Camponotus (Dendromyrmex) chartifex (F. Smith 1860)

Formicinae, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

worker lateral view

worker face view

worker face view


Costa Rica to southern Brazil. Costa Rica: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands.


Scapes and legs with abundant erect setae; eyes strongly protruding from sides of head; propodeum, meso and metathorax highly fused, sutures very weak, forming a single unit that articulates with the prothorax; dorsal profile with dorsal and posterior faces of propodeum not differentiated; propodeum strongly laterally compressed, tectiform; back of head with small vertex collar or neck; appressed pubescence on first gastral tergite sparse.

Major worker absent.

Color variation: specimens from the Pacific side of Costa Rica have a dark head with yellow on the malar spaces and a red brown mesosoma and metasoma (upper figures above); specimens from the Atlantic side are more uniformly red brown (lower figure above).

Natural History

Camponotus chartifex inhabits mature lowland rainforest. Workers are most often encountered as isolated foragers, day or night. Like Camponotus in general, they appear to be generalized scavengers with a predilection for sweets.

This species and its relative, C. nitidior, build nests of sewn-together leaves (Wilson 1981, Fernández 2002). They use larval silk to attach leaves together and to make silk sheets and baffles. The nest walls are a combination of leaves and silk sheets. The silk sheets and baffles are a combination of silk and masticated plant fibers.

I have only found one nest of chartifex. At Tortuguero I found a nest between two leaves. The leaves were sewn flat together, with the nest sandwiched between them. The nest was roughly circular, about 4cm diameter.


The subgenus Dendromyrmex has been revised by Fernández (2002).

Literature Cited

Fernández C., F. 2002. Revisión de las hormigas Camponotus subgénero Dendromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, Sao Paulo 42:47-101.

Wilson, E. O. 1981. Communal silk-spinning by larvae of Dendromyrmex tree-ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux 28:182-190.

Page author:

John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505

Date of this version: 20 December 2003.
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