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Photo#17217
Black Carpenter Ant - Camponotus novaeboracensis

Black Carpenter Ant - Camponotus novaeboracensis
Dixville, New Hampshire, USA
May 9, 2005
Size: 9mm
I tapped on a dead tree, and this ant came out looking to defend it's home.

OOPS! Camponotus noveboracensis, major worker
Really sorry for last year's misidentification! Although closely related (both belong to the herculeanus group), both species are easy to tell apart, for C. pennsylvanicus has a black thorax: only the legs are partly reddish.
Most of the info I gave about C. pennsylvanicus is true for C. noveboracensis too. The second one has only a slight more southern range.

 
OK
Now I see the reddish thorax. Thanks for identifying another new species for the guide.

Camponotus pennsylvanicus - major worker
Actually, these big-headed, large-sized Camponotus workers are the most protective of their nest. They can bite very painfully, especially if the reach the soft skin between the fingers. As they inject formic acid in the wound at the same time, the pain is almost as strong as a bee sting. So a stinger is not always needed to effectively defend one's colony.
A boreal species, especially common in woodlands dominated by fir trees. Can seriously damage timber, if this latter is let alone for a too long time. These ants have symbiotic microorganisms in their gut, by which they can digest the cellulose of the wood - a bit like termits.

 
Formic acid
along with a good bite should drive off it's enemies. It looks like it really means business. Thanks again Richard.

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