The Ants of Africa
Genus Camponotus subgenus Myrmosericus
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus (F. Smith)

Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus (F. Smith)


NOTE: June 2014. In recent correspondence over South African specimens, Christian Ludwig drew my attention to the anomaly of the queen shown on Antweb (photomontage below) as F Smith’s type of Formica vestita being an Anoplolepis queen.

From the illustrations, it appears to be a very close match to the Anoplolepis custodiens queen in Prins (1982). Ironically, the type worker of A. custodiens came from the same locality, Port Natal, and was described by F Smith, as “Formica custodiens” in his 1858b paper. So where did the error come from? Some taxonomic archaeology took me back to Roger (1863b: 2) where he catalogued Smith's queen under Camponotus but his entry reads “27. ? vestitus Smith. Cat. Brit. Mus. 32. queen”. Jumping on in time, the next appearance was in Emery (1894i: 113) where one finds “Camponotus rufoglaucus Jerdon sottosp. vestitus F. Sm.. Una queen senza indicazione di localita”. So Emery gave firm status to what Roger was unsure about. Emery (1895h: 49 and illustration) then jumped from the queen, of which there is no evidence he saw, to the worker, with a key separation and illustration. From that one gets the worker that I matched, from Namibia, on my webpage. I should have spotted the wrongness when first doing the webpage. My vestitus queen from Uganda and the available queens of “subspecies” match.

Under strict ICZN rules, the prior name from Smith (1858b) is "112. Formica vestita" which should become the type form of Anoplolepis vestita with "114. Formica custodiens" reduced to its junior synonym.

The most senior available replacement name for the present "Camponotus vestitus appears to be Camponotus pectita Santschi 1911, which is the only variety of “vestitus” listed by Emery (1925b: 106) in his catalogue. That, however, is complicated by the evidence of distinct groups as I discuss further below.


return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Africa (Formica vestita, F. Smith, 1858b: 32, queen; Arnold, 1924: 694, major worker & queen) Port Natal - see below
subspecies
anthracinus (Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus Sm. var. anthracinus n. var., Santschi, 1930a: 74, major & minor workers) Angola, Benguela, J Cruchet - see below
bombycinus (Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus Sm. stirps bombycinus n. st., Santschi, 1930b: 77. worker) Angola, Chimporo - minor see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0911782
intuens (Camponotus rufoglaucus Jerdon subsp cinctellus Gerst. v. intuens n. var., Forel, 1909b: 67; Santschi, 1926b: 258, worker) Angola - see below
pectitus (Camponotus rufoglaucus Jerd. stirps vestitus Sm. v. pectita n. var., Santschi, 1911g: 212, unavailable name; Santschi, 1930a: 74, major & minor workers & queen) Angola, Benguela, J Cruchet - see below
comptus (Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus Sm. v. comptus n. var., Santschi, 1926b: 259, queen; 1930a: 76, male) Ivory Coast, Dimbroko, Le Moult - queen see below
lujai (Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus Sm. var. lujai n. var., Santschi, 1930a: 75, major worker & male) Zaïre, Kondué, E Luja - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0911784
perpectitus (Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus Sm. v. perpectitus n. var., Santschi, 1926b: 259, queen) Benin, Kouandé, Desanti - see below
strophiatus (Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus Sm. v. strophiatus n. var., Santschi, 1926b: 259, minor worker) South Africa, Cape Town, Reichensperger - see below
major & minor workers & queen described (see Bolton, 1995) .


F Smith's (1858b) description is at {original description}. Arnold (1924: 694) provided an expanded description; this is at - {original description}. Forel's (1909b) description of intuens is at {original description}. Santschi's (1911g) description of pectita is at {original description}. Santschi's (1926b) descriptions of comptus, perpectitus and strophiatus are at {original description}. Santschi's (1930a) description of lujai and a note on vestitus are at {original description}, and his (1930a) description of pectitus and anthracinus are at {original description}. Santschi's (1930b) description of bombycinus is at {original description}.

