Camponotus samius species complex

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Based on Salata et al. 2020.


Members of the subgenus Tanaemyrmex

Species Identification

Key to Camponotus samius species complex

The six similar species of the Camponotus samius complex share the following characters: the overall body size is large relative to other Tanaemyrmex in the region, and the dorsal surfaces of the scapes, the femora, and the lateral and posterior surfaces of the tibiae are covered with suberect pubescence. The main characters of the samius complex overlap with these listed by Emery (1925) in the diagnosis of the compressus-sylvaticus group.

Diagnosis of species complex

Members of the subgenus Tanaemyrmex. Polymorphic species; body size medium to large (majors: HL: 2.0–4.0, HW: 1.5–3.5, WL: 3.0–5.0); head in major workers wider posteriorly than anteriorly with variable posterior margin, from slightly convex to moderately concave, in minor workers elongated with parallel sides and rounded posterior margin; mesosoma in lateral view gradually arched with dorsum never flattened; metanotal groove absent; clypeus with extended anterior margin, forming a small subrectangular lobe beyond the genal margins; body generally shiny, in major workers head often more or less dull, surface with sparse to moderately dense background sculpture; tibiae with at least a row of bristles on the ventral surface; dorsal surface of antennal scape and hind tibia with suberect pubescence and sometimes with long erect setae; gaster with relatively dense pubescence and long, erect setae.

Members of the complex form two species subunits

subunit 1

The first subunit contains species with scape and hind tibia with suberect pubescence only, without erect setae. It consists of Camponotus bakhtiariensis, Camponotus ionius, Camponotus laconicus and Camponotus samius.

subunit 2

The second subunit is characterized by antennal scape and hind tibia with both suberect pubescence and sparse, long, erect setae. This subunit contains Camponotus festai and Camponotus riedeli.


The Turano-Balkan region: the Balkans, Middle East, Anatolia, Caucasus, Iran and W Turkestan; a subdivision of the Turano-Mediterranean chorotype defined by Vigna Taglianti et al. (1999)


The taxonomy of Tanaemyrmex in the Western Palearctic has been poorly studied. Recent taxonomic publications of the subgenus are limited to descriptions of a single Tanaemyrmex species (Ionescu-Hirsch 2010; Tohmé & Tohmé 2000; Karaman 2012; Karaman et al. 2017).

The newly defined Camponotus samius species complex is consistent with Emery's compressus-sylvaticus species group. It is distributed across the Mediterranean region, Africa and Asia, and contains 12 species, 15 subspecies and 32 varieties. Due to the unclear taxonomic status of the majority of the names and limited access to new material from Africa and Asia, a comprehensive revision of the entire group is currently impossible. However, new material collected in the Turano-Balkan region allows us to define and revise the samius complex regionally. The complex is not endemic to the region and its distribution overlaps with the compressus-sylvaticus group in general. However, the complicated taxonomic history and the unclear status of the majority of species of the compressus-sylvaticus group prevent more global understanding of the samius complex.

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