The Ants of Africa
Genus Camponotus subgenus Orthonotomyrmex
Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) obtusus (F Smith) - revived status

Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) obtusus (F Smith) - revived status

return to key return to listsee Iran page{link to the Hymenoptera Name Server}

Type location Egypt (Formica obtusa, Smith, F., 1858b, worker; synonymised with sericeus by Roger, 1863b: 2, a simple list) - no images on Antweb (September 2016).

Smith's description is at {original description} - Notably relatively short; head and alitrunk dull red; petiole node incrassate, i.e. thickened, and apex emarginate; greater portion of the pubescence is rubbed off [note the missing pubescence on the Sudan example, below] . Note: the Antweb team do not appear to have located the type specimen or that of sanguiniceps in the BMNH.

{short description of image}The drawings (right) from Mayr (1862) and Emery (1925b) appear to show the obtusus shape of alitrunk and major and minor heads respectively (the major head being much wider and squarer and the minor head being more rectangular), and the drawing given for an Indian example by Bingham (1903, below) shows the quite high and slender petiole node (Bingham described it as "rounded, knob like"). For comparisons see Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) sericeus.

{short description of image}Speculatively variations include
opaciventris (Camponotus opaciventris n. sp., Mayr, 1879: 648, worker; junior synonym Bingham, 1903: 376; revived from synonymy as variety, Forel 1908a: 6, cited in Emery, 1925b: 126) India, collected at Calcutta by Rothney - no images on Antweb (September 2016) - ? raised to species by Dietrich (2004)
igniceps (Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) sericeus F. r. peguensis Em. v. igniceps n. v., Forel, 1913e: 664, worker) Sri Lanka - see below
sanguiniceps (Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) sericeus F., var. sanguiniceps, Donisthorpe, 1942d: 458, worker) South India - no images on Antweb (September 2016)
puniceps (Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex?) puniceps sp. n., Donisthorpe, 1942d: 458, worker) South India, Dohnavur, Tinnevelly District - see bottom
pyrrhocephala (Formica pyrrhocephala Motsch., Motschoulsky, 1863: 11, worker) Sri Lanka, near Colombo - no images on Antweb (September 2016).

Mayr (1862: 675) provided a detailed, illustrated description of sericeus sensu lato, but curiously did not list any African localities (other than Egypt), this is at {original description}. Motschoulsky's (1863) description of pyrrhocephala is at {original description}. Mayr's (1879) description of opaciventris is at {original description}. Forel (1891b: 56) provided a description and notes which seem to blanket both the sericeus ss and obtusus forms, this is at {original description}. Bingham (1903: 376) provided a description and notes, this is at {original description}. Donisthorpe's (1942d) descriptions are at {original description}.

Forel (1913e) described igniceps - given to the variety of peguensis which had the head and antennae red in the queen and worker, with the rest of the body black; The race peguensis has the pubescence and general form of the typical sericeus and not the characteristics of the race opaciventris Mayr.

Santschi (1926b) had - the type is entirely black, the pelt of pubescence is greyish yellow
v obtusus Sm. - head red; alitrunk variable black or red; legs brown; pubescence somewhat golden; petiole, scale less thick at summit [from Egypt, Port Said by Karavaiev; from Obok, by Maindron, 1893; and from Jansuame, Sahara, Iferouman Region, by Mission Fourreau-Lamy, 1900).

Donisthorpe's (1942d) description of sanguiniceps was simply - "Some of these soldiers (from Dohnavur, 350 ft, Tinnevelly District, S. India, 30.ix., 1 & 8.x.38) ... possess blood-red heads, = var sanguiniceps Donis.". On puniceps, TL 8.5 mm, however, he drew attention to the petiole (scale) being "not low, nor has it the form of a round node".

Collingwood (1985: 282 and in key p 276), recording "C. sericeus" from Saudi Arabia, noted that in profile the dorsal outline of the alitrunk is interrupted by a deep metanotal groove; also whole body densely sculptured, hairy and opaque; propodeum broadly dentate. He added that it is a hardy, daytime forager and tends coccids on trees and shrubs.

Dietrich (2004) reviewed the some of the various forms listed above and concluded that some of the Middle Eastern specimens and those from India were readily separable from Camponotus sericeus. He re-described Camponotus opaciventris Mayr, raising it to species, and described a new species, Camponotus husseini. While he assessed the differences between husseini and sericeus, he did not present data on opaciventris and gave images only of husseini. Neither is among the Antweb images. There is no mention of Camponotus obtusus and the analysis appears to ignore vasriation in proportions due to dimorphism, i.e. major and minor workers.

Dietrich (2004) Taxonomische Beiträge zur Myrmekofauna Jordaniens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Denisia, 14, 319-344.

Oxford University Museum specimens

Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) obtusus
B Taylor det.

Saudi Arabia
M Sharaf
Farasan Is
16° 42' N
42° 11' E
Red Sea; protectorate building

Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) obtusus
B Taylor det.
Awatif Omer
Al Musawart
16°32.66' N
33°46.71'  E
Almoswart (near Shandi, Shendi) E Musawwarat es Sufra in Nubian desert
Major & media workers


Summary Description (comparision with sericeus s.s).
MAJOR - head much wider than long; scapes more slender but apically thicker; whole alitrunk relatively short; mesonotum profile sinuous (evenly convex in sericeus); propodeum dorsum significantly shorter than declivity; in profile propodeum dorsum is convex, from above it is simply medially shallowly concave (sericeus has a variable longitudinal carina); petiole thick but squamiform; erect pilosity sparser, shorter and finer; sculpturation of head noticeably coarser; much less pubescence on head (except clypeus) and alitrunk; overall matt with only a low lustre; pubescence bright golden; general colour dark red, near black on gaster, funiculi and tarsi lighter.

{Camponotus obtusus major} The photomontage is of a major worker from Sudan; collector Awatif Omer (2013.46.

{Camponotus obtusus minor} The photomontage is of a minor worker from Sudan; collector Awatif Omer (2013.46).

{Camponotus obtusus major} The photomontage is of a major worker from Saudi Arabia, Farasan Islands, Red Sea, 42° 11' E, 16° 42' N; protectorate building, collected by Mostafa Sharaf, 26.iv.2006.

Note: assuming the Bingham (1903) scale to be one line = 2.117 mm, this is an exact match for his drawing of a major.

{Camponotus obtusus minor} The photomontage is of a minor worker from Saudi Arabia, as above, collected by Mostafa Sharaf.

{short description of image} The photomontage is of specimens originally photographed in Egypt by Mostafa Sharaf; from Siwa oasis (Western desert) in 1996, collected by Dr.Ahmed Saad, Professor of Insect Behaviour, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo

{short description of image}The photomontage is collated from Collection Information: Specimen Code CASENT0010986; Locality Sudan: Salom, Red Sea Coast; 19°22'38"N 037°06'35"E; Collection codes: ANTC3715; Date: 15 Dec 2003; Collected by: H. Eriksson; Habitat: cultivated area, irrigated area.

{Camponotus igniceps}The photomontage of the type major (?) worker of igniceps from Sri Lanka is collated from

{Camponotus puniceps minor}The photomontage of a minor worker of puniceps from India is collated from

{Camponotus obtusus minor}The photomontage of a minor worker from India is collated from

© 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.