Forel's (1909b) description of intuens (comparison with rufoglaucus ssp cinctellus; the latter now being as species, Camponotus cinctellus, in its own right, type location Mozambique) was: TL 4.3-6; MAJOR - scape surpassing the occiput by no more than twice its width. Head less enlarged behind. Yellow border to gastral segments very narrow. Colour black; posterior of head, mandibles, funiculi and legs reddish. Otherwise as cinctellus, of which it is a small variety. Specimens from Benguela, Angola, by Creighton Wellman.

Wheeler (1922) also listed it from Cameroun (at Mundame, by Conradt) and Zaïre (several localities but all specimens found in the stomachs of toads).

Bernard (1952) reported this species, so common in the plains of French West Africa, was represented in the Mt. Nimba, Guinea, collections only by several workers from Kéoulenta and N'Zo.

Lévieux (1983a), noted its presence in Ivory Coast savannah, at Ferkéssédougo, where it was preyed on by Myrmicaria opaciventris (as nitidans).


{Camponotus vestitus type queen}The photomontage of the holotype (Anoplolepis) queen is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0903234


From the above consideration and the Antweb images now available (posted April-May 2014) the forms listed appear to fall into three distinct groups, as follows:
Dark forms - comprising the identical anthracinus, intuens, lujae and pectitus. All from Angola, other than lujae from Zaïre, Kondué.
A red South African form; as described by Arnold (1924: 694), strophiatus and the Namibia workers shown below.
Two identical queens, perpectitus and comptus, both West African; matched by the Uganda queen.

Entirely separate and probably unrelated is the bombycinus minor from Angola, although listed by Santschi (1930b) as a strips of vestitus the label reads "C. rufoglaucus bombycinus type Sants.".


Dark forms - comprising the identical anthracinus, intuens, lujae and pectitus. Of these, the major worker is known for pectitus.  The identical larger workers of anthracinus (see .antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0911780), intuens (see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0910320) and lujae (see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0911784) all appear to be media workers.

{Camponotus vestitus pectitus major}The photomontage of the type major of pectitus is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0911786.

{Camponotus vestitus pectitus minor}The photomontage of the type minor of pectitus is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0911787.


Dull red forms as described by Arnold (1924: 694), strophiatus and the Namibia workers shown below. Possibly, perhaps probably, identical to Camponotus cosmicus.

{Camponotus vestitus strophiatus major}The photomontage of the type major is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0911786.


{Camponotus vestitus major}The photomontage is of a major worker collected from Namibia, Caprivi Park; collectors Mann & Marais.


{Camponotus vestitus major}The photomontage is of a second major worker collected from Namibia, as above


{Camponotus vestitus major}The photomontage is of a minor worker collected from Namibia, Caprivi Park, as above.


Queens - perpectitus and comptus, matched by the Uganda queen.

{Camponotus vestitus pectitus queen}The photomontage of the type perpectitus queen  is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0911786. See also the comptus queen at http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0911783


{Camponotus vestitus queen}The photomontage is of a queen collected in Uganda, Entebbe; collector C A Wiggins; OUMNH


Oxford University Museum specimens

Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Namibia
D J Mann
OUMNH-2006-093
15.xii.1999
Caprivi Park
17°46'56" S
23°16'31" E
Immelmann runway, 4 km W
Dead millipede baited PF trap
coll. Mann & Marais
2 majors, 13 minors
15
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Botswana
King 112

Xakanaxa Camp
19.11.01 S
23.24.30 E
961 m
Forest
Nesting under log
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Queen
Uganda
C A Wiggins
5.vii-7.viii.1909
Entebbe
0°02'40"N
32°27'57"E
ca 3800' asl
woodland by lake shore

1
{album}

It now is quite clear that the Soudano-savannah form as shown below is quite distinct.


