Camponotus sexguttatus

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Camponotus sexguttatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Species: C. sexguttatus
Binomial name
Camponotus sexguttatus
(Fabricius, 1793)

Camponotus sexguttatus casent0103709 profile 1.jpg

Camponotus sexguttatus casent0103709 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This widespread, synanthropic species is quite variable in color, head sculpture and mesosomal structure.

At a Glance • Limited invasive  


Majors and minors of this species can be recognized by the deeply depressed metanotal suture. The scapes of the majors, minors, and females have numerous erect hairs. The minor usually has erect hairs on the posterior margin, along the sides of the head, on the cheeks, and on the clypeus. The major and female usually have erect hairs only on the posterior margin, vertex, between the frontal carinae, and usually lack hairs on the sides of the head, on the cheeks, and on the clypeus. The workers and females range in color or from completely black, to brown, to bicolored (head and mesosoma red, gaster black). The gaster usually has lateral yellow splotches on each gastral tergite.


Native range from Argentina to Nicaragua, plus the Caribbean. It has also become established in Florida and Hawaii. In Florida it is known from a few collections in Dade and Broward counties. Nests were in saw grass stems at the edge of marshy areas. Pest status: none. No previous published records; earlier specimens: 1993. (Deyrup, Davis & Cover, 2000.)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 21.683° to -31.632389°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Honduras, Lesser Antilles, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Uruguay.

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.


Camponotus sexguttatus is common in disturbed and edge habitats throughout the neotropics.

Flight Period

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


Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
  • This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti-sexguttati (a pathogen) (Araujo et al., 2018).

Regional Information


Schmid et al. (2014) found this ant nesting in infructescences (the stem and remains of buds and fruits above the level of the water reservoir in the rosette) of the bromeliad Vriesea friburgensis on Santa Catarina Island, Brazil.

DaRocha et al. (2015) studied the diversity of ants found in bromeliads of a single large tree of Erythrina, a common cocoa shade tree, at an agricultural research center in Ilhéus, Brazil. Forty-seven species of ants were found in 36 of 52 the bromeliads examined. Bromeliads with suspended soil and those that were larger had higher ant diversity. C. sexguttatus was found in 2 different bromeliads but was associated with twigs and bark cavities, rather than suspended soil or litter, of the plants.


Camponotus sexguttatus has been collected a number of times in Florida but is apparently a recent arrival. The earliest collection records are from 1993. Nests were found in saw grass stems at the edge of marshy areas (Deyrup et al. 2000). A nest was also discovered in an exotic acacia species in Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom (Wetterer and Wetterer 2003).

West Indies

Wheeler (1908) reported the following about this species:

Wheeler 1908 figure 4.jpg

The female specimen on which Fabricius based this beautiful species, came from Santa, Cruz, one of the Virgin Islands. It has since been found to be widely distributed through tropical America. Forel has described its habits and figured its nest in Biologia Centro Amer. Hymen. III, 1899-1900, p. 155, PI. II, Fig. 6. " It lives either in hollow twigs of trees and bushes; in bark, or in nests of coarse, loose carton, which it builds around the stems of grasses in the savannahs by agglutinating the thread-like particles of grasses and other debris. These nests are very primitive and not very populous. They resemble the webs mixed with debris constructed by certain spiders. I observed these nests in Martinique, but never in Barbados, where the same species lives in hollow stems and under bark, never in carton."

In Culebra and Porto Rico I also failed to find any carton nests of C. sexguttatus but found it repeatedly in hollow twigs, especially of the sea-grape. It uses a small amount of carton, however, in constructing at end of the broken twig a diaphragm which has a round opening to serve as an entrance. Sometimes the diaphragm is flat, (Fig. 4a) in other cases produced as a cone (Fig. 4b) . At Coamo Springs a number of workers were seen on the flowers of Serjeania lucida.

Costa Rica

Jack Longino - I know this species from relatively few collections. They have all been from very weedy open areas. The species seems to have small colonies in very ephemeral nest sites. At Sirena in Corcovado National Park I found workers while collecting at night in an old guava plantation. Another time I was collecting in an area of open Sida and grasses, and down in the leaf litter I found an aggregation of workers, some brood, and a queen. Several minor workers were dragging the queen to and fro. There was no nest structure. At La Selva Biological Station the species is only known from around the lab clearing and administration area. Ronald Vargas found a nest in a rolled Heliconia leaf. Alate queens have been taken at the lab clearing blacklight (3 March 1989).



Images from AntWeb

Camponotus sexguttatus casent0103710 head 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103710 profile 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103710 dorsal 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103710 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0103710. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.
Camponotus sexguttatus casent0173451 head 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0173451 profile 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0173451 dorsal 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0173451 label 1.jpg
Worker (major/soldier). Specimen code casent0173451. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ALWC, Alex L. Wild Collection.
Camponotus sexguttatus casent0173452 head 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0173452 profile 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0173452 dorsal 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0173452 label 1.jpg
Worker (major/soldier). Specimen code casent0173452. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ALWC, Alex L. Wild Collection.


