| Camponotus femoratus|
This species and its New World congener Camponotus irritabilis have a reputation as some of the world's most aggressive ant species. Their mandibles can readily break the skin of an unwary or unlucky myrmecologist, and the ants add to this discomfort by spraying the cut with formic acid. An individual worker defending itself like this is mildly annoying . . . the en mass attacks this species deliver are very uncomfortable. Camponotus femoratus and Crematogaster levior live together in ant gardens. Dejean et al. (2018) found this territorially-dominant arboreal-ant species association inhabited 1/5 of the tree canopies they sampled in an Amazonian forest.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Leal et al. (2017) - Crematogaster levior and Camponotus femoratus are common in Amazonian ant gardens and often occur nesting together. It is known that the latter aggressively defends its nesting location, i.e., the ant garden, while the former does not. Crematogaster levior are able to forage both on the forest understory and on the forest ground, over larger distances from the nest and under more extreme weather conditions (such as at forest edges) in comparison with C. femoratus (Vantaux et al., 2007). Camponotus femoratus forages exclusively in the forest understory for brief periods during the day.
In this study twenty six rainforest ant gardens in forest edge habitat and forest interior locations were examined. Fifteen epiphyte species were found to be incorporated in the ant gardens overall, with from one to five species per nest. The major ant garden difference was a higher incidence of epiphytes with glands, i.e., oil producing or nectar bearing species, in the forest interior. Camponotus femoratus was found to react to chemical compounds indicative of herbivore damage while Crematogaster levior did not. This is consistent with the former providing herbivore protection to the epiphytes it lives with while the latter does not. Along with the differences in foraging potentially limiting the extent of interspecific competition between the two ant species for resources provided by their shared ant garden, Camponotus individuals can get food from Crematogaster workers through trophallaxis (Menzel et al., 2014). Therefore, C. femoratus may co-occur with C. levior due to the additional resource input provided by the latter.
Vicente and Izzo (2017) - Ant gardens occupied by this species were more common and larger in larger forest gaps. Gaps with more open canopies were correlated with a decrease in ground foraging by C. femoratus.
This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti-femorati (Araujo et al., 2018).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- femoratus. Formica femorata Fabricius, 1804: 397 (q.) BRAZIL. Emery, 1894c: 174 (w.); Forel, 1904c: 49 (s.). Combination in Camponotus: Roger, 1862c: 284; in C. (Myrmothrix): Forel, 1914a: 269. Junior synonym of rufipes: Roger, 1861b: 164. Revived from synonymy: Mayr, 1863: 14. See also: Hashmi, 1973: 44.
- Araújo, J.P.M., Evans, H.C., Kepler, R., Hughes, D.P. 2018. Zombie-ant fungi across continents: 15 new species and new combinations within Ophiocordyceps. I. Myrmecophilous hirsutelloid species. Studies in Mycology 90: 119–160 (DOI 10.1016/j.simyco.2017.12.002).
- Dejean, A., J. Orivel, M. Leponce, A. Compin, J. H. C. Delabie, F. Azemar, and B. Corbara. 2018. Ant-plant relationships in the canopy of an Amazonian rainforest: the presence of an ant mosaic. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 125:344-354. doi:10.1093/biolinnean/bly125
- Emery, C. 1894d. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. VI-XVI. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 26: 137-241 (page 174, worker described)
- Fabricius, J. C. 1804. Systema Piezatorum secundum ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Brunswick: C. Reichard, xiv + 15-439 + 30 pp. (page 397, queen described)
- Forel, A. 1904d. Miscellanea myrmécologiques. Rev. Suisse Zool. 12: 1-52 (page 49, soldier described)
- Forel, A. 1914a. Le genre Camponotus Mayr et les genres voisins. Rev. Suisse Zool. 22: 257-276 (page 269, combination in C. (Myrmothrix))
- Hashmi, A. A. 1973b. A revision of the Neotropical ant subgenus Myrmothrix of genus Camponotus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Stud. Entomol. 16: 1-140 (page 44, see also)
- Mayr, G. 1863a. Formicidarum index synonymicus. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 13: 385-460 (revived from synonymy)
- Roger, J. 1861b. Myrmicologische Nachlese. Berl. Entomol. Z. 5: 163-174 (page 164, junior synonym of rufipes)
- Roger, J. 1862c. Synonymische Bemerkungen. 1. Ueber Formiciden. Berl. Entomol. Z. 6: 283-297 (page 284, combination in Camponotus)
- Vicente, R. E. and T. J. Izzo. 2017. Defining Habitat Use by the Parabiotic Ants Camponotus femoratus (Fabricius, 1804) and Crematogaster levior Longino, 2003. Sociobiology. 64:373-380 (DOI: 10.13102/sociobiology.v64i4.1228.