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Species: Camponotus planatus   Roger, 1863 

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See Also:

Camponotus planatus_cf, Camponotus planatus acaciae, Camponotus planatus colombicus, Camponotus planatus continentis, Camponotus planatus contonentis, Camponotus planatus esdras

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2014)

4 subspecies

Camponotus (Myrmobrachys) planatus Roger, 1863a PDF: 148 (s.w.q.m.) CUBA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history


Camponotus planatus is a relatively small (3-6 mm) polymorphic species. It is a dull reddish brown with a contrasting black gaster and is covered with short, stiff, whitish yellow hairs on the dorsal surfaces of the head, mesosoma and gaster. The species is native to the Neotropics, and has established introduced populations in the Southeastern United States. It is uncertain whether the population in Cuba (the type locality) is native or introduced. Although not considered a significant pest species (Klotz et al., 1995; Warner & Scheffrahn, 2005), there are some concerns that C. planatus exerts ecological pressures on native ants in the Florida Keys (Deyrup et al., 2000). The recent discovery in Mississippi (MacGown, 2010) and interception records of the species in the United States and Netherlands (Boer & Vierbergen, 2008) are evidence of its capacity for inadvertent introduction.


Native range. Neotropics from Colombia to northern Mexico and southern Texas. Cuba.
Introduced range. Florida; Mississippi (Hancock Co.).
Intercept records: USA, Netherlands.

Costa Rica: throughout the country to about 1200m elevation.


The native range of C. planatus reaches as far north as Northern Mexico (Alatorre-Bracamontes & Vasquez-Bolanos, 2010; Rodriguez Garza, 1986). It is likely that the Texas population (Breene et al., 1993; Wheeler & Wheeler, 1985) is a natural extension of its native range.

The Florida Keys population was also considered native from the time it first appeared on a species list (Wheeler, 1932) until Deyrup (1991) changed its status to introduced, arguing that if it had been established in the Keys for thousands of years, it would have almost certainly become widely distributed through suitable habitats in south Florida. It is speculated that, in Florida, C. planatus is probably a significant competitor of native ants and other insects that live in wood, and its activities as a predator and a guard of sap-sucking insects should also have ecological importance (Deyrup et al., 2000). The interception records of the species in the United States and Netherlands (Boer & Vierbergen, 2008) are evidence of its capacity for inadvertent introduction.

Camponotus planatus was discovered in Mississippi in 2009 at a nursery specializing in palms, many of which were imported from Florida (MacGown, 2010). MacGown described the species as fast moving and difficult to collect, and presumed it was nesting in the upper parts of the palms.

In Costa Rica, Jack Longino describes the species as ubiquitous in lowland sites where it occurs in both disturbed habitats and mature forests. He has observed dead wood cavity nests in upper forest canopy, open scrubby or second growth vegetation, roadsides, and agricultural land. In Florida, C. planatus nests in hollow twigs, old termite galleries in dead wood, and occasionally in grass culms, and is the dominant ant of states tropical hammocks (Deyrup et al., 1988). It forages diurnally in dispersed trails or singly on trees, bushes, along sidewalks, through lawns and exteriors of structures (Warner & Scheffrahn, 2005). The species has also been documented as exhibiting polygyny (Carlin et al., 1993).

In Costa Rica (Jack Longino)
This widespread species is one of the most common second growth ants in the Neotropics. In Costa Rica it is very common in all lowland habitats, and persists as a common species in open areas at higher elevations. It can occur in both mature forest and in highly disturbed areas. Foragers are diurnal.

Nests occur in highly insolated areas such as upper forest canopy, open scrubby or second growth vegetation, roadsides, and agricultural land. The species is an opportunistic cavity nester. Nests are in dead branches, ranging from narrow vine stems to relatively large branches. In surveys of myrmecophytes such as Cecropia and Cordia alliodora, nests often occur in saplings or dead branches or portions of plants not occupied by the dominant plant ants.

This species is morphologically and behaviorly very similar to senex. The two species seem to differ in the degree of habitat disturbance they prefer. senex is relatively more common in mature forested habitats, while C. planatus dominates in open areas subject to higher disturbance rates.


Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted species in the United States. Worker caste polymorphic. Antenna 12-segmented. Antennal club indistinct; lacking hairs that are longer than the width of the scape. Scape length less than 1.5x head length. Eyes medium to large (greater than 5 facets). Antennal sockets and posterior clypeal margin separated by a distance equal to or greater than the minimum width of antennal  scape. Head length longer than head width. Dorsum of mesosoma lacking impression such that entire mesosomal dorsal profile forms an unbroken, convex curve. Promesonotum evenly convex, not separated from propodeum by metanotal groove. Propodeum and petiolar node both lacking a pair of short teeth. Propodeum lacking posteriorly projecting protrusion. Metapleuron lacking a distinct gland orifice. Waist 1-segmented. Petiole upright and not appearing flattened. Gaster armed with acidopore. Distinct constriction not visible between abdominal segments 3+4. Erect hairs abundant on head, mesosoma and gaster. Color dull reddish to reddish brown with a contrasting black gaster.

Camponotus planatus is diagnosed from other members of the genus introduced or commonly intercepted in the United States by the following characters: (1) metanotal groove not distinctly impressed (versus C. sexguttatus); (2) long erect hairs abundant on head, mesosoma and gaster (versus absent in C. rectangularis and C. variegatus); (3)erect hairs thick and stiff (versus fine and flexuous in C. atriceps); (4) erect scape hairs shorter than scape width (versus longer in C. atriceps); (5) gaster concolorous black (versus variegated in C. variegatus).


Alatorre-Bracamontes, C.E. & Vsquez-Bolaos, M. (2010) Lista comentada de las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) del norte de Mexico. Dugesiana, 17(1), 9-36.

Boer, P. & Vierbergen, B. (2008) Exotic ants in The Netherlands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomol. Ber. (Amsterdam), 68, 121-129.

Breene, R.G., Dean, D.A. & Meagher, R.L., Jr. (1993) Spiders and ants of Texas citrus groves. Florida Entomol., 76, 168-170.

Carlin, N.F., Reeve, H.K. & Cover, S.P. (1993) Kin discrimination and division of labour among matrilines in the polygynous carpenter ant, Camponotus planatus. In: Keller, L. (Ed.) Queen number and sociality in insects. Oxford University Press, Oxford.  439 p., pp. 362-401.

Deyrup, M. (1991) Exotic ants of the Florida keys (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In: Eshbaugh, W.H. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 4th symposium on the natural history of the Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas, pp. 15-22.

Deyrup, M., Carlin, N., Trager, J. & Umphrey, G. (1988) A review of the ants of the Florida Keys. Florida Entomol., 71, 163-176.

Deyrup, M., Davis, L. & Cover, S. (2000) Exotic ants in Florida. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc., 126, 293-326.
Klotz, J.H., Mangold, J.R., Vail, K.M., Davis, L.R., Jr. & Patterson, R.S. (1995) A survey of the urban pest ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of peninsular Florida. Florida Entomol., 78, 109-118.

MacGown, J. (2010) Camponotus planatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an exotic carpenter ant found in Mississippi. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, 55, 187-188.

Rodriguez Garza, J.A. (1986) Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Nuevo Leon. M.Sc. Thesis, Colegio de Postgraduados, Chapingo, Mexico, 107 p.

Roger, J. (1863) Die neu aufgefhrten Gattungen und Arten meines Formiciden-Verzeichnisses nebst Ergnzung einiger frher gegebenen Beschreibungen. Berl. Entomol. Z., 7, 131-214.

Warner, J. & Scheffrahn, R.H. (2005) Compact Carpenter Ant (proposed common name), Camponotus planatus (Roger) (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae). This document is EENY-189, 3 p., one of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. (1985) A checklist of Texas ants. Prairie Nat., 17, 49-64.

Wheeler, W.M. (1932) A list of the ants of Florida with descriptions of new forms. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc., 40, 1-17.

Taxon Page Author History

On 2012-06-06 16:12:31 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-06 16:09:32 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 16:08:27 Eli Sarnat modified Distribution
On 2012-06-06 16:07:27 Eli Sarnat modified Distribution
On 2012-06-06 16:06:25 Eli Sarnat modified Overview
On 2012-06-06 16:05:52 Eli Sarnat modified Overview
On 2012-06-06 16:05:30 Eli Sarnat modified Overview
On 2012-06-06 14:52:17 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-06 14:51:46 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 13:31:36 Eli Sarnat modified Identification
On 2012-06-06 13:25:22 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2012-06-06 13:22:33 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 13:21:25 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 13:20:25 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 13:18:18 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 13:17:38 Eli Sarnat modified Biology
On 2012-06-06 13:16:17 Eli Sarnat modified Distribution
On 2012-06-06 13:11:34 Eli Sarnat modified Overview
On 2011-03-31 23:46:13 Eli Sarnat modified References
On 2011-03-31 23:46:13 Eli Sarnat modified Distribution
On 2011-03-31 23:46:13 Eli Sarnat modified Biology