Images from AntWeb

Camponotus sexguttatus casent0103708 head 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103708 profile 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103708 dorsal 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103708 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0103708. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Camponotus sexguttatus casent0103705 head 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103705 profile 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103705 dorsal 1.jpgCamponotus sexguttatus casent0103705 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0103705. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


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

  • sexguttatus. Formica sexguttata Fabricius, 1793: 354 (q.) VIRGIN IS (St Croix I. “Habitat in Insula St. Crucis Americae”).
    • [Note: type-locality rendered “île de Sainte-Croix, en Amérique”, by Latreille, 1802c: 282.]
    • [Misspelled as 6-guttata by Fabricius, 1793: 354, Smith, F. 1858b: 41; misspelled as sexmaculatus by Wheeler, W.M. 1918b: 28.]
    • Forel, 1879a: 71 (s.w.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953e: 195 (l.).
    • Combination in Camponotus: Mayr, 1862: 656;
    • combination in C. (Myrmosphincta): Forel, 1912i: 92;
    • combination in C. (Myrmothrix): Bruch, 1914: 230;
    • combination in C. (Myrmotemnus): Emery, 1920b: 259;
    • combination in C. (Myrmosphincta): Emery, 1925b: 151.
    • Subspecies of sylvaticus: Mayr, 1880: 23.
    • Subspecies of maculatus: Emery, 1895h: 46.
    • Status as species: Latreille, 1802c: 281; Fabricius, 1804: 401; Smith, F. 1858b: 41; Mayr, 1862: 656 (redescription); Mayr, 1863: 401; Roger, 1863b: 4; Mayr, 1865: 28; Mayr, 1870a: 373 (in key); Mayr, 1877: 20 (in list); Smith, F. 1879: 675; Forel, 1879a: 71; Mayr, 1884: 30; Forel, 1885a: 346; Emery, 1890b: 56; Dalla Torre, 1893: 251; Emery, 1894c: 167; Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1894k: 62; Forel, 1895b: 104; Emery, 1896d: 375 (in list); Forel, 1899c: 155; Forel, 1902b: 172; Forel, 1905b: 161; Emery, 1906c: 192; Forel, 1906d: 249; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Forel, 1908c: 404; Forel, 1909a: 265; Forel, 1909b: 57; Santschi, 1912e: 534; Wheeler, W.M. 1913d: 243; Bruch, 1914: 230; Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914: 56; Wheeler, W.M. 1916c: 14; Luederwaldt, 1918: 51; Wheeler, W.M. 1923a: 5; Wheeler, W.M. 1923c: 5; Emery, 1925b: 151; Borgmeier, 1927c: 150; Menozzi & Russo, 1930: 167; Smith, M.R. 1937: 870; Santschi, 1939f: 167; Kusnezov, 1952d: 224; Kusnezov, 1953b: 339; Kempf, 1960e: 399; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Zolessi, et al. 1988: 6; Brandão, 1991: 333; Bolton, 1995b: 123; Deyrup, et al. 2000: 301; Deyrup, 2003: 44; Wild, 2007b: 29, 48; Bezděčková, et al. 2015: 113; Wetterer, et al. 2016: 9; Deyrup, 2017: 199; Mackay & Mackay, 2019: 768; Lubertazzi, 2019: 90.
    • Senior synonym of albofasciata: Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1896d: 375; Forel, 1899c: 155; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Emery, 1925b: 152; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 123.
    • Senior synonym of bimaculata: Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1896d: 375; Forel, 1899c: 155; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Forel, 1909b: 57; Wheeler, W.M. 1923c: 6; Emery, 1925b: 152; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 123.
    • Senior synonym of fusciceps: Wild, 2007b: 48.
    • Senior synonym of grenadensis: Wetterer, et al. 2016: 10 (in text).
    • Senior synonym of ruficeps: Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1896d: 375; Forel, 1899c: 155; Forel, 1905b: 161; Emery, 1906c: 192; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Forel, 1909b: 57; Emery, 1925b: 152; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 123.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus albotaeniolatus, antiguanus, basirectus, biguttatus, decorus, montserratensis, ornatus, perturbans, unitaeniatus.
  • albofasciata. Formica albofasciata Smith, F. 1862b: 29 (w.) PANAMA.
    • Combination in Camponotus: Mayr, 1886c: 362.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1863: 411.
    • Junior synonym of ruficeps Fabricius: Mayr, 1886c: 362; Dalla Torre, 1893: 250; Forel, 1895b: 104.
    • Junior synonym of sexguttatus: Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1896d: 375; Forel, 1899c: 155; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Emery, 1925b: 152; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 123.
  • bimaculata. Formica bimaculata Smith, F. 1858b: 50 (w.) ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES (St Vincent I.).
    • Combination in Camponotus: Roger, 1863b: 4.
    • Junior synonym of ruficeps: Roger, 1862c: 285; Roger, 1863b: 4; Mayr, 1863: 401; Mayr, 1865: 38; Mayr, 1886c: 356; Dalla Torre, 1893: 250; Forel, 1895b: 104.
    • Subspecies of sexguttatus: Forel, 1907a: 34; Forel, 1909a: 265; Forel, 1912i: 87.
    • Junior synonym of ruficeps: Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 134.
    • Junior synonym of sexguttatus: Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1896d: 375; Forel, 1899c: 155; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Forel, 1909b: 57; Wheeler, W.M. 1923c: 6; Emery, 1925b: 152; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 89.
  • fusciceps. Camponotus sexguttatus var. fusciceps Emery, 1906c: 192 (s.w.) BRAZIL (Mato Grosso), PARAGUAY, ARGENTINA (Formosa), BOLIVIA.
    • [Misspelled as fuscipes by Forel, 1911c: 310; Eidmann, 1936b: 96.]
    • Combination in C. (Myrmosphincta): Wheeler, W.M. 1916c: 14.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Wheeler, W.M. 1923c: 9 (in key).
    • Subspecies of sexguttatus: Forel, 1911c: 310; Santschi, 1916e: 397; Wheeler, W.M. 1916c: 14; Wheeler, W.M. 1923a: 5; Emery, 1925b: 152; Borgmeier, 1927c: 151; Eidmann, 1936b: 96; Kusnezov, 1952d: 224; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 101.
    • Junior synonym of sexguttatus: Wild, 2007b: 48.
  • grenadensis. Camponotus sexguttatus var. grenadensis Forel, 1897b: 297 (s.w.q.) GRENADA.
    • Combination in C. (Myrmosphincta): Emery, 1925b: 152.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Wheeler, W.M. 1923c: 8 (in key).
    • Subspecies of ruficeps: Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 135.
    • Subspecies of sexguttatus: Forel, 1902b: 172; Wheeler, W.M. 1911b: 170; Wheeler, W.M. 1923c: 6 (redescription); Kempf, 1972a: 58.
    • Junior synonym of biguttatus: Emery, 1898a: 226; Emery, 1925b: 152; Bolton, 1995b: 102.
    • Junior synonym of sexguttatus: Wetterer, et al. 2016: 10 (in text).
  • ruficeps. Formica ruficeps Fabricius, 1804: 404 (s.) (no state data, “Habitat in America meridionali”).
    • Combination in Camponotus: Roger, 1862c: 285.
    • Status as species: Smith, F. 1858b: 49; Mayr, 1863: 401; Roger, 1863b: 4; Mayr, 1865: 38; Mayr, 1870a: 373 (in key); Mayr, 1884: 30; Forel, 1893g: 333; Dalla Torre, 1893: 250; Forel, 1895b: 104; Luederwaldt, 1918: 51.
    • Synonym of sexguttatus: Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 134.
    • [Note: Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 134, gives ruficeps as senior synonym, but sexguttatus has priority.]
    • Junior synonym of sexguttatus: Emery, 1894f: 2; Emery, 1896d: 375; Forel, 1899c: 155; Forel, 1905b: 161; Emery, 1906c: 192; Wheeler, W.M. 1908a: 156; Forel, 1909b: 57; Emery, 1925b: 152; Kempf, 1972a: 58; Bolton, 1995b: 121.

