36 VOL. 491 2019: 36 40
New records of three Neotropical arboreal ant
species of Camponotus, subgenus Dendromyrmex
(Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for the southern Amazon,
including biological information
Ricardo Eduardo VICENTE1,2,*, Diego FERREIRA-SILVA1, Mendelson GUERREIRO DE LIMA1
1 Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso, Faculdade de Ciências Biológicas e Agrárias, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Campus II, Alta Floresta, MT, Brazil
2 Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Núcleo de Estudos da Biodiversidade da Amazônia Mato-grossense, Sinop, MT, Brazil
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Camponotus (Formicinae) is the most specious and abundant genus of the family Formicidae. e genus is represented by ants
that both forage and nest in the most diverse terrestrial and arboreal environments. Among the arboreal species of Camponotus
are those of the subgenus Dendromyrmex. We recorded, for the rst time, evidence of Camponotus chartifex (Smith, 1860)
in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, and expanded the distributions of Camponotus nidulans (Smith, 1860) and Camponotus
apicalis (Mann, 1916). We include information on the biology of the species and a discussion on the sampling of arboreal
and winged ants.
KEYWORDS: distribution; Formicinae; Camponotus chartifex; Camponotus nidulans; Camponotus apicalis; winged ants
Novos registros de três espécies neotropicais de formigas arborícolas de
Camponotus, subgênero Dendromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para a
Amazônia meridional, incluindo dados de história natural
Camponotus é um dos gêneros mais especiosos e abundantes da subfamília Formicidae. O gênero é representado por formigas
que se alimentam e nidicam nos mais diversos habitats de ambientes terrestres e arbóreos. Entre as espécies arborícolas de
Camponotus, estão as do subgênero Dendromyrmex. Registramos, pela primeira vez, Camponotus chartifex (Smith, 1860) para o
estado de Mato Grosso, Brasil, e expandimos a distribuição de Camponotus nidulans (Smith, 1860) e Camponotus apicalis (Mann,
1916), incluindo informações biológicas sobre as espécies e uma discussão sobre a amostragem de formigas arborícolas e aladas.
PALAVRAS-CHAVE: distribuição; Formicinae; Camponotus chartifex; Camponotus nidulans; Camponotus apicalis; formigas aladas
CITE AS: Vicente, R.E.; Ferreira-Silva, D.; Guerreiro-de-Lima, M. 2018. New records of three Neotropical arboreal ant species of Camponotus, subgenus
Dendromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for the southern Amazon, including biological information. Acta Amazonica 49: 36-40.
e Formicinae subfamily comprises about 3,055 species and
804 subspecies in 51 genera around the world, of which 14
genera occur in the Neotropical region (Baccaro et al. 2015;
AntMaps 2018; AntWeb 2018). Among the genera of the
subfamily Formicinae, one of the most speciose and abundant
is the genus Camponotus Mayr, 1861, with about 1,023
described species, of wich about 470 occur in the Neotropics
(Ryder-Wilkie et al. 2010; Santos-Silva et al. 2016; AntWeb
2018). Camponotus is also well represented in the Amazon
region, comprising 1.99% to 9.33% of sampled ant fauna in
the biome (Vicente et al. 2016). e genus is represented by
ants that forage on the ground and in litter microhabitats, and
arboreal ants that nest on vegetation, rocks, and organic matter.
In addition, in some cases, arboreal ants of this genus prefer
the soft wood of trees for the construction and maintenance
of their nests (Fernandes et al. 2014; Suguituru et al. 2015).
e arboreal ant species of the genus Dendromyrmex Emery
were reallocated as a subgenus of Camponotus, because they
do not have autapomorphies (Fernández 2002). e species
in this group are characterized by colonies with exclusively
monomorphic workers (which are di- or polymorphic in other
subgenera of Camponotus), and dorsal and lateral angular
propodeum and dorsum with transverse striation (Fernández
2002). us the morphology of Dendromyrmex falls within
the general morphology of Camponotus, and Dendromyrmex is
VICENTE et al. New records of Camponotus ants in the Amazon
37 VOL. 491 2019: 36 40
likely a monophyletic group if the monomorphy is a derived
trait in a typically dimorphic genus. Very little is known about
the biology and natural history of Dendromyrmex, and there
are several gaps in the distribution of species.
