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Species: Camponotus (Myrmosphincta) sexguttatus   (Fabricius, 1793) 

Download Data

Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2022)

Extant: 9 valid subspecies

Formica sexguttata Fabricius, 1793 PDF: 354 (q.) [Note: type-locality rendered “île de Sainte-Croix, en Amérique”, by Latreille, 1802a PDF: 282.] VIRGIN IS (St Croix I.). Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

[Misspelled as 6-guttata by Fabricius, 1793 PDF: 354; Smith, 1858a PDF: 41.]
[Misspelled as sexmaculatus by Wheeler, 1918b PDF: 28.]
Combination in Camponotus: Mayr, 1862 PDF: 656.
Status as species: Latreille, 1802a PDF: 281; Fabricius, 1804 PDF: 401; Smith, 1858a PDF: 41; Mayr, 1862 PDF: 656 (redescription); Mayr, 1863a PDF: 401; Roger, 1863b PDF: 4; Mayr, 1865 PDF: 28; Mayr, 1870a PDF: 373 (in key); Mayr, 1877a: 20 (in list); Smith, 1879a PDF: 675; Forel, 1879a PDF: 71; Mayr, 1884 PDF: 30; Forel, 1885a PDF: 346; Emery, 1890c PDF: 56; Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 251; Emery, 1894d PDF: 167; Emery, 1894g PDF: 2; Emery, 1894l PDF: 62; Forel, 1895b PDF: 104; Emery, 1896j PDF: 375 (in list); Forel, 1899b PDF: 155; Forel, 1902b PDF: 172; Forel, 1905e PDF: 161; Emery, 1906c PDF: 192; Forel, 1906d PDF: 249; Wheeler, 1908a PDF: 156; Forel, 1908 PDF: 404; Forel, 1909a PDF: 265; Forel, 1909b PDF: 57; Santschi, 1912e PDF: 534; Wheeler, 1913e PDF: 243; Bruch, 1914 PDF: 230; Wheeler & Mann, 1914 PDF: 56; Wheeler, 1916c PDF: 14; Luederwaldt, 1918 PDF: 51; Wheeler, 1923a PDF: 5; Wheeler, 1923d PDF: 5; Emery, 1925d PDF: 151; Borgmeier, 1927c PDF: 150; Menozzi & Russo, 1930 PDF: 167; Smith, 1937 PDF: 870; Santschi, 1939f PDF: 167; Kusnezov, 1952f PDF: 224; Kusnezov, 1953c PDF: 339; Kempf, 1960e: 399; Kempf, 1972b PDF: 58; Zolessi et al., 1988: 6; Brandão, 1991 PDF: 333; Bolton, 1995b: 123; Deyrup et al., 2000: 301; Deyrup, 2003 PDF: 44; Wild, 2007b PDF: 29, 48; Bezděčková et al., 2015 PDF: 113; Wetterer et al., 2016 PDF: 9; Deyrup, 2017: 199; Mackay & MacKay, 2019 PDF: 768; Lubertazzi, 2019 10.3099/MCZ-43.1 PDF: 90.
[Note: Wheeler, 1905c PDF: 134, gives Camponotus ruficeps as senior synonym, but Camponotus sexguttatus has priority.]


Camponotus sexguttatus is a midsized, polymorphic species with a shiny reddish brown head, a shiny dark brown gaster marked with yellowish white spots, and a distinctly impressed metanotal suture. The species is a Neotropical native and ranges from Argentina to Nicaragua and presumably parts of the Caribbean (Kempf, 1972). Although it is considered introduced in Florida and at least some Caribbean islands (Deyrup, 1998;2003), C. sexguttatus is not considered a pest (Deyrup et al., 2000).

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Honduras, Martinique, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, United States, Uruguay
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Nearctic, Neotropical
  Native to (according to species list records):
    Neotropical bioregion

Distribution Notes:

Native range. Neotropics from Argentina to Nicaragua and presumably parts of the Caribbean.
Introduced range. Florida (Dade Co.); Bahamas (New Providence); possibly other Caribbean islands.
USA POE Intercept records. Brazil; Trinidad-Tobago.

