Camponotus kefir

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Camponotus kefir
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Species: C. kefir
Binomial name
Camponotus kefir
Ionescu-Hirsch, 2010

Camponotus kefir casent0281009 p 1 high.jpg

Camponotus kefir casent0281009 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Camponotus kefir.


Ionescu-Hirsch (2009) - C. kefir is similar to Camponotus festai and Camponotus riedeli in size and habitus and has color pattern similar to C. riedeli. It differs from C. festai and C. riedeli by weaker ground sculpture (distinctly more shiny) and by lack of erect setae on dorsal surface of hind tibia. It differs from C. festai also by straight propodeal dorsum, as opposed to arched in lateral view, and by the narrower head of minor workers (HW/HL = 0.63–0.70, n = 20, as opposed to 0.70–0.79, n = 20). It differs by having distinctly fewer erect setae (an average of 2.1) on the dorsal surface of the scape, as opposed to 13.4 setae. C. kefir has body sculpture and pilosity similar to Camponotus samius, but differs from C. samius in many details. The head of the major worker of C. kefir is broad (HW/HL = 0.91–0.96) and has lateral margins strongly curved, while in C. samius the head is narrower (HW/HL < 0.91) and has lateral margins medially straight or only slightly arched; the scape of the small worker (HL < 2 mm) is longer relative to head length in C. kefir (SL/HL = 1.23–1.31, n = 20) than in C. samius (SL/ HL = 1.10-1.23, n = 10). Major workers of C. kefir, although having similar sculpture, are more shiny than the almost matte C. samius. The dorsum of hindtibia is covered with short apressed pubescence in C. kefir, as opposed to decumbent to suberect pubescence in C. samius.

C. kefir belongs to the C. festai species complex (Radchenko, 1997b), together with C. festai, C. riedeli, and Camponotus samius. Collingwood and Kugler (J. Kugler, personal communication) considered specimens collected on Har Meron as belonging to a subspecies of C. festai that is paler and lacks bristle-like setae on the scape and dorsum of the tibiae, on account of the similar habitus of the major workers and the fact that a few specimens of C. festai have mesosoma color variable (referred to as Camponotus caeciliae in Tohmé, 1969a, junior synonym of C. festai). However, I consider C. kefir to be closely related to C. samius, given the similarity of minor workers of C. kefir to C. samius, especially to minor workers in a sample of 22 specimens of var. spagnolinii Emery (junior synonym of C. samius) from Turkey.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Israel (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • kefir. Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) kefir Ionescu-Hirsch, 2010: 76, figs. 3, 34, 52 (s.w.) ISRAEL.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Head. Longer than wide in major worker (HW/HL = 0.91–0.96, n = 10), with arched margins laterally, distinctly elongate in minor worker (HW/HL = 0.63–0.71, n = 27), with parallel margins; frontal carina strongly sinuous, frons broad; clypeus projected anteriorly, truncated, subcarinate in major worker, distinctly carinate in minor worker; scape long (SL/HW = 0.92–2.00), surpassing occipital margin by 0.33 of its length in major worker and by 0.5 of its length in minor worker; mandible usually with six (19 out of 21), rarely, with five teeth.

Mesosoma. Outline in lateral view smoothly arched; propodeum dorsum forms obtuse angle with declivity; propodeum compressed laterally; petiolar scale broad, dorsally convex; tibia compressed laterally, with distinct longitudinal ridge.

Sculpture. Clypeus, frons, and vertex transversally striate and carinulate; gena densely punctuate; mesosoma laterally shagreened; head, mesosoma dorsum, and gaster with scattered hair-bearing foveolae. Entire body shiny.

Pilosity. Yellowish; clypeus, frons, vertex, mesosoma, and all gaster segments, with dense, erect, long setae; gena, entire ventral surface of head and mandible with shorter erect and suberect setae; in major worker, at least 17 long erect setae (in indistinct rows) on dorsum of pronotum and mesonotum, 12 on dorsum of propodeum, and up to 8 on petiole scale; fewer on coxa; scape with short, subapressed hairs and 0–10 (average = 2.1, n = 20) longer, decumbent and suberect setae, not bristles; hindtibia with row of decumbent bristles on ventral surface (Fig. 52); body covered with very short, apressed, white pubescence, more distinct on head and gaster.

Color. Body bicolorous, regardless of size: head and gaster brown to black, mesosoma dorsum dark brown, mesosoma lateroventrally, and petiole scale light brown; legs brown with coxae and femora proximally yellowish.

TL = 9.6–13.3, HL = 2.15–3.53, HW = 1.33–3.36, EL = 0.52–0.70, SL = 2.50–3.20, ML = 3.59–4.84, PW = 1.48–2.19, mTbL = 1.80–2.46, hTbL = 3.24–3.71 (n = 50).

Type Material

Holotype worker, ISRAEL: Har Kefir, 6.ix.2007, A. Ionescu, (deposited in Tel Aviv University Entomological Collection). Paratypes: same collection data as holotype (10 workers); 2.ix.2008, A. Ionescu (10 workers); Golan Heights, Mas’ade Forest, 21.i.1994, M. Warburg (2 workers); Har Meron, 27.iv.1984, C.A. Collingwood (2 workers); 27.iv.1984, J. Kugler (2 workers); 25.v.2006, N. Angel (21 workers); 25.v.2007, S. Bleicher (4 workers); 11.vii.2007, S. Bleicher (5 workers, 1 queen).


The new species is named after Mount (= Har in Hebrew) Kefir, the type locality. “Kefir” means “young lion” in Hebrew. It is a noun in apposition.