Current Valid Name: Colobopsis vitiensis
Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2018)
Taxon Page Images:
(Sarnat & Economo, in press)
Distribution: Geographic regions:
Not found on any curated Geolocale/Taxon lists.
Endemic to the Fiji Islands. Gau:
Navukailagi 632, Navukailagi 387, Navukailagi 408, Navukailagi 496, Navukailagi 557, Navukailagi 564. Kadavu:
Moanakaka 60. Koro:
Mt. Kuitarua 500, Mt. Kuitarua 505, Kuitarua 480, Mt. Kuitarua 485, Mt. Nabukala 520. Taveuni:
Devo Peak 1188, Devo Peak 1187 b, Mt. Devo 734, Mt. Devo 892, Mt. Devo 1064, Soqulu Estate 140. Vanua Levu:
Kilaka 98, Drawa 270. Viti Levu:
Mt. Evans 800, Mt. Evans 800, Mt. Naqarababuluti 864, Mt. Batilamu 840 c, Savione 750 a, Monasavu Dam 600, Lami 260, Nakobalevu 340, Colo-i-Suva 372, Veisari 300 (3.8 km N), Veisari 300 (3.5 km N), Mt. Nakobalevu 200, Nadarivatu 750, Waisoi 300, Waiyanitu, Tamavua.
is a Fijian endemic, and is one of the more easily recognizable species in the forests of Fiji owing to its behavior of cocking the gaster above the mesosoma while running in large and aggressive foraging lines. The species is known from six of the archipelago's islands. It is a large uniformly dull black species of robust build. The dull appearance is caused by the coriaceous microsculpture covering the head, mesosoma, petiole and legs. The microsculpture of the gaster, however, runs in neat transverse lines. Mann, in his description, made note of the slender and compressed legs of this species. Although there is a small but noticeable and consistent difference in size among C. vitiensis
from the different islands, all are recognized here as belonging to the species described by Mann (1921). In particular, the Viti Levu specimens tend to be larger than specimens taken from any of the other islands. However, no corresponding differences in morphology can be discerned.
Mann proposed that this species nests high in trees, and the absence of any nest collections gives credence to his conjecture. Moreover, none of the dozens of specimens collected from malaise traps and by hand are soldiers. The queen, male and major described by Donisthorpe (1946) were taken off a tree by R. A. Lever in the Mt. Evans range. The description by Donisthorpe of the soldiers head being flattened anteriorly suggests that C. vitiensis does belong to the Colobopsis lineage. The geographic range of Camponotus vitiensis is much greater than previously recorded (Ward & Wetterer, 2006), and it is now known from all the large and mid-sized islands in Fiji. Malaise trapping proves to be particularly effective for collecting this species, while it was recorded from only one sifter-litter sample.
Specimens from the non-type locality of Waiyanitu bear red cotype labels but are not true syntypes.
Donisthorpe, H. (1946) Undescribed forms of Camponotus (Colobopsis) vitiensis from the Fiji Islands (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London Series B Taxonomy, 15, 69-70.
Mann, W.M. (1921) The ants of the Fiji Islands. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 64, 401-499.
Sarnat, E.M. & Economo, E.P. (In Press) Ants of Fiji. University of California Publications in Entomology.
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