Costa Rica: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands.


What is currently referred to as C. sexguttatus, like many of its widespread congeners, may well prove to be a complex of cryptic species. In his investigation of C. sexguttatus and its relatives in Paraguay, Wild (2007) concluded that while C. sexguttatus in the broad sense may contain a number of cryptic species over its entire range, it is unlikely that the current subspecies reflect actual population boundaries.

Camponotus sexguttatus
was originally described from the Antilles, but the designation of Bahaman populations as introduced (Deyrup, 1998) raises into question which, if any, of the Caribbean populations are native to the islands. Although purportedly collected in Hawaii where it was nesting in a house (Smith, 1879), it has not currently believed to be established on any of the islands (Krushelnycky et al., 2005). The species was intentionally introduced to Biosphere 2 (Arizona, USA), but was not found in any surveys subsequent to the original introduction (Wetterer et al., 1999).

The earliest known specimens from Florida date to 1993 (Deyrup et al., 2000), but the species is considered rare and currently confined to Dade County (Deyrup, 2003). In addition to nesting in saw grass stems at the edges of marshy areas, Florida colonies have also been discovered inside the thorns of non-native ant-acacias (Wetterer & Wetterer, 2003) and workers are known from the vegetation of the invasive tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (Costello et al., 2003). 

In Paraguay, C. sexguttatus is reported as common, particularly in disturbed or edge habitats (Wild, 2007), and was frequently sampled from vegetation in the Ecuadorian Amazon (Ryder Wilkie et al., 2010). In Costa Rica, Jack Longino (2012) reported very few collections of C. sexguttatus, all from very weedy open areas.

In Costa Rica (Jack Longino)
I know this species from relatively few collections. They have all been from very weedy open areas. The species seems to have small colonies in very ephemeral nest sites. At Sirena in Corcovado National Park I found workers while collecting at night in an old guava plantation. Another time I was collecting in an area of open Sida and grasses, and down in the leaf litter I found an aggregation of workers, some brood, and a queen. Several minor workers were dragging the queen to and fro. There was no nest structure. At La Selva Biological Station the species is only known from around the lab clearing and administration area. Ronald Vargas found a nest in a rolled Heliconia leaf. Alate queens have been taken at the lab clearing blacklight (3 March 1989).


Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted ants in the United States. Worker caste polymorphic. Antenna 12-segmented. Antennal club indistinct. Antennal scape length less than 1.5x head length. Eyes medium to large (greater than 5 facets); lacking distinct ocelli. 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. Metanotal groove distinctly impressed. Propodeum and petiolar node both lacking a pair of short teeth. Propodeum not angulate and lacking a distinct dorsal and posterior face; also 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. Hairs not long thick and produced in pairs. Gaster concolorous or often with yellowish white spots on lateral portions of second tergite, but always lacking dark transverse bands running near posterior margins of tergites that contrast with the rest of gaster and body.

Camponotus sexguttatus is diagnosed from other members of the genus introduced or commonly intercepted in the United States by the following characters: (1) metanotal groove distinctly impressed (versus all others); (2) gaster concolorous or often with yellowish white spots on lateral portions of second tergite (versus variegated in C. variegatus); and (3) propodeum not angulate and lacking a distinct dorsal and posterior face (versus C. rectangularis).


Costello, S.L., Pratt, P.D., Rayamajhi, M.B. & Center, T.D. (2003) Arthropods associated with above-ground portions of the invasive tree, Melaleuca quinquenervia, in South Florida, USA. Florida Entomol., 86, 300-322.

Deyrup, M. (1998) Composition of the ant fauna of three Bahamian Islands. In: Wilson, T.K. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 7th symposium on the natural history of the Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas, pp. 23-31.

