Camponotus sp

Camponotus sp

Name: Camponotus sp
Propagation: Asia
Queen: 13-15mm
Workers: 6-12mm
Food: Insects and honey water
Air moisture: 50-70%
Temperature: 20-30°C
Hibernation: No
Nest-building: Soil nests, often under stones and in sand
Formicariums: Tank, farm tank
Formicarium size: min 30x20cm (must be adjusted to colony size)
Particularities: These ants are so hairy that they are almost furry and thus reminiscent of the Meranoplus species. This species looks quite similar to Camponotus selen; its red colouring is however prettier. They tend to be fairly tranquil, but get panicky when their nest is disturbed. Their hairiness probably prevents other ants from being able to grab them. They are quite passive and smaller colonies are well-suited for keeping in a shared tank. In larger-sized workers, the thorax is reddish in colour.

“Hi Andy,

Nice website with very thorough reports. I came to this site via the forum on the World of Ant website. You are giving an especially wonderful report on an ant named Camponotus cf. “xiangban”. Please be informed that this is not a valid, scientific species name, however, was invented by an ant dealer from China; see the following link:
I would like to suggest changing the name of this ant to “Camponotus sp.” instead of using the ficticious name Camponotus “xiangban”. The ant dealer in China has already omitted the fake species name from his website and changed it to “sp.”:

Alternatively, you could name the ant Camponotus cf. wasmanni mutilarius, as it seems to be the only defined species which looks similar to C. “xiangban”.
Please be referred to a specimen of Camponotus wasmanni mutilarius, which is located at the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute:
The specimen in over a hundred years old, so don’t be mislead by the bleached colors. The original description by Emery for this subspecies is very meager and rather superficial, but the description by Forel (Forel, A. 1895f. Les Formicides de l’Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part V. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 9:453-472.), which you can download at, is more precise. Here it is written in the original French text, “Var. mutillarius (Emery). Thorax et pédicule d’un rouge ferrugineux. Souvent une tache noirâtre sur le pronotum. Le 1er segment de l’abdomen est noire avec deux taches d’un rouge ferrugineux ou d’un rouge ferrugineux avec une tache dorsale, postérieure, d’un brun foncé.”, which means translated to English, “Var. mutillarius (Emery). Thorax and petiole rusty reddish brown. Often black (blackish) spot on the pronotum. The first segment of the abdomen is black with two rusty reddish brown spots or rusty reddish brown with a dark, dorsal, posterior spot.”




Information from World of Ants 

The first thing you notice about this ant apart from its sheer beauty, is its fluffy appearance which comes from the many hairs covering its body. I bought this small colony on the 23 April 2011 containing about 40 ants which also had roughly the same ammount of larvae. They arrived in a wide mouthed plastic test tube with a cork bung in its end. I had prepared a small glass arena about 25 x 10 x 10 cm and laid the tube on the sand within. The ants came straight out and began to attack a dead blue bottle i had put in earlier.

I made a small y-tong nest for them and put it in the arena and within a few hours the whole colony had moved into it but there was no sign of the brood by the next day.


Messor barbarus

Going well

21nd April

The first queen now has about 13 workers and an unknown amount of eggs, larvae and pupae which the queen is standing over. I’m offering cut up meal worms and blue bottles with the dandelion seeds which they have gathered up near the wet end of the test tube. I also offered a drop of honey on the end of a match stick today which they all seemed to relish.

Messor barbarus

First day out

So today i decided to let them out into a small arena. I was surprised that they came straight out and within seconds were picking up dandelion seeds and taking them back to the tube. They totally avoided the sesame seeds.

First worker carrying a Dandelion seed.

27th April

Queen 2 now has larvae.

Messor barbarus

First worker

Today the first worker appeared, tiny little thing. :D


Messor barbarus

Collection of pupae

Had a look today and found that she has a nice collection of pupae. I was surprised as i wasnt expecting them to pupate so soon :) You can just see one starting to colour up.

The other queen has another clutch now and i’m hoping that her fat reserves will last a late first brood. I can see how nervous this species is when i open the cupboard to take a peek as they both rush around and try to bundle their eggs and brood together for protection. I have read that this fear in a young colony can lead to aggression so im thinking that i should place the test tubes in a small arena to minimise the risk of disturbance before there are workers.
I have also been out collecting Taraxacum officinale seeds, dandelion, as its supposed to be sought after. Not much seeding yet but will be by next week i think.

Messor barbarus

slices through a dandelion seed

Here you can see 4 stages of development in these pupae.

This pic shows how a small worker slices through a dandelion seed.