This species has nests thatched with pinyon pine needles and juniper needles, and also nests under logs and stones. The mound may completely lack thatching, and be covered with pebbles. The mound is small and is not much higher than the surrounding soil surface. They are usually found on south facing slopes. This species appears to be polydomous, with individual colonies located 4 - 5 meters apart, although in one instance, 2 adjacent nests were fighting. Brood was found in nests in August, reproductives occurred in nests in July and August, dealate females were collected loose in August. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)
Mackay and Mackay (2002) - The workers of this species have few erect hairs, which are mostly restricted to the clypeus, pronotum, propodeum and gaster. The scapes are without erect hairs (except at the apex), each tibia has only a few (fewer than 10) erect hairs on the flexor surfaces. The gaster is covered with short, erect hairs, in which the tips are closer than the length of the hairs. The females of this species are unusual as they are covered with long, curled, yellow hairs, which suggests that it is a temporary social parasite (these types of hairs are typical of parasitic species).
Keys including this Species
United States: Montana east to Minnesota, south to Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
For New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002): Sagebrush, grasslands, disturbed areas (nuclear waste site), pinyon-juniper woodland, deciduous forests, up to ponderosa pine.
Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - Our Nevada material is represented by a single collection: Kingston Ranger Sta. in Toiyabe Ra., Lander Co., 7,100 ft.; in the Cool Desert. The thatch consisted mostly of chips of bark; it was 1 m in diameter and located at the base of a dead sagebrush.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- ciliata. Formica ciliata Mayr, 1886d: 428 (q.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1903e: 640 (w.m.). See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 452.
- Dlussky, G. M.; Pisarski, B. 1971. Rewizja polskich gatunków mrówek (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) z rodzaju Formica L. Fragm. Faun. (Warsaw) 16: 145-224 (page 177, Junior synonym of pratensis)
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 428, queen described)
- Ruzsky, M. 1926. A systematic list of the ants found in Siberia. I. Review of the species of the genera Camponotus (s. ext.) and Formica (s. str.). Izv. Tomsk. Gos. Univ. 77: 107-111 (page 110, worker, queen described)
- Seifert, B. 1992a. Formica nigricans Emery, 1909 - an ecomorph of Formica pratensis Retzius, 1783 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Entomol. Fenn. 2: 217-226 (page 225, junior synonym of pratensis)
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
- Wheeler, W. M. 1903g. Extraordinary females in three species of Formica, with remarks on mutation in the Formicidae. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 19: 639-651 (page 640, worker, male described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 452, see also)