Deyrup, M. (2003) An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomol., 86, 43-48.

Deyrup, M., Davis, L. & Cover, S. (2000) Exotic ants in Florida. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc., 126, 293-326.

Fabricius, J.C. (1793) Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta. Secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonimis, locis observationibus, descriptionibus. Tome 2. C. G. Proft, Hafniae [= Copenhagen], 519 pp.

Forel, A. (1879) tudes myrmcologiques en 1879 (deuxime partie [1re partie en 1878]). Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat., 16, 53-128, pl. I.

Jaffe, K. & Lattke, J.E. (1994) Ant fauna of the French and Venezuelan islands in the Caribbean. In: Williams, D.F. (Ed.) Exotic ants. Biology, impact, and control of introduced species. Westview Press, Boulder.  xvii + 332 p., pp. 181-190.

Kempf, W.W. (1972) Catlogo abreviado das formigas da regio Neotropical. Stud. Entomol., 15, 3-344.

McGlynn, T.P. (1999) The biogeography, behavior, and ecology of exotic ants. Ph.D. dissert., University of Colorado at Boulder, 178 p.

Ryder Wilkie, K.T., Mertl, A.L. & Traniello, J.F.A. (2010) Species diversity and distribution patterns of the ants of Amazonian Ecuador. PLoS ONE, 5(10): e13146, 12 p.

Wetterer, J.K., Miller, S.E., Wheeler, D.E., Olson, C.A., Polhemus, D.A., Pitts, M., Ashton, I.W., Himler, A.G., Yospin, M.M., Helms, K.R., Harken, E.L., Gallaher, J., Dunning, C.E., Nelson, M., Litsinger, J., Southern, A. & Burgess, T.L. (1999) Ecological dominance by Paratrechina longicornis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an invasive tramp ant, in Biosphere 2. Florida Entomol., 82, 381-388.

Wetterer, J.K. & Wetterer, A.L. (2003) Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on non-native neotropical ant-acacias (Fabales: Fabaceae) in Florida. Florida Entomol., 86, 460-463.

Wild, A.L. (2007) A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1622, 1-55.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Camponotus sexguttatus   Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 29, (download) 29 21367
Camponotus sexguttatus   Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 47-48, (download) 47-48 21367
Camponotus sexguttatus   Mayr, G., 1862, Myrmecologische Studien., Verhandlungen der Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 12, pp. 649-776: 656, (download) 656 4445
Camponotus sexguttatus   Forel, A., 1886, Études myrmécologiques en 1886., Annales de la Societe Entomologique de Belgique 30, pp. 131-215: 39, (download) 39 3923

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 10 times found in Yard in the urban area, 8 times found in mature rainforest, 3 times found in disturbed lowland dry forest, 1 times found in 20m from La Selva Gate, 5 times found in Port of entry, 1 times found in river edge, 3 times found in beach, 2 times found in littoral vegetation, 1 times found in Gallery forest, 1 times found in Administration area, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 8 times ex Malaise trap, 1 times Unshaded tree, 3 times on low vegetation, 1 times ex Acacia ruddiae thorns, 2 times on vegetation, 1 times Nest in rotting wood, 1 times in litter, 1 times Ground, 1 times at blacklight, 1 times with bromeliads, 1 times sugar cane, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 9 times search, 8 times Malaise, 8 times Manual sampling, 4 times direct collection, 3 times hand collecting, 1 times Blacklight, 1 times HandCollection, 1 times porch light, 1 times sweep, 1 times collected at lights, 1 times Hand, ...

Elevations: collected from 4 - 600 meters, 109 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1900-10-11 00:00:00.0 and 2022-02-04 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: Holotype of Formica albofasciata: casent0903635; Lectotype of Camponotus sexguttatus fusciceps: casent0905475; paralectotype of Camponotus sexguttatus fusciceps: casent0905476; syntype of Formica bimaculata: casent0903629; type of Camponotus sexguttatus: focol0567

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