The Ants of Africa
Genus Camponotus subgenus Myrmopelta
Camponotus (Myrmopelta) vividus (F. Smith)

Camponotus (Myrmopelta) vividus (F. Smith)

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Sierra Leone (Formica vivida, F. Smith, 1858b: 31, minor worker) collected by D.F. Morgan - see below
cato (Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) Meinerti For. r. cato n. stirps, Forel, 1913b: 346, soldier & worker) Zaïre - see linked page
semidepilis (Wheeler, 1922: 248, major & minor workers) Zaïre - see below
meinerti (Camponotus Meinerti n. sp., Forel, 1886f: 189, major & minor workers & queen) Angola - no images on Antweb (September 2014)
reginae (Camponotus Reginae n. sp., Forel, 1901d: 307, given as Camponotus (Orthonotomyrmex) Meinerti For. r. Reginae For, by Forel 1913b: 346, queen described; major & minor workers; Arnold, 1924: 719, queen) Angola - see queen
junior synonyms
laboriosa (Formica laboriosa, F Smith, 1858b: 32, queen, "probably the female of F. vivida") Sierra Leone - no images on Antweb (September 2014)
and laevithorax (Camponotus vividus var. laevithorax n. var., Menozzi, 1924b: 227, illustrated, major worker; synonymy with cato Menozzi, 1933a: 113) Uganda - no images on Antweb (September 2014)
major & minor workers & queen described (see Bolton, 1995) .

{Camponotus vividus comparisons}F Smith's original description (1858b) is at {original description}; Santschi (1926a) summarised the species and subspecies description, these are at {original description}; he also provided the outline drawings of the thorax and petiole scale of species and subspecies (right).

Forel's (1886f) description of meinerti is at {original description} and {original description}. Forel's (1901d) description of reginae is at {original description} Forel's (1913b) description of cato is at {original description} Forel's (1913b) description of reginae is at {original description} Menozzi's description (1924b) of laevithorax is at {original description}; Arnold (1924) gave a translation of reginae (of which he regarded meinerti as a synonym); this is at {original description}.

Among the numerous locations from throughout forest areas of sub-Saharan Africa, Wheeler (1922) listed Senegal (at Dakar, F. Silvestri), Guinea (Los Islands by H, Brauns, Samlia Falls by Mocquerys), Liberia (by Keiselbach, and at Monrovia by Duke), Ghana (Accra and Addah), Togo (Bismarckburg by Conradt), Nigeria (Olokemeji, F. Silvestri), Cameroun (Mundame by Conradt; Bibundi by Tessman; also ssp reginae by Conradt, and at Victoria by Fickendey).

{Camponotus (Myrmopelta) vividus}Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1978: 11)
MAJOR WORKER - TL 7.73 mm, HL 2.49, HW 2.49, SL 1.77, PW 1.56
MINOR WORKER - TL 5.45 mm, HL 1.56, HW 1.31, SL 1.56, PW 1.06
Colour black, shiny. Sculpturation of fine striations, particularly evident on the alitrunk. Erect coarse but almost colourless hairs abundant, and very sparse pilosity. Declivity of propodeum an obtuse near right-angle. Metanotal groove clearly incised and promesonotal suture wide. Petiole a sharp scale with a line of erect hairs on the dorsal edge.
It nests in dead wood on certain species of forest trees and is often closely associated, as a sub-dominant, with Crematogaster africana. Found foraging on up to 1.2% of cocoa trees; also on native trees and plantains; and at 24/76 farms (Taylor & Adedoyin, 1978).

Note: Forel (1886f) gave the meinerti major as TL 8.5-9.6 mm; the petiole scale weakly convex in front, the dorsum feebly scalloped. The queen of regiane Forel (1913b: 346) gave as TL 13.5 mm; apparently smaller than the type queen.

Camponotus vividus majorThe photomontage is of the holotype major worker collated from

{Camponotus vividus}Wheeler (1922) illustrated (right) both the nominal form, the ssp cato (Forel) and described a new variety semidepilis (bottom right), which differed from the typical form in having paler and much less numerous erect hairs of the dorsum of the head and body, plus lesser pubescence on the gaster. In many findings from Zaïre, nests had been found "rather rotten portions of a tree" and in a large former termite carton nest (illustrated right and "click"), when crushed the ants "gave off a stench like bugs" (shield bugs, presumably).

{Camponotus vividus semidepilis} The phoytomontage of a cotype of Camponotus vividus semidepilis from Zaïre, is collated from original photographs from the MCZ, Harvard University, website at - MCZ link.

Santschi (1935) reported cato and meinerti from Zaïre. Latter also by Forel (1911f), by Dr. Dubois from Kinshasa [Leopoldville], plus reginae from Kondué by Luja. Forel (1911e) had reginae from Liberia, no collector named.

Reported by Bernard (1952) as very common, from Angola to Niger. In Guinea not so common; F 72, Yanlé; savanna at Kéoulenta (abundant); Camp IV at 1000 m. Some queens probably of this species came from Yalanzou and Mount Tô at 1600 m.

Found in Ghana cocoa by Majer, who found it in 70.1% of his 144 pkd samples at Kade, with 60-70 workers per sample (1975, 1976a, b, c). Room (1971) found it in 28 cocoa canopy samples. He also reported its occurrence on cocoa mistletoe (Room, 1972a, 1975), where it was 11th most abundant insect species, 768 individuals (but in less than 30/630 cocoa/mistletoe junction samples) and 16th most frequent on mistletoe plants. Later found by Belshaw & Bolton (1994b), who collected only two workers at Bunso, as 'tourists' in leaf litter under cocoa. Room (1971) also found it to be positively associated with Crematogaster africana.

{short description of image}Listed as a forest species, able to live in degraded zones, in Ivory Coast by Lévieux & Louis (1975). In a detailed study they described it as one of the most common arboreal species in the region. The research was carried out at an unnamed location in a degraded forest near the coast at Abidjan. The biology of a nest from apparently the same area had earlier been studied by Soulié (1967). It often nests at up to 50m above ground, with some 6,000 individuals in a colony of some three years of age. For such a population to inhabit a single nest would require a cavity of considerable size within a tree and, hence, the more common situation is that of polycaly, with some five or six nests per colony. These small nests are constructed within dead branches, often by reusing the galleries excavated by other insects, with instances of utilisation of termite nests (Soulié reported actual elimination of a termite colony). There may be 1-3 nests on any one tree but no preference for any one tree species was reported. A typical colony appeared to occupy an area of some 25 to 35 metres horizontally and up to 60 metres vertically. The large area was thought to account for the relatively low density of the species as a whole. Mapping of an area of mixed cocoa, cashew and forest trees showed its colonies on separate trees from Oecophylla longinoda and some apparent displacement of the latter by the vividus colony. Most of its activity was at the beginning and end of the daylight hours, but heavy rain causing leaf wetting inhibited activity.
Writing on the source of food , they described how the bulk (79%) of its sugar needs are obtained from dried tree gums, especially from Sterculia traegacantha (Gum Tragacanth, 34% of food) and Anacardium occidentalis (Cashew, 28% of food), apparently highly unusual if not unique among ants. Of the remaining diet, 17% was of undetermined vegetable origin and 21% of animal origin, almost all insects and of no particular kind. Some sugars came also from Homoptera which were tended and over which tents of vegetable material, such as bark fragments from Terminalia callapa, glued to give a rigid domed structure, with access only through a hole just sufficient to permit the ant to enter.

Photographs of the type form and cato can be seen on the linked pages at type form (bright shiny black) and cato form (noticeably duller appearance) plus sexuals.

Oxford University Museum specimens

© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.