Workers of three species of Camponotus subgenus
Dendromyrmex were collected in four municipalities in the
state of Mato Grosso, Brazil (Figure 1). We used the taxonomic
key of Fernández (2002) to identify the species as Camponotus
apicalis (Mann, 1916), Camponotus chartifex (Smith, 1860),
and Camponotus nidulans (Smith, 1860). e identication
of the specimens was conrmed by a specialist (Dr. Rodrigo
Feitosa), the specimens were deposited in the Entomological
Collection Padre Jesus Santiago Moure of the Department of
Zoology of Universidade Federal do Paraná (DZUP) and the
Entomological Collection of Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi
(MPEG). e distribution of the species was assessed on
AntMaps (Guénard et al. 2017), and the literature on behavior
of the species was reviewed.
Workers of C. apicalis were sampled in Estação Ecológica
Rio Ronuro, Nova Ubiratã municipality (13°06’S, 54°26’W)
in November 2016 using the beating-tray method (an
adapted entomological umbrella) in the vegetation (Figure
2A) (collection vouchers DZUP-REV16001BT, MPEG.
HHY-03036215). Camponotus chartifex were sampled
directly in their nest in Parque Nacional do Juruena, Apiacás
municipality (09°20’S, 57°53’W), in July 2011 (Figure 2B)
(collection vouchers DZUP-REV11007CM). We measured
the distance of the nest to the ground, and worker behavior
was observed and photographed. Workers and one male of
C. nidulans were collected in a sampling module of Program
PPBio (https://ppbio.inpa.gov.br/) in the municipality of
Claudia (11°35’S, 55°15’W) using the beating-tray method
in vegetation during the day (Figure 2C) (collection vouchers
DZUP-REV09004BT, MPEG.HHY-03036213). Workers
of C. nidulans were also collected in 2010 and 2011 using
the beating-tray method in São Nicolau Farm, Cotriguaçu
municipality (09°48’S; 58°15’W) (Dáttilo et al. 2013)
(collection vouchers DZUP-REV09006BT).
Camponotus apicalis has a known distribution from the
Lesser Antilles to Bolivia (Kempf 1972; Fernández 2002).
In Brazil, it had previously been recorded in the northern
and northeastern regions, in the states of Amazonas, Pará,
Rondônia, Bahia, and also in Mato Grosso (Kempf 1972;
Fernández 2002). We collected C. apicalis at night when active
in the understory vegetation of a river margin. e sampling
site was surveyed twice (day and night) in November 2016 and
twice (day and night) in February 2017. During these surveys,
no nest was observed, and no workers were collected. is is
a sign that during the night C. apicalis were active far from
the nest, reinforcing the supposition that ants in this group
have nocturnal habits. Males of the subgenus Dendromyrmex
were collected in the same square meter of vegetation where
C. apicalis workers were sampled. Males of C. apicalis were not
described so far, so that future taxonomic revisions should look
into male chracterization and dierentiation in these taxons.
is is the rst record of C. chartifex for the state of
Mato Grosso. e species occurs in the Neotropical region
Figure 1. Distribution map of Camponotus apicalis (A), Camponotus chartifex (B)
and Camponotus nidulans (C). Countries (and states within Brazil) in which the
species has been recorded are highlighted in gray. Triangles represent our new
records, and circles represent the closest previously known records to our collection
sites. Previous records are from Kempf 1972; Adis et al. 1998; Fernández 2002
VICENTE et al. New records of Camponotus ants in the Amazon
38 VOL. 491 2019: 36 40
from Honduras to Bolivia (Fernández 2002; Fernández
and Sendoya 2004). Previous records in Brazil are from the
northern, northeastern and southeastern regions, in the states
of Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Bahia, Sergipe, Espírito Santo, and
São Paulo (Fernández 2002). e nearest known occurence
relative to our record in Mato Grosso is Ducke Reserve, in
the municipality of Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil (Harada
and Adis 1998), more than 600 km in a straight line from
our collection site.