Wild (2007) reports upon the status of this form in Paraguay and succinctly states some more general issues involving this ant's nomenclature and texonomony: Camponotus sexguttatus is a common ant throughout the neotropics, particularly in disturbed or edge habitats, that has accumulated an unfortunate number of infraspecific taxa. These names usually pertain to minor color differences. While C. sexguttatus in the broad sense may actually contain a number of cryptic species over the full range of the group, there is little chance that the current haphazard assortment of subspecies and varieties accurately represents them. Literature records from Paraguay include both C. sexguttatus (Forel 1906, Forel 1907b [as “bimaculatus”], Kempf 1972) and C.sexguttatus var. fusciceps (Emery 1906, Kempf 1972). Examination of the specimens at Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève on which the records are based shows both to belong to the single common species that I have been calling C. sexguttatus. A proper taxonomic study may eventually show that the forms from subtropical South America should have a different name, as the type of C. sexguttatus is Antillean in origin, far to the north.


The combination of being widespread and highly variable has led to the creation of many names for this form. Oddly enough there does not appear to be a clear and detailed description that unambiguously defines each caste of this species. The earliest descriptions were vague. Most varieties are noted by brief remarks about differences from the type and do not include more thorough descriptions.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Battirola, L.E., M.I. Marques, J. Adis and J.H.C. Delabie. 2005. Composicao da comunidade de Formicidae (Insecta, Hymenoptera) em copas de Attalea phalerata Mart. Composic?a?o da comunidade de Formicidae (Insecta, Hymenoptera) em copas de Attalea phalerata Mart. (Arecaceae), no Pantanal de Pocone?, Mato Grosso, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 49(1): 107-117.
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