Camponotus novaehollandiae

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Camponotus novaehollandiae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Species: C. novaehollandiae
Binomial name
Camponotus novaehollandiae
Mayr, 1870

Camponotus novaehollandiae casent0172156 profile 1.jpg

Camponotus novaehollandiae casent0172156 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


A member of the Camponotus maculatus group. Members of this group share the following biological attributes: (a) mostly nocturnal, (b) nests are in clay soil, never in sand, (c) entrances to nests are well hidden, (c) strong attraction to honey bait at night, (d) domination. (McArthur and Leys 2006)


McArthur and Leys (2006) - Camponotus maculatus group species share the following distinguishing characters: 1. The most striking character is the distinct occipital carina in minor workers (see the dorsal head view of the minor worker in the caste images of Camponotus crozieri). This forms a ridge externally and probably serves to strengthen the anterior parts of the head (Snodgrass 1935), it is absent in major workers. 2. Strong dimorphism, i.e., workers encountered are mostly either major or minor, medium workers are non existent or very scarce. 3. The sides of the heads of major workers taper strongly to the front (Fig. 2) while in minor workers, the sides are mostly parallel and taper to the rear. 4. The vertex in major workers is concave or flat, in minor workers it is convex. 5. The scape and tibiae have plentiful short setae, raised up, more so in Australian than in African species. 6. Biology: (a) mostly nocturnal, (b) nests are at honey bait, (e) quickly scatter when disturbed by torch light.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 22.5045° to -43.166°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality), New Caledonia.
Indo-Australian Region: Solomon Islands.

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.


Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.



The phylogeography of a group of Pacific Island Camponotus species, which included a number of species groups, was broadly examined by Clouse et al. (2015). They found Camponotus novaehollandiae is a member of a clade (Clade V) that originated in the Australian wet tropics and has become much more widespread and specieous.

Clouse et al 2015 F4.jpg







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

  • novaehollandiae. Camponotus novaehollandiae Mayr, 1870b: 939 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Queensland).
    • Mayr, 1876: 66 (q.m.).
    • Combination in C. (Myrmoturba): Forel, 1915b: 98; Wheeler, W.M. 1915g: 814;
    • combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 96.
    • Subspecies of sylvaticus: Forel, 1879a: 67; Mayr, 1880: 21; Emery, 1887a: 212 (footnote).
    • Subspecies of rubripes: Forel, 1886f: 143.
    • Subspecies of maculatus: Emery, in Dalla Torre, 1893: 241 (footnote), 245; Emery, 1896d: 370 (in list); Kirby, W.F. 1896: 204; Forel, 1902h: 497; Forel, 1907h: 299; Forel, 1910b: 70; Emery, 1911c: 249; Forel, 1912b: 83; Emery, 1914f: 425; Forel, 1915b: 98; Crawley, 1915a: 136; Wheeler, W.M. 1915g: 814; Mann, 1919: 369.
    • Subspecies of variegatus: Emery, 1920c: 7; Emery, 1925b: 96; Wheeler, W.M. 1935g: 40.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1876: 61 (in key); Mayr, 1877: 20 (in list); Dalla Torre, 1893: 245; Clark, 1930c: 19; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 118; Taylor, 1987a: 14; Bolton, 1995b: 114; McArthur & Leys, 2006: 109 (redescription); Sarnat, et al. 2013: 70; McArthur, 2014: 92.
    • Senior synonym of villosa: McArthur & Leys, 2006: 109.
  • villosa. Camponotus (Myrmoturba) villosa Crawley, 1915a: 136 (s.w.) AUSTRALIA (Northern Territory).
    • Combination in C. (Tanaemyrmex): Emery, 1925b: 102.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1925b: 102; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 121; Taylor, 1987a: 15; Bolton, 1995b: 129; McArthur, 2007a: 328.
    • Junior synonym of novaehollandiae: McArthur & Leys, 2006: 109.

Type Material

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



Length. 10-13 mm. Yellow shining rather pale legs, tarsus tending to be red, mandibles ferruginous, head more or less not dark; hairy, cheeks with short upstanding hair; antennae and tibia not hairy; sparse pubescence, tibia and scapes with plentiful short pubescence, somewhat erect, finely coriaceous, the gaster in the same manner with transverse wrinkles and grooves, mandibles finely (more or less finely coriaceous) with scattered punctures; Clypeus obtusely keeled, produced forward in a frontal lobe, anterior margin straight and emarginate on both sides; size of the body as in C.sylvatico Io.; petiole with ovate node, in a way thick, anterior face convex, posterior face flat, edges rounded.

From Cape York.

This as well as a second coming from the islands of the Pacific Ocean and a third yet doubtful form from the South East Islands I collected earlier, before I had obtained the true C.pallidus Sm. from Borneo through Marquese Doria, for this species. C.novaehollandae is different from C.pallidus in the larger size, the yellow color,the less compressed less convex thorax, in the cheeks covered with upstanding hair (in the worker major of C pallidus there is always only flat-lying hair), in the rather highly glossy body, the sparse pubescence of the gaster and in the absence of punctations on the gaster.

What now concerns the above mentioned second species from the southern islands (from Godeffroy Museum), I would like to postpone the description of the same until a larger number of specimens is available to me. It is also observed in the Adnot ad mon, indoneerl. Form. The given diagnosis of C. pallidus can be placed in no definite species and is therefore struck out.

