Formica comata

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Formica comata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species group: rufa
Species: F. comata
Binomial name
Formica comata
Wheeler, W.M., 1909

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Specimen Label

This is a very aggressive ant species with large colony size in the Formica rufa group. It builds low mounds of earth and grass covered by a thin layer of thatch. Found in the southwest, this ant forages for a variety of insect prey.

Photo Gallery

  • Worker defending the nest. Photo by Gary D. Alpert.
  • Worker foraging. Photo by Gary D. Alpert.
  • Worker on nest mound in late October. Photo by Gary D. Alpert.
  • Nest Mound: Soil and grass covered with thin layer of thatch. Photo by Gary D. Alpert.
  • Habitat: Flagstaff Arboretum, Arizona. Photo by Gary D. Alpert.

Identification

Head, excluding the mandibles as broad as long. Mandibles 8-toothed. Mandibles finely and densely striate. Clypeus carinate, with broadly rounded anterior border. Erect hairs absent on the antennal scapes. Erect hairs present on the flexor surface of the femora and tibiae.

This ant species is closely allied with Formica ciliata.

Mackay and Mackay (2002) - The workers of this species can be recognized by the numerous short, erect hairs on the underside of the head (Fig. 402), and by the abundant, short, bristly hairs on the dorsum of the gaster (Fig. 404). The dorsum of the gaster is covered with a dense layer of fine, appressed, silver hairs.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

United States. Arizona and New Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
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Check distribution from AntMaps.

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Formica comata for further details

Habitat

Grasslands, Ponderosa pine forest, sagebrush.

Biology

Sexuals were found in nests in July.

There is no published account of the biology of this species. Refer to species in the rufa group for general biology. Nests are active from early summer until late October near Flagstaff, Arizona. Foragers are often found on vegetation and appear to be omnivorous in their diet.

Castes

Worker

Queen

Male

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • comata. Formica comata Wheeler, W.M. 1909e: 85 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 454.

Description

References

  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1909e. A decade of North American Formicidae. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 17: 77-90 (page 85, worker, queen, 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 454, see also)