum and propodeum. In profile view, the dorsal area of propodeum is straight to convex and forms a distinct angle with the caudal declivity which falls abruptly down. Surface of gaster tergites shining, with fine transverse microripples the mean distance of which is 7–12 μm – the microripples represent the edges of a clinker-like surface structure. Pubescence hairs on gaster tergites short and never dense. The species of the Camponotus lateralis group show a distinct worker size dimorphism.

Color polymorphism may occur in the same nest showing that this is an intraspecific phenomenon.


Seifert delineated this specific set of workers as a group of Westpalaearctic species - The Camponotus lateralis group, as it is operationally circumscribed here, is distributed in the whole Mediterranean area, the South Temperate Zone of Europe as well as in Asia Minor, the Cauacasus and the Middle East.


Distinct intraspecific polymorphism of shape, pubescence and setae characters– a true worst case scenario for taxonomists – has been shown by Seifert (2016) for Camponotus lateralis.

The fact that in the subgenus Myrmentoma three types of polymorphism – namely polymorphism of shape, pubescence and setae characters, color polymorphism and major-minor dimorphism – may superimpose within the same data set shows how cautious taxonomists have to do their work here and how misleading judgement from single specimens may be.