Camponotus aethiops

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Camponotus aethiops
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Species: C. aethiops
Binomial name
Camponotus aethiops
(Latreille, 1798)

Camponotus aethiops casent0179459 p 1 high.jpg

Camponotus aethiops casent0179459 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


This is a common European species distributed from Germany to Italy and from Spain to southern Russia. It can also be found in north-west Africa, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Near East, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan (Radchenko 1997c). It inhabits xerotherm grasslands and shrub areas, especially in Mediterranean habitats. Nests are built in the soil. (Marko et al., 2009; Rigato & Toni, 2011). Pashaei Rad et al. (2018) found this species in Iran on a plant and the ground in a moderate to low rainfall area.


Ionescu-Hirsch (2009) - C. aethiops is a member of the subgenus Tanaemyrmex, recognized by its small size, the head with erect setae on the genae and ventral surface, the tibiae slightly compressed laterally and without a dorsomedial ridge, covered only with apressed pubescence in addition to a ventral row of bristles, and its black to reddish-black body. Major workers have matte head and mesosoma dorsum.

Several varieties of C. aethiops were described based on color, shape of the propodeum, and strength of their sculpture (see Emery, 1908). The Israeli specimens show a variability in these features that encompasses all Eastern Mediterranean forms of C. aethiops, although these features are not “correlated”, as stated in the original description. Workers in one series are similar to syntypes of var. concava Forel (Kugler, personal communication) because of their distinctly concave propodeal dorsum in lateral view and black body with reddish legs. However, in other series, the propodeal shape and color differ: the propodeal dorsum in lateral view varies from distinctly concave to straight, and the body color varies from completely black, to partly black with head and mesosoma dark brown; while the legs range from black to ferruginous-brown or brownish-yellow.

Keys including this Species


Ionescu-Hirsch (2009) - Western Palaearctic, from Germany to Kazakhstan, and the western Mediterranean through southern Europe and Asia Minor to Afghanistan (Radchenko, 1997b) and Israel.

Borowiec & Salata (2020): Although Camponotus aethiops was recorded from Israel, its occurrence in Jordan needs confirmation. Recent studies on the Camponotus aethiops group in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Basin showed that this taxon is a group of at least two cryptic species: true C. aethiops and Camponotus oertzeni. Our studies on Balkan populations indicate that C. oertzeni is a more thermophilic than C. aethiops and is much more common in arid habitats. Thus, materials of C. aethiops complex from the Middle East should be revised.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia.
Palaearctic Region: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Balearic Islands, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (type locality), Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Iran, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Associations with other Organisms

Other Insects



  • This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia camponoti (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).


  • This species is a host for the nematode Camponotimermis bifidus (a parasite) (Ipateva et al., 1990).
  • This species is a host for the nematode Comanimermis clujensis (a parasite) (Coman, 1953).

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 2,500 (Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary forager (Beckers et al., 1989)