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Roger, J., 1863:
[[ worker ]] maj. 5 — 5.5 Millim. [[ worker ]] min. 4.5 Millim. lang, jener dunkelroth, dieser hell gelbroth, beide mit schwarzem Hinterleib, ohne Glanz, reichlich mit abstehenden weisslich gelben Haaren besetzt, besonders am Rande des Metanotum « und auf der Schuppe; sehr feine, kurze weissliche Haerchen findet man an Kopf und Thorax sehr sparsam, am Abdomen reichlicher, so dass dieses bei reinen Exemplaren gelblich schimmert. Die Beine sind bald heller, bald dunkler rotii, bei einem Stuecke mit Ausnahme der Vorderschienen und Tarsen fast schwarz. Fuehler hellroth.
Die Mandibeln, ganz vorn fast glatt, sonst aeusserst fein laengs gerunzelt und mit zerstreuten, grossen Punkten besetzt, haben 6 — 7 schwarze Zaehne. Clipeus in der Mitte lappig vorgezogen kaum gekielt. Der Kopf ist dicht fingerhutartig punktirt und hat ausserdem noch auf dem Clipeus und den Wangen zahlreiche, groessere Punkte, die aber beim kleinen [[ worker ]] fast fehlen.
Der Thorax ist oben breit, fast flach, an den Ecken des Pronotums am breitesten, nach hinten allmaelig verschmaelert, ganz aehnlich wie bei C. crassus . Die drei Bruststuecke sind durch Querlinien deutlich getrennt. Das Metanotum ¡ st hinten abgestutzt und beim groesseren [[ worker ]] etwas ausgehoehlt. Der Thorax ist fingerhutartig dicht punktirt, seitlich etwas laengs gerunzelt. Die Schuppe ist bei dem grossen [[ worker ]], platt, oben gerundet, beim kleinen [[ worker ]] dicker, vorn ziemlich gewoelbt, oben ebenfalls bogenfoermig. Das Abdomen ist aeusserst dicht fingerhutartig punktirt, die Segmente sind gelblich gesaeumt. Schienen mit kurzen, kaum absiebenden Haerchen.
Diese Art hat grosse Aehnlichkeit mit crassus Mayr, um so mehr, als von diesem Stuecke vorkommen, welche einen- ganz rothen Kopf haben; die neue Art ist aber entschieden kleiner und hat eine andere Skulptur des Hinterleibs, indem dieser einfach dicht fingerhutartig punktirt ist, bei crassus aber ausser der Punktirung noch eine Menge grosser, eingestochener Punkte bat, die die Skulptur groeber, fast schuppenartig erscheinen lassen.
[[ queen ]] 8 Millim. lang, hellroth mit schwarzem Hinterleib, Hinterbeine dunkler roth. Behaarung und Skulptur ganz wie beim [[ worker ]]. Der Kopf ist laenglich, nur so breit ak der Thorax. Die Fluegel sind leicht gelblich.
[[ male ]] etwas ueber 5 Millim. lang. schwach glaenzend, an Kopf und Thorax kuerzer and spaerlicher, am Hinterleib laenger und reichlicher abstehend behaart. Der Kopf ist dicht fingerhutartig punktirt, Mandibeln braeunlich, schneidend mit zahnfoermiger Spitze. Fuehlerschaft lang, schwarz, Radicula gelb, Geissel braeunlich. Pronotum sehr schmal, vom Mesonotum ganz ueberragt; dieses ist vorn lederartig gerunzelt mit grossem, flachen Punkten und hat vom Pronotum an bis zu seiner hoechsten Woelbung eine eingedrueckte Laengslinie; seine Scheibe ist roth durchscheinend, fingerhutartig punktirt; das Scutellum ebenso, aber etwas weitlaeufiger und feiner punktirt. Schuppe sehr niedrig, quer, dick. Cuba.

Forel, A., 1908:
[[ worker ]]. San Jose de Costa Rica 1160 metres, ecorce (Biolley).

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 57 times found in tropical moist forest, 38 times found in montane wet forest, 22 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 24 times found in lowland wet forest, 23 times found in 2º wet forest, 10 times found in tropical rainforest, 6 times found in Port of entry, 9 times found in mesophil forest, 1 times found in 20m from La Selva Gate, 0 times found in Subtropical thorn forest, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 80 times Beating, 26 times search, 35 times Baiting, 29 times Malaise, 30 times MiniWinkler, 24 times Sweeping, 7 times Foggin, 6 times fogging, 0 times Dead branch, 4 times MaxiWinkler, 0 times On live oak, ...

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1500 meters, 331 meters average

Type specimens:

(-1 examples)

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