{Camponotus vestitus}Mike Lush (http://sifolinia.blogspot.com/2008/03/camponotus-vestitus-cf-subsp-pectitus.html) has written "C. cosmicus was one of the species that I checked when I visited the London Natural History Museum, as the holotype is there. C. cosmicus is a large and fairly stocky ant, even the minors, unlike my specimens. I was also able to check C. vestitus subsp. pectitus, which has all the right features (divergent pubescence on the gaster, same number of setae on the mesosoma, same propodeum shape) and differs only slightly in the colour of the head. Arnold (1924) stated that Smith's (1858) description of C. cosmicus is useless, and it appears as though he is right. However, none of the authors who have written about C. cosmicus picked up on what I believe is probably the most significant characteristic, as all specimens in the museum had many erect setae on the ventral surface of the head. I can also add that C. cosmicus is predominantly very dark red (not black), with the propodeum rounding smoothly from the metanotal groove, less divergent pubescence on the gaster and a greater number of setae on the mesosoma. [See ../camponotus_cosmicus/camponotus_cosmicus.htm]

So, maybe it is C. vestitus subsp. pectitus. It gets complicated because Bolton (1995) states that Santschi (1926) suggested that C. vestitus subsp. pectitus and C. vestitus subsp. intuens are the same, but at no point do they appear to have been properly synonymised. Reading Santschi's statement, it seems pretty clear that he has no doubt, so I can only assume that Bolton did not synonymise it because the description of C. vestitus subsp. pectitus post dates this statement! Forel's (1909) description of C. vestitus subsp. intuens is just as ambiguous as the descriptions of C. cosmicus and C. vestitus subsp. pectitus.

Update Nov 2008: My specimens have now been compared with the type specimens from the Naturhistorisches Museum Basel. This allowed me to confirm that they are very clearly C. vestitus subsp. intuens - a completely identical match. Possibly the colour of the head is the key feature in discriminating these subspecies. I also showed my specimens to Cedric Collingwood, who claimed them to be C. jizani. This is a species from the Middle East, though he admitted that the only reason he named it thus was because he didn't know what else to call it! Possibly, C. jizani is a junior synonym of C. vestitus subsp. intuens or C. vestitus. This species was collected a number of times only in the grounds of the hotel we were staying at in Kololi, Gambia. Here it could be found nesting in turret nests, so named because there were steep 'craters' of sand piled around the nest entrances, up to about an inch high. These are described by Arnold (op. cit.) for C. vestitus subsp. pectitus, which he states is rare and found nesting in sandy soils. He then describes, 'nest-entrances[s] surrounded by a circular, high and sharp-edged crater... This form of crater is distinctive of this insect'".


{Camponotus vestitus minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Dakar, Senegal, collector David King.


{Camponotus vestitus minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Sudan, collector Awatif Omer (Sudan 19).


Oxford University Museum specimens

Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Senegal
David King
King 01-08

19.ix.2006
Dakar
14°44'48" N
17°31'35" E
elev 9 m asl
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Senegal
Lamine Diamé
57
2012
Doyene-KS
14°46'N
17°07'W
Sébikotane
S. saiche
tube 03
minor
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Mali
Z Yefremova & V Kravchenko
xii.2010
Dogon
14°21' N
03°37' W
Bandiagara
malaise trap
minors

3
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.

Sudan
Awatif Omer
19

2012
Atbara
17°22' N
34°07' E
River Nile
Minor worker
? northern/sahel form
exact match for Senegal worker
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Sudan
Awatif Omer
2013.02.01

2013
Abu Hijar
12˚52' N
34˚0' E
minor workers
2
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Sudan
Awatif Omer
2013.02.11

2013
Abu Hijar
12˚52' N
34˚0' E
minor workers
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Sudan
Awatif Omer
2013.02.15

2013
Sinja
13˚09' N
33˚55'60" E

minor workers
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Sudan
Awatif Omer
2013.02.22

2013
Abu Hijar
12˚52' N
34˚0' E
minor workers
1
{album}
Camponotus (Myrmosericus) vestitus
B Taylor det.
Sudan
Awatif Omer
2013.02.27

2013
Abu Hijar
12˚52' N
34˚0' E
minor workers
2
{album}
Contents
© 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

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