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

  • aethiops. Formica aethiops Latreille, 1798: 35 (w.q.m.) FRANCE. Combination in Camponotus: Mayr, 1861: 36; in C. (Myrmoturba): Forel, 1914a: 266; in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 97. Subspecies of sylvaticus: Forel, 1874: 38 (in key); Nasonov, 1889: 11; of rubripes: Forel, 1886f: 143; of maculatus: Forel, 1892i: 306; Ruzsky, 1902d: 6; Emery, 1908a: 199; Forel, 1915d: 70; Finzi, 1924a: 14; Menozzi, 1918: 87; Karavaiev, 1927c: 276; Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1929b: 36. Revived status as species: Emery, 1898c: 125; Bondroit, 1918: 72; Emery, 1920b: 255; Emery, 1920c: 7; Santschi, 1921a: 116; Menozzi, 1922b: 331; Finzi, 1930d: 317; Santschi, 1931a: 11; Menozzi, 1936d: 300; Karavaiev, 1936: 185; Stitz, 1939: 248; Novak & Sadil, 1941: 110; Bernard, 1967: 336; Kutter, 1977c: 206; Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 551; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 217. Senior synonym of nigrata: Mayr, 1855: 313; Radchenko, 2007: 38; of angustata: Emery, 1908a: 199; of hyalinipennis: Emery, 1914e: 2; Emery, 1915a: 250; of marginata (and its junior synonym sylvaticoaethiops): Pisarski, 1975: 31; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 58; of concava, sylvaticoides: Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 58; of glaber: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 128. Current subspecies: nominal plus cachmiriensis, escherichi.
  • angustata. Formica angustata Latreille, 1798: 34 (w.m.) FRANCE. Junior synonym of aethiops: Emery, 1908a: 199.
  • marginata. Formica marginata Latreille, 1798: 35 (w.q.) FRANCE. Nylander, 1856b: 54 (m.). Combination in Camponotus: Mayr, 1861: 36; in C. (Myrmoturba): Forel, 1915d: 70; in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 97. Junior synonym of sylvaticus: Mayr, 1865: 27. Revived from synonymy: André, 1874: 176; Forel, 1874: 40; Ruzsky, 1895: 9; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 184. Subspecies of aethiops: Bondroit, 1918: 73; Menozzi, 1925d: 35; Finzi, 1928c: 791; Stitz, 1939: 251. Senior synonym of sylvaticoaethiops: Forel, 1915d: 70. Junior synonym of fallax: Bernard, 1967: 342; of aethiops: Pisarski, 1975: 31; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 58.
  • nigrata. Formica nigrata Nylander, 1849: 35 (w.q.m.) ITALY (Sicily). Junior synonym of aethiops: Mayr, 1855: 313; Radchenko, 2007: 38.
  • sylvaticoaethiops. Camponotus sylvaticus var. sylvaticoaethiops Forel, 1874: 39 (w.q.m.) SWITZERLAND. Subspecies of aethiops: Dalla Torre, 1893: 221. Junior synonym of marginata: Forel, 1915d: 70.
  • hyalinipennis. Camponotus marginatus var. hyalinipennis Costa, 1884: 56 (q.) ITALY (Sardinia). Junior synonym of aethiops: Emery, 1914e: 2; Emery, 1915a: 250.
  • concava. Camponotus aethiops var. concava Dalla Torre, 1893: 221 (s.w.) GREECE. [First available use of Camponotus rubripes r. aethiops var. concavus Forel, 1889: 263; unavailable name.] Finzi, 1930d: 317 (q.); Menozzi, 1936d: 301 (l.). Combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 97. Subspecies of aethiops: Arnol'di, 1967: 1829; Pisarski, 1970: 322. Junior synonym of aethiops: Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 58.
  • sylvaticoides. Camponotus aethiops var. sylvaticoides Dalla Torre, 1893: 221 (s.w.) BULGARIA. [First available use of Camponotus maculatus r. aethiops var. sylvaticoides Forel, 1892i: 306; unavailable name.] Subspecies of aethiops: Müller, 1923: 156; Emery, 1925b: 97. Junior synonym of aethiops: Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 58.
  • glaber. Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) aethiops var. glaber Emery, 1925b: 97 (w.) RUSSIA. [First available use of Camponotus maculatus subsp. aethiops var. glaber Ruzsky, 1905b: 213; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of aethiops: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 128.

Determination Clarifications

The species from Lebanon that was formerly identified as Camponotus concavus Forel (junior synonym of C. aethiops in Bolton et al., 2006) by Tohmé (1969a) was reidentified as Camponotus sannini by Tohmé and Tohmé (1999). Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Ionescu-Hirsch (2009) - TL = 4.9–9.5, HL = 1.15–2.54, HW = 0.86–2.50, EL = 0.35–0.51, SL = 1.29–2.19, ML = 1.76–3.16, MW = 0.74–1.56, mTbL = 1.09–1.84, hTbL = 1.43–2.50 (n = 40).


  • 2n = 42 (France; old Yugoslavia) (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983).


