A woodland species that nests in rotten logs and stumps.
This is a large, attractive, red and black species. The majors, minors and females have a black head and gaster, and a red mesosoma. The punctures on the head are 2 sizes, most are very fine, larger punctures are scattered over the surface of the head. The lateral clypeal angles are present, but are not well developed, the antennal scapes are without erect hairs (except at apex), the scapes extend nearly 1 funicular segment past the posterior lateral corner in both the majors and the females. Erect hairs are sparse on the head, mesosoma, petiole and gaster, and absent on the cheeks, malar area, sides and head, posterior lateral corners, and tibiae, except for 2 rows of hairs on the flexor surface. The pubescence on the gaster is very fine, with none of the hairs overlapping adjacent hairs. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)
Southeastern Canada, Nova Scotia and Quebec through northeastern United States and south to New Mexico. In the Atlantic states, it lives by preference in hilly country, usually at higher elevations than pennsylvanicus and ferrugineus.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
The pupae of this medium-sized carpenter ant are often parasitized by small Pseudochalcura gibbosa wasps; the larvae of these wasps are taken back to the nest by the ants as a food source for the developing brood. But the eaten become the eaters, as some of the wasp larvae develop and then devour the ants. (Ellison et al. 2012)
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- novaeboracensis. Formica novaeboracensis Fitch, 1855: 766 (w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1910d: 340 (s.w.q.m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953e: 182 (l.). Combination in Camponotus: Roger, 1863b: 6; in C. (Camponotus): Emery, 1925b: 72. Junior synonym of pennsylvanicus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 247; Emery, 1896d: 372. Revived from synonymy as subspecies of ligniperda: Forel, 1899c: 130. Subspecies of herculeanus: Emery, 1925b: 72; Buren, 1944a: 293. Revived status as species: Creighton, 1950a: 369. Senior synonym of pictus: Forel, 1899c: 130; of rubens: Creighton, 1950a: 370.
- rubens. Camponotus (Camponotus) herculeanus var. rubens Emery, 1925b: 73 (w.m.) U.S.A. [First available use of Camponotus herculeanus subsp. ligniperdus var. rubens Wheeler, W.M. 1906a: 41; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of noveboracensis: Creighton, 1950a: 370.
- pictus. Camponotus ligniperdus var. pictus Forel, 1886f: 141 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. [First available use of Camponotus herculeanus r. ligniperdus var. pictus Forel, 1879a: 59; unavailable name.] Subspecies of herculeanus: Mayr, 1886d: 420. Junior synonym of noveboracensis: Forel, 1899c: 130.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Wheeler (1910) - Major and minor. Sculpture finer and more superficial than in whymperi and Camponotus pennsylvanicus; so that the whole surface of the body and especially the gaster is smoother and more shining. Hairs and pubescence pale yellow or white, sparse and short; the pubescence on the gaster being nearly as short as in whymperi and decidedly more dilate; the minute hairs on the scapes and legs more appressed. Head, antennae and gaster black; thorax, petiole, and legs red, the tibiae and tarsi often somewhat darker. Posterior edges of gastric segments yellowish. In the worker media and minima, the mandibles and sometimes also the clypeus are red.
Wheeler (1910) - Resembling the worker major, but the thorax and gaster very smooth and shining; the latter with shorter hairs and very short and dilute pubescence. Dorsal portion of pronotum, scutellum, metanotum and three more or less distinct longitudinal bands on the mesonotum, black. In some specimens, the whole mesonotum and dorsal portion of the epinotum are black. Extreme base of first gastric segment often red or yellow. In other respects, the color is like that of the worker. Wings strongly tinged with yellowish brown; veins and stigma yellow.
Wheeler (1910) - Indistinguishable from the male of pennsylvanicus. Wings somewhat paler than in the female.
- Buren, W. F. 1944a. A list of Iowa ants. Iowa State Coll. J. Sci. 18: 277-312 (page 293, Variety/subspecies of herculeanus)
- Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 369, revived status as species, page 370, senior synonym of rubens)
- Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 247, junior synonym of pennsylvanicus)
- Ellison A. M., N. J. Gotelli, E. J. Farnsworth, and G. D. Alpert. 2012. A Field Guide to the Ants of New England. Yale University Press. 416 pages.
- Emery, C. 1896j. Saggio di un catalogo sistematico dei generi Camponotus, Polyrhachis e affini. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (5)5:363-382 (page 372, junior synonym of pennsylvanicus)
- Emery, C. 1925e. I Camponotus (Myrmentoma) paleartici del gruppo lateralis. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 29: 62-72 (page 72, Combination in C. (Camponotus), Variety/subspecies of herculeanus)
- Fitch, A. 1855 . Report [upon the noxious and other insects of the State of New-York]. Trans. N. Y. State Agric. Soc. 14: 705-880 (page 52, worker described)
- Forel, A. 1899h. Formicidae. [part]. Biol. Cent.-Am. Hym. 3: 105-136 (page 130, revived from synonymy as variety of ligniperdus, senior synonym of pictus)
- Higgins, R. J. and B. S. Lindgren. 2015. Seral changes in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages in the sub-boreal forests of British Columbia. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 8:337-347. doi:10.1111/icad.12112
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 6, Combination in Camponotus)
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953e. The ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae. Part II. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 46: 175-217 (page 182, larva described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1910g. The North American ants of the genus Camponotus Mayr. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 20: 295-354 (page 340, soldier, worker, queen, male described)