Honduras to Colombia. Costa Rica: Atlantic and southern Pacific lowlands.
Camponotus nitidior 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. chartifex, build nests of sewn-together leaves (Wilson 1981, Fern‡ndez 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 collected nests of C. nitidior on several occasions. They can be hidden between multiple leaves sewn together, or exposed as a carton nest on the undersurface of a single leaf. At Sirena in Corcovado National Park I found a nest between two leaves of Faramea (Rubiaceae). Many of the workers escaped during collection, but the portion I captured contained two alate queens, 14 workers, 5 alate males, and brood.
At La Selva Biological Station I found a carton nest beneath a leaf of Guateria (Annonaceae). I collected the entire nest into a plastic bag. There were no other nests that I could find on the tree or surrounding vegetation, so the nest was either the entire colony or one nest of a highly dispersed polydomous colony. In the lab I counted the entire nest contents and found 32 workers and one adult male. Thus the nest appeared to be queenless, because there was no chance for queen escape during collection. The nest contained three Microdon syrphid larvae of different sizes (Figure 1). The largest pupated soon after nest capture, the second largest pupated several days later at a smaller size. The smallest larva was preserved in alcohol. The smaller pupa died, but an adult syrphid emerged from the larger pupa.
Figure 1. Carton nest of Camponotus nitidior with Microdon (Syrphidae) larvae and pupae. J. Longino collection #3363.
The subgenus Dendromyrmex has been revised by Fern‡ndez (2002).
Fern‡ndez C., F. 2002. Revisi—n de las hormigas Camponotus subgŽnero Dendromyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). PapŽis 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.
Found most commonly in these habitats: 28 times found in montane wet forest, 5 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 3 times found in mesophil forest, 1 times found in CC 1250, 2 times found in lowland rainforest, 1 times found in tropical moist forest, 1 times found in tropical rainforest, 2 times found in tropical wet forest, 1 times found in CCL 237, east 3m, 1 times found in rainforest
Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 9 times Beating, 11 times Foggin, 11 times Sweeping, 7 times Malaise, 3 times Fogging, 5 times Search, 1 times sweep net
Elevations: collected from 30 - 985 meters, 350 meters average