  • Agosti, D.; Collingwood, C. A. 1987a. A provisional list of the Balkan ants (Hym. Formicidae) and a key to the worker caste. I. Synonymic list. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 60: 51-62 (page 58, senior synonym of marginata (and its junior synonym sylvaticoaethiops), senior synonym of concava and sylvaticoides)
  • Arnol'di, K. V.; Dlussky, G. M. 1978. Superfam. Formicoidea. 1. Fam. Formicidae - ants. Pp. 519-556 in: Medvedev, G. S. (ed.) Keys to the insects of the European part of the USSR. Vol. 3. Hymenoptera. Part 1. Opredeliteli Faune SSSR 119:3-584. (page 551, revived status as species)
  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 217, revived status as species)
  • Beckers R., Goss, S., Deneubourg, J.L., Pasteels, J.M. 1989. Colony size, communication and ant foraging Strategy. Psyche 96: 239-256 (doi:10.1155/1989/94279).
  • Bernard, F. 1967a [1968]. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp. (page 336, revived status as species)
  • Bondroit, J. 1918. Les fourmis de France et de Belgique. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 87: 1-174 (page 72, revived status as species)
  • Borowiec, L., Salata, S. 2020. Review of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Jordan. Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, Entomology 29 (online 2): 1-26 (doi:10.5281/zenodo.3733156).
  • Coman, D. 1953. Mermithide freatice in fauna Republich Populare Romane. Academia Republicii Populare Romıne, Studii si Cercetari stiint, Serii, vol. 2, 123–152.
  • Da Silva, R. A., A. A. Khaustov, J. M. S. Lopes, J. H. C. Delabie, and A. R. Oliveira. 2017. A new species of Petalomium from Brazil with a redescription of Petalomium gottrauxi Mahunka 1977 (Acari: Heterostigmatina: Neopygmephoridae). Systematic and Applied Acarology. 22:1800-1812. doi:10.11158/saa.22.11.2
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Soyunov, O. S.; Zabelin, S. I. 1990 [1989]. Ants of Turkmenistan. Ashkhabad: Ylym Press, 273 pp. (page 128, senior synonym of glaber)
  • Emery, C. 1898c. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der palaearktischen Ameisen. Öfvers. Fin. Vetensk.-Soc. Förh. 20: 124-151 (page 125, revived status as species)
  • Emery, C. 1908a. Beiträge zur Monographie der Formiciden des paläarktischen Faunengebietes. Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1908: 165-205 (page 199, race/subspecies of maculatus, senior synonym of angustata)
  • Emery, C. 1914d. Note sulle formiche della collezione sarda e della collezione dell'Italia meridionale, radunate da Achille Costa, e conservate nel Museo Zoologico della R. Università di Napoli. Annu. Mus. Zool. R. Univ. Napoli (n.s.)4(1 18: 1-3 (page 2, senior synonym of hyalinipennis)
  • Emery, C. 1915a. Contributo alla conoscenza delle formiche delle isole italiane. Descrizione di forme mediterrannee nuove o critiche. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 46[=(3)(6): 244-270 (page 250, senior synonym of hyalinipennis)
  • Emery, C. 1920b. Le genre Camponotus Mayr. Nouvel essai de la subdivision en sous-genres. Rev. Zool. Afr. (Bruss.) 8: 229-260 (page 255, revived status as species)
  • Emery, C. 1920d. Studi sui Camponotus. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 52: 3-48 (page 7, revived status as species)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 97, combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex))
  • Espadaler, X., Santamaria, S. 2012. Ecto- and Endoparasitic Fungi on Ants from the Holarctic Region. Psyche Article ID 168478, 10 pages (doi:10.1155/2012/168478).
  • Finzi, B. 1924a. Formiche dell'isola d'Elba e Monte Argentario. Boll. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 56: 12-15 (page 14, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Finzi, B. 1930d. Zoologische Forschungsreise nach den Jonischen Inseln und dem Peloponnes. XII. Teil. Die Ameisen der Jonischen Inseln. Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien Math.-Naturwiss. Kl. Abt. I 139: 309-319 (page 317, revived status as species)
  • Forel, A. 1874. Les fourmis de la Suisse. Systématique, notices anatomiques et physiologiques, architecture, distribution géographique, nouvelles expériences et observations de moeurs. Neue Denkschr. Allg. Schweiz. Ges. Gesammten Naturwiss. 26: 1-452 (page 38, race/subspecies of sylvaticus (in key))
  • Forel, A. 1886h. Études myrmécologiques en 1886. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 30: 131-215 (page 143, race/subspecies of rubripes)
  • Forel, A. 1892j. Die Ameisenfauna Bulgariens. (Nebst biologischen Beobachtungen.). Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 42: 305-318 (page 306, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Forel, A. 1914a. Le genre Camponotus Mayr et les genres voisins. Rev. Suisse Zool. 22: 257-276 (page 266, combination in C. (Myrmoturba))
