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Species: Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) conspicuus zonatus   Emery, 1894 

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Camponotus conspicuus

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2020)

Camponotus extensus subsp. zonatus Emery, 1894g PDF: 3 (s.w.) COSTA RICA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Forel, 1908b PDF: 72 (m.).
Junior synonym of Camponotus inaequalis: Wheeler, 1913b PDF: 503 (in text).
Subspecies of Camponotus extensus: Emery, 1896j PDF: 371 (in list).
Status as species: Forel, 1901j PDF: 371; Emery, 1920b PDF: 255; Mackay & MacKay, 2019 PDF: 770.
// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Honduras, Mexico, Panama
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:

Costa Rica (type locality), Panama, ?Brazil (PE). Costa Rica: northwestern lowlands, Central Valley.


Natural History:

This species is a very common inhabitant of dry forest habitats in northwestern Costa Rica and in the Central Valley. The bright yellow workers are a common site at night. They are very opportunistic in nest site selection, and will nest in almost any cavity. They seem to relocate nests quickly and often. In the campground at Santa Rosa National Park, whole nests containing hundreds or perhaps thousands of workers may colonize a backpack or a suitcase overnight. I remember returning to Monteverde after a fieldtrip in Santa Rosa, opening my suitcase, and being startled by an explosion of hundreds of yellow carpenter ants. They grabbed brood and dispersed in all directions. This species once caused serious economic damage in Costa Rica, when colonies occupied boxed fax machines in a warehouse outside of San Jose (Paul Hanson, pers. com.). Paul jokingly called the species Camponotus faxophagus.

I have seen nests being attacked by army ants at Santa Rosa, and could imagine that their rapid and frequent relocation is an adaptation to minimize losses to army ants.

One of the interesting plant species at Santa Rosa is a climbing cactus, Deamia testudo. This cactus snakes along tree trunks and branches, and has swollen sections of stem which tightly clasp the tree surface, forming large chambers underneath. These chambers appear entirely suberized, but roots do extend from the "ceiling." The structure is reminiscent of ant-epiphytes such as Dichidia and Myrmecodia. I once found a large colony of Camponotus zonatus nesting in Deamia chambers. I kept uncovering nests throughout the crown area, and it is likely they were all part of one extended polydomous colony.

I have also found nests in dead wood of various kinds and in bulbous-based myrmecophytic Tillandsia (Bromeliaceae). At both Palo Verde and Estacion Maritza I have found nests under stones. I have found lone queens in various plant cavities, suggesting that founding is solitary and claustral. Nest sites are often in full sun in very open habitats. I have found workers foraging inside of buildings at night, including in the Hotel Aranjuez in San Jose. Although almost all collections have been from open, hot, dry habitats, I do have one collection of workers from a treefall at El Aleman's. This is a montane wet forest site, at 900m elevation on the Atlantic slope just east of Monteverde. Although very different in habitat from the Pacific lowlands, the distance is not great. El Aleman's is only 10km from more typical dry habitats to the west, on the other side of the continental divide.

I have found nests with inquiline cockroaches.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Forel, A., 1908, Fourmis de Costa-Rica, récoltées par M. Paul Biolley., Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 44, pp. 35-72

Camponotus conspicuus Smith subsp zonatusHNS Emery

[[ worker ]] [[ queen ]] [[ male ]]. Puntarenas, cote Pacifique de Costa Rica, en fevrier (Biolley).

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 3 times found in 2nd growth dry forest, 5 times found in Zona Arida, 3 times found in dry forest, 4 times found in Zona de Transicion, 4 times found in Zona litoral, 4 times found in roadside vegetation, 2 times found in oak forest, 1 times found in riparian strip in dry forest, 2 times found in xeric scrub, 1 times found in mangrove, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times nest in fax machine, 1 times under stone, 1 times pasture at night; nest under stone, 1 times nest under live Deamia testudo, 1 times nest in soft dead wood, 2 times Bajo rocas, 2 times nest in Tilandsia, 1 times nest in dead stick, 1 times in dead Cecropia trunk, 2 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times ex rotten log, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 37 times Pitfall trap, 6 times search, 5 times Colecta manual, 1 times En cebo de miel, 2 times MiniWinkler, 1 times Yellow trap, 1 times Aspirador; en ramas de Parkinsonia sp., 1 times Yellow trap, En Manglar, 1 times Malaise, 1 times Manual, 1 times sweep, ...

Elevations: collected from 2 - 1700 meters, 251 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1963-08-01 and 2010-06-21

Type specimens: syntype of Camponotus conspicuus zonatus: casent0905261, casent0905262

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