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Request ID, Portugal (Europe), June 4th 2023

Best Answer ANTdrew , June 4 2023 - 3:59 PM

This is not a queen unfortunately. It is a Camponotus worker. Go to the full post

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#1 Offline Formiga - Posted June 4 2023 - 3:48 PM


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Hi guys!

Yesterday at nightfall I was taking a hike and I got to a point where I had to decide to go left or right on the dirt road. Apparently inconsequent decisions but this one wasn't, as one minute later I saw this queen walking on the road...

I'm glad I always carry a small container in my backpack. Finally it proved itself most useful! (learned that lesson when I once found a Messor barbarus queen (that I want badly!) walking on a city pavement and I had nothing to carry her on, made a shell with my hands to carry her and when I got to the dirt road parking lot and open my hands to get the car keys, she dropped and I lost her right THERE next to my car, where inside I had a container). Out of frustration, I've learned my lesson!


Anyway and back to this queen. I have my suspicions on what she might be but I'm just a noobie doobie do, so I want the experts' opinion and then lets see how right or wrong I am...

Here's the info to help identification and 4 photos:



1. Location of collection

Portugal, Europe


2. Date of collection
June 3th 2023


3. Habitat of collection

Country side, in an area cultivated with an intensive Eucalyptus monoculture (as is most of my region). In this area there barely are any other kind of trees, but there's a farm nearby.

The place is dry. Very near there is a place that can accumulate rain falls and make a pond and has juncus plants, but by now, as it is summer, it should be already dry or with some moisture as in the last week there have been a few ocasional light rains.

The soil, very dry, is generally made out little rocks and pebbles.

This queen was walking on the dirt road (which is surrounded by a sort of juncus plants) at night fall.

4. Length

12 or 13 mm.

5. Coloration, hue, pattern and texture

The head and the gaster are dark brown. The thorax and the legs are light brown, looking a bit translucent.

She has hairs in the gaster.

The bottom of the thorax seems be be curved upward thin. Please see the attached photos.

6. Distinguishing characteristics

She only has one single petiole. And the thing that called my attention the most was the shape of the bottom part of the thorax.


So what can she be?
As usual, many thanks guys!

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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted June 4 2023 - 3:59 PM   Best Answer


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This is not a queen unfortunately. It is a Camponotus worker.
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#3 Offline Formiga - Posted June 4 2023 - 5:20 PM


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Thanks, ANTdrew.


I got half of that right, it's a Camponotus indeed. Just what I thought. But a worker? Damn!, how big is that queen?, Antzilla?


The shape of the thorax really called up my attention. And now I notice, I don't see any wing scars on the photos. I'll check it out later on her.


I remember watching on a different location a Camponotus colony on the roots of a tree, but they were a different sp., all black, smaller and slimmer. I've never seen this sp. before. Next time I'll go to that place I'll look around and check on their habitat. If there was a worker around I should find more of them.



So I'm curious, 2 questions / observations:

1) Apart from no wing scars, what else took you to conclude it's a worker and not a queen?

I've checked online and this looks like something like a Camponotus ligniperda. The workers' photos look like to match the specimen I caught.

And the queen's thorax seems to be a bit more bulky, not slimmer. The analogy I make for queen ants thorax's shape is the fuel tank of a racing motorbike.



2) Although it might look like a Camponotus ligniperda, this sp., according to the ant maps I've seen online, is not present in Portugal, it only starts in Spain (next door neighbor) and then Eastwards.

But then, ant anatomy and identification goes beyond my mind, I feel like I needed to attend an university to learn that properly, it just goes a bit far beyond the ability to blow my mind...



Oh, sigh... I really wanted a Camponotus colony...

#4 Offline bmb1bee - Posted June 4 2023 - 5:37 PM


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Aside from the large thorax size and wing scars, Camponotus queens generally also have ocelli. They're a set of extra three eyes on the queen's forehead. This is if you can get a close look at her face though.

Edited by bmb1bee, June 4 2023 - 5:39 PM.

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#5 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted June 4 2023 - 7:50 PM


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Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex), either pilicornis, barbaricus, or sylvaticus

#6 Offline Formiga - Posted June 4 2023 - 8:42 PM


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Camponotus queens generally also have ocelli. They're a set of extra three eyes on the queen's forehead. This is if you can get a close look at her face though.

Boy what a journey you've sent me on!!

I knew about "extra eyes" in insects, especially in spiders but never dug deeper and just thought it was to "see better".

But your reply left me with a Huh? Queens have extra eyes?!?!? and I've spent the last hour reading online about it. What a Ha Haa! Moment, my mind is blown and my jugular is pulsing blood out like a cartoon!


It seems they have extra eyes for horizon flight stabilization and sky compass through polarized light.

It makes sense, because queens fly (and it doesn't seem random because they congregate on mating places) and workers don't, so they don't need this extra feature.

Wow!, the extra work Mother Nature went through just for a mating flight!



These (becoming rare) Ha Haa! Moments have the childish joy of discovery and awe, that Carl Sagan wrote about. Thanks bmb1bee, you've made my day!!




(find attached a PDF file of a study related to this.)

Attached Images

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