Rare morph of Camponotus sericeus: Bangalore
November 22, 2006 by Ajay Narendra
On one of my anting trips (September, 2006) with Sunil Kumar at Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore, we found this ant foraging on the ground. Upon further searching we found another worker that was similar, except for the smaller size of the head, to the previously found worker. All characters of these two ants shouted out Camponotus, but we were certain that if this was Camponotus, it was very likely a new species of Camponotus for Southern India. Both the minor and major workers had a distinct golden pubescence, very similar to Camponotus sericeus, but quite unlike sericeus, the head of this particular ant was blood-red in colour. After returning back, I had a close look at the specimen and confirmed that it was indeed Camponotus. Surprisingly, all characters of this ant matched the features of the commonly occuring Golden Backed Ant C. sericeus.
I pulled out Bingham’s book (which incidentally is available online) to learn that a few specimens of C. sericeus from Burma and Srilanka have a blood-red coloured head. So here it is, Camponotus sericeus with a red-blood coloured head, probably the first records of this morph from Southern India.
Just recently I found that this morph is quite common in Northern India, specifically Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. [8-xi-2007]