  • Forel, A. 1915d. Fauna insectorum helvetiae. Hymenoptera. Formicidae. Die Ameisen der Schweiz. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 12(B Beilage: 1-77 (page 70, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Ionescu-Hirsch, A. 2010 (2009). An annotated list of Camponotus of Israel, with a key and descriptions of new species. Israel Journal of Entomology. 39:57-98.
  • Ipateva, G.V., Pimenova, I.N., Mukhamedzyanova, F.V. 1990. A new nematode genus and species, Camponotimermis bifidus gen. and sp. n., from ants. In: Helminthes of Insects, M. D. Sonin, Ed., pp. 80–87, E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Karavaiev, V. 1927e. Ameisen aus dem paläarktischen Gebiet. II. Zb. Prats Zool. Muz. 2:89-104 [= Tr. Ukr. Akad. Nauk Fiz.-Mat. Vidd. 4:333-348]. (page 276, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Karavaiev, V. 1936. The fauna of the family Formicidae (ants) of the Ukraine. Part II (conclusion). Tr. Inst. Zool. Biol. Ukr. Akad. Nauk Ser. 1 Pr. Syst. Faun. 1936: 161-316 (page 185, revived status as species)
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 206, revived status as species)
  • Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, N. N. 1929b. Die Ameisenfauna Daghestans. Zool. Anz. 83: 34-45 (page 36, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Latreille, P. A. 1798. Essai sur l'histoire des fourmis de la France. Brive: F. Bourdeaux, 50 pp. (page 35, worker, queen, male described)
  • Marko, B., Ionescu-Hirsch, A., Szasz-Len, A. 2009. Genus Camponotus Mayr, 1861 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Romania: distribution and identification key to the worker caste. Entomologica romanica 14: 29-41.
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 313, senior synonym of nigra)
  • Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp. (page 36, combination in Camponotus)
  • Menozzi, C. 1918. Primo contributo alla conoscenza della fauna mirmecologica del Modenese. Atti Soc. Nat. Mat. Modena (5) 4: 81-88 (page 87, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Menozzi, C. 1922c. Contribution à la faune myrmécologique de l'Espagne. Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 22: 324-332 (page 331, revived status as species)
  • Menozzi, C. 1936b. Nuovi contributi alla conoscenza della fauna delle Isole italiane dell'Egeo. VI. Hymenoptera - Formicidae. Boll. Lab. Zool. Gen. Agrar. R. Sc. Super. Agric. 29: 262-311 (page 300, revived status as species)
  • Nasonov, N. V. 1889. Contribution to the natural history of the ants primarily of Russia. 1. Contribution to the ant fauna of Russia. Izv. Imp. Obshch. Lyubit. Estestvozn. Antropol. Etnogr. Imp. Mosk. Univ. 58: 1-78 (page 11, race/subspecies of sylvaticus)
  • Novák, V.; Sadil, J. 1941. Klíc k urcování mravencu strední Evropy se zvlástním zretelem k mravencí zvírene Cech a Moravy. Entomol. Listy 4: 65-115 (page 110, revived status as species)
  • Obregon, R., M. R. Shaw, J. Fernandez-Haeger, and D. Jordano. 2015. Parasitoid and ant interactions of some Iberian butterflies (Insecta: Lepidoptera). Shilap-Revista De Lepidopterologia. 43:439-454.
  • Pashaei Rad, S., Taylor, B., Torabi, R., Aram, E., Abolfathi, G., Afshari, R., Borjali, F., Ghatei, M., Hediary, F., Jazini, F., Heidary Kiah, V., Mahmoudi, Z., Safariyan, F., Seiri, M. 2018. Further records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Iran. Zoology in the Middle East 64, 145-159 (doi:10.1080/09397140.2018.1442301).
  • Pisarski, B. 1975. Mrówki Formicoidea. Kat. Fauny Pol. 26: 3-85 (page 31, senior synonym of marginata (and its junior synonym sylvaticoaethiops))
  • Rigato, F.; Toni, I. 2011. Short notes 21. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Pp. 873-882 in: Nardi, G.; Whitmore, D.; Bardiani, M.; Birtele, D.; Mason, F.; Spada, L.; Cerretti, P. (eds.) 2011. Biodiversity of Marganai and Montimannu (Sardinia). Research in the framework of the ICP Forests network. Conservazione Habitat Invertebrati, 5. Sommacampagna, Verona: Cierre Edizioni, 896 pp.
  • Ruzsky, M. 1902d. Material on the ant fauna of the Caucasus and the Crimea. Protok. Obshch. Estestvoispyt. Imp. Kazan. Univ. 206(su suppl: 1-33 (page 6, race/subspecies of maculatus)
  • Santschi, F. 1921a. Notes sur les fourmis paléarctiques. II. Fourmis d'Asie Mineure récoltées par M. H. Gadeau de Kerville. Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 21: 110-116 (page 116, revived status as species)
  • Santschi, F. 1931a. Inventa entomologica itineris Hispanici et Maroccani, quod a. 1926 fecerunt Harald et Håkan Lindberg. Fourmis du Bassin Méditerranéen occidental et du Maroc récoltées par MM. Lindberg. Comment. Biol. 3(1 14: 1-13 (page 11, revived status as species)
  • Stitz, H. 1939. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands und der angrenzenden Meersteile nach ihren Merkmalen und nach ihrer Lebensweise. 37. Theil. Hautflüger oder Hymenoptera. I: Ameisen oder Formicidae. Jena: G. Fischer, 428 pp. (page 248, revived status as species)