Camponotus (Myrmoturba) villosa Crawley, W.C. (1915)

Worker.-Length.9-12.5 mm. In the worker major the clypeus is carinate and feebly and widely emarginate; mandibles 7-dentate, finely reticulate, with scattered piligerous points; scapes just reach the occiput. Declivous surface of epinotum half as long as basal surface. Scale high, narrow. In the worker minor mandibles 6-dentate, clypeus carinate, anterior border straight, scale similarly shaped, but broader and lower. Whole body very finely reticulate, more feebly on gaster, and worker minor less than worker major. Scapes and tibiae hairy; the whole body with long scattered outstanding hairs. Yellow; head, mandibles, and gaster of worker major chestnut, darker, with a still darker patch on the vertex, joints of legs also darker; bases of first, second and third gastric segments yellow; worker minor entirely yellow, sometimes tip of head and gaster slightly darker.

Batchelor, N.T., 12.xii.12.

McArthur and Leys (2006) - HW 1.4-3.0; HL 2.1-3.2; PW 1.2-1.70; (n = 10). Yellow, sometimes brownish; glossy; scapes and tibiae with plentiful short setae raised to about 45°; mesosoma with about 20 erect setae about eye length mostly on pronotum and near angle, plentiful under head; propodeal dorsum slightly convex, angle well rounded; dimorphic. Major worker. Head much wider behind than in front; node summit blunt; anterior clypeal margin median section projecting, bounded by square corners with a wide concavity between. Minor worker. Head sides convex, parallel, tapering feebly to rear (more so in smallest workers); vertex convex, with distinct occipital carinae; anterior clypeal margin median section feebly convex, bounded by rounded corners; ratio propodeal dorsum/declivity about 3.

Type Material

McArthur and Leys (2006) - Syntypes of Camponotus novaehollandiae: 5 major workers and 4 minor workers on 8 pins labelled “Cape York coll. G Mayr” “C. novaehollandiae det. G Mayr” in Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna. – Syntypes of Camponotus villosus: 1 major worker labelled “Camponotus villosus BM type 11-915 Batchelor Northern Territory G F Hill” (head is missing) on one pin and 1 minor worker labelled “Camponotus villosus det W C Crawley Batchelor Northern Territory G F Hill”, on one pin in The Natural History Museum.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Clark J. 1930. New Formicidae, with notes on some little-known species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria (n.s.)43: 2-25.
  • Clouse R. M., B. D. Blanchard, R. Gibson, W. C. Wheeler, and M. Janda. 2016. Taxonomic updates for some confusing Micronesian species of Camponotus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Myrmecological News 23: 139-152.
  • Edwards, John S. and Ian W.B. Thornton. 2001. Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island, Motmot, in its caldera lake. VI. The pioneer arthropod community of Motmot. Journal of Biogeography. 28. 1379-1388.
  • Emery C. 1911. Formicidae. Résultats de l'expédition scientifique néerlandaise à la Nouvelle-Guinée en 1907 et 1909 sous les auspices de Dr. H. A. Lorentz. Nova Guin. 9: 249-259
  • Emery, C. 1914. Les fourmis de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et des îles Loyalty. Nova Caledonia. A. Zoologie 1:393-437.
  • Heterick B. E., B. Durrant, and N. R. Gunawardene. 2010. The ant fauna of the Pilbara Bioregion, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 78: 157-167.
  • Jennings J. T., and A. D. Austin. 2015. Synopsis of the hymenopteran fauna of Lord Howe Island with a preliminary checklist of species. Zootaxa 3931(3): 423–432.
  • Kami K.S., and S. E. Miller. 1998. Samoan insects and related arthropods: checklist and bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13, pp 121.
  • Kami KS & Miller SE. 1998. Samoan insects and related arthropods: checklist and bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report No. 13.
  • Mann W. M. 1919. The ants of the British Solomon Islands. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 63:273-391.
  • McArthur A. J., and R. Leys. 2006. A morphological and molecular study of some species in the Camponotus maculatus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Australia and Africa, with a description of a new Australian species. Myrmecologische Nachrichten 8: 99-110.
  • Rechinger, K. 1907. Botanische und zoologische Ergebnisse einer wissenschaftlichen Forschungreise nach den Samoa-Inseln, dem Neuguinea-Archipel und den Salomons-Inseln von März bis Dezember 1905. I. Teil. Wien: A. Hölder, 121 pp.
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.
  • Viehmeyer H. 1912. Ameisen aus Deutsch Neuguinea gesammelt von Dr. O. Schlaginhaufen. Nebst einem Verzeichnisse der papuanischen Arten. Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königlichen Zoologischen und Anthropologische-Ethnographischen Museums zu Dresden 14: 1-26.
  • Wetterer, James K. and Vargo, Donald Vargo L. 2003. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Samoa. Pacific Science. 57(4):409-419.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1915. Hymenoptera. [In Scientific notes on an expedition into the north-western regions of South Australia.]. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 39:805-823.
  • Wheeler W.M. 1935. Check list of the ants of Oceania. Occasional Papers of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum 11(11):1-56.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1927. The ants of Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 62: 121-153
  • Wheeler, William Morton.1935.Checklist of the Ants of Oceania.Occasional Papers 11(11): 3-56