Camponotus chartifex was found nesting at 81 cm from the
ground in an unidentied palm tree. e nest was constructed
mostly from silk-like material, made from organic matter rich
in plant bers. is nesting habit is known for the “weaver
ants”, that are abundant throughout the world, including the
Neotropics (Santos et al. 2005). When the nest was found,
at 12:07 h, the ants were inactive inside the nest (Figure 3A).
When measuring the distance from the nest to the ground,
the disturbance generated an evasive behavior. During this
display, C. chartifex worker ants ran with immature individuals
between their mandibles and with their gasters suspended,
releasing formic acid that emitted an acetic odor (Figure 3B).
Figure 2. Images of Camponotus apicalis (A), Camponotus chartifex (B) and
Camponotus nidulans (C) sampled in Mato Grosso, Brazil. This gure is in color in
the electronic version.
Figure 3. Images of a Camponotus chartifex nest without workers in activity (A)
and showing worker activity (B) in Parque Nacional do Juruena, municipality of
Apiacás, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. This gure is in color in the electronic version.
VICENTE et al. New records of Camponotus ants in the Amazon
39 VOL. 491 2019: 36 40
We also observed that workers hit their gasters heavily against
the nest surface, emitting a sound like a drum beat, which
was occasionally triggered together. is behavior is known
as “drumming” (Santos et al. 2005) and is very common
in weaver ants, including in the Neotropical Camponotus
(Fuchs 1976; Hölldobler and Wilson 1990; Vicente et al.
2014; Aguiar and Santos 2017). Drumming behavior may be
displayed as an alarm response to stimuli or during recruitment
(Santos et al. 2005; Aguiar and Santos 2017).
Camponotus nidulans is distributed from southeast Mexico
to Bolivia (Kempf 1972; Jeanne 1979; Ryder-Wilkie et al.
2010). In Brazil, it occurs in the northern, northeastern and
southeastern regions, in the states of Amapá, Amazonas, Pará,
Acre, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Bahia, and Espírito Santo
(Kempf 1972; Fernández 2002). is new record of C. nidulans
is located more than 400 km from its nearest previously known
occurrence in Mato Grosso state (Fernández 2002).
Although C. apicalis and C. nidulans were not seen
active in the daytime, workers of C. nidulans were sampled
when active in the understory vegetation during the day in
Claudia and Cotriguaçu. e species is known for intraspecic
variation in color and degrees of pilosity. is morphological
plasticity may reect on the ability to forage during the day
and the night, or only during the day, allowing the species to
adapt locally to niche partitioning to avoid competition with
sympatric species that have the same ecological requirements.
Few studies of arboreal ants have been conducted in the
Neotropics, resulting in few records of arboreal ants in the
literature (Kempf 1972; Fernández 2002; Vasconcelos et al.
2010; Vicente et al. 2016), since many species have a life
history limited to the plants in which they live (Vicente et al.
2012; Prado et al. 2016). In addition to the little knowledge
about the distribution of Neotropical ants (Santos-Silva et
al. 2016; Vicente et al. 2016), still less is known about their
reproductive biology, (Kaspari et al. 2001a, b; Boudinot
2015; Feitosa et al. 2016). erefore, the use of sampling
methods that capture winged ants should be encouraged in
studies of ant diversity, despite the diculty in identifying the
species (Boudinot 2015). e challenge of associating winged
individuals with workers results in data on winged ants being
disregarded. All these complications are exacerbated in the
case of arboreal ants, which often are not included in fauna
surveys, resulting in a fragmented knowledge about species
distribution. e beating-tray methodology, which is rarely
used in ant surveys, can be a simple, inexpensive and ecient
alternative method to improve ant samplings.
We thank Livia Píres do Prado for reading the previous version
of this manuscript, and Rodrigo Feitosa, from Universidade
Federal do Paraná − UFPR for identication of the ants. REV
acknowledges Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi −MPEG and
Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações
−MCTIC (PCI reserach fellowship # 301081/2017−4) and
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Mato Grosso
− FAPEMAT and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Científico e Tecnológico − CNPq (edital n° 003/2016)
(DCR research fellowship). is work is publication 55 in
the NEBAM technical series.
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