Camponotus textor

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Camponotus textor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Species: C. textor
Binomial name
Camponotus textor
Forel, 1899

Camponotus textor casent0280097 p 1 high.jpg

Camponotus textor casent0280097 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Camponotus textor is native to Central and South America. They are weaver ants, using their larvae to build silken nests by sewing tree leaves together.

Identification

Longino (2006) - Camponotus textor is a typical Myrmobrachys in the form of the propodeum and general habitus. Like Camponotus senex it is very setose, with abundant erect setae projecting from the sides of the head in face view and from the mesosomal and gastral dorsa in side view. Unlike in C. senex the gaster is covered with a dense yellow appressed pubescence that obscures the underlying cuticle and gives the ant a golden sheen. Forel described C. textor based on a Costa Rican collection by Tonduz. It was collected in a silk nest attached to leaves, and the entire nest, with queen, was sent to Forel. The description includes the dense yellow pubescence and abundant long erect pilosity, and I am confident of this determination. The presence of dense gastral pubescence is relatively common in Myrmobrachys. Similarly pubescent species in Costa Rica include Camponotus planatus and Camponotus brettesi. The former is bicolored, with red head and mesosoma and darker gaster. Minor workers of C. brettesi tend to have relatively shorter and whiter pubescence, lacking the golden sheen of C. textor. Camponotus textor is weakly polymorphic, whereas C. planatus and C. brettesi have more distinct major workers that are much larger than minor workers.

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Costa Rica (type locality), Honduras, Panama.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Longino (2006) - Camponotus textor inhabits mature rainforest canopy, where it builds nests by sewing leaves together with larval silk (Forel 1899, 1905, Wheeler 1915, Schremmer 1979, Holldobler and Wilson 1983). In Costa Rica it is relatively uncommon. At La Selva Biological Station, in the Atlantic lowlands, there is a large foot bridge that crosses the Rio Puerto Viejo. On each side of the river the bridge goes through the crowns of canopy trees growing on the banks of the river. One of these is an Inga, and for a while it contained nests of C. textor. From the side of the bridge I could see two or three of the nests, each a cluster of leaves and silk about the size of a baseball. Workers and a dealate queen were obtained in a Project ALAS canopy fogging sample from Virola koschnyi (Myristicaceae). This was the only occurrence among 52 ALAS fogging samples. In addition, workers were obtained in a single ALAS Malaise trap, one of 16 traps run for a year of sampling.

There is a montane form of C. textor which differs from the lowland form. The gaster has dilute pubescence, like C. senex. It occurs at 500 m elevation on the Barva Transect, a continuously forested slope above La Selva Biological Station. I found a colony when I cut and lowered a large live branch from the crown of a Vochysia ferruginea tree. The branch contained two nests of silked-together leaves. The nests were relatively small, comprised of only two or three Vochysia leaves held together with silk sheets. The two forms of C. textor seem to be sharply parapatric. During Project ALAS sampling of the Barva transect, workers of typical C. textor were collected in a Malaise trap at a 300 m site but not at any of the higher sites. The montane form was collected only from the 500 m site. It is unknown whether this is intraspecific clinal variation or evidence of two species with a parapatric distribution.

Wheeler (1915) discussed the Camponotus species that build exposed nests of leaves sewn together with silk and use their larvae as a source of silk. He observed that these species tend to have very weak polymorphism. I also have noted the surprising lack of major workers in C. textor and the montane form. There is some variation in worker size, but no large major workers. Members of the subgenus Dendromyrmex exhibit no size variation at all. The workers of subgenus Dendromyrmex do not seem at all closely related to C. textor, suggesting that the construction of silk nests and the weak to absent polymorphism have evolved independently in two different lineages.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • textor. Camponotus senex r. textor Forel, 1899c: 138 (w.q.) COSTA RICA. Combination in C. (Myrmobrachys): Emery, 1925b: 164. Raised to species: Longino, 2006b: 134.

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

Description

Type Material

Longino (2006) - Syntype worker, queen: Costa Rica (Tonduz)

References