Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) inaequalis Roger

Camponotus inaequalis, full face view of a worker.
Camponotus inaequalis, profile view of a worker.

Ants in the genus Camponotus are collectively known as carpenter ants because some species nest in wood, including man-made structure. This genus includes some of the largest and most common ants in the world, and they are found in all biogeographical regions (Bolton, 1995).  More than 900 species of Camponotus are known worldwide, with 50 species reported from the United States (Hanson and Klotz, 2005), and 20 species found east of the Mississippi River (Deyrup, 2003; Smith, 1979). 

Species in this genus are variable in size with workers ranging in size from 3 to 15 mm or more in length and queens (also referred to as females) of some species attaining a length of 19 mm or more. Many species are polymorphic. Workers have a 12-segmented antenna that lacks an apical club. Antennal fossae do not touch the posterior border of the clypeus. Ocelli are not present on the heads of workers. The workers of most species have an indistinct metanotal suture between the promesonotum and the propodeum, although this suture is present in C. sexguttatus and some members of the subgenus Colobopsis.  Those species that lack the obvoius and deep metanotal suture have the shape of the alitrunk in a smoothly curved arc (as seen in profile). 

Camponotus inaequalis is in the subgenus Tanaemyrmex, which differs from the other carpenter ant subgenera by having a median carina present on the clypeus. Historically, specimens of this species from the US have been identified as C. tortuganus, but after closer examination by Mark Deyrup (per. com. Mark Deyrup, Archbold Biological Station), he noted that this species was actually C. inaequalis. All records from the US labeled as C. tortuganus are likely C. inaequalis.

These are relatively large ants with workers ranging in size from 6 to 11 mm in overall length. In full face view, the head is elongate, being much longer than wide and more narrow anteriorly. The clypeus has a sharp and well defined median carina present. The occipital corners are usually covered with numerous erect hairs, similar to C. socius Roger, but is much more shiny in overall appearance. The tibia of all legs lack erect hairs and the middle and hind tibia lack erect bristles on flexor surfaces. This species is bicolored with the head and alitrunk (head sometimes darker than alitrunk) reddish brown and the gaster brownish red to blackish.

It is not known for sure if Camponotus inaequalis is a native or exotic species species. In the US it has been reported from the southern half of Florida, and in 2009, specimens were collected in Hancock County, Mississippi by the MEM.


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