This species is a member of a group of Formica species that were formerly placed in the subgenus Raptiformica. All species are facultative slavemakers, i.e., species which usually or often have slaves but can get along without them. The colony-founding female forces her way into a small colony of another species of Formica, somehow gets rid of its queen and workers and appropriates its nest and brood. The workers emerging from this brood accept the intruding queen as their own. The enslaved species belong to the Formica neogagates, fusca, and pallidefulva species groups. When the workers of the slave-making species have become numerous enough, they start raiding for more slaves.
Montana to Washington and Oregon, south to northern Nevada, north into British Columbia.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have 2 records from 2 localities near the northern border of the state, based on concolorous strays. Both were in the Sarcobatus Subclimax of the Cool Desert.
This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia formicarum (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- curiosa. Formica curiosa Creighton, 1935: 5, fig. 2 (w.q.) U.S.A. Senior synonym of parcipappa: Snelling, R.R. 1969b: 194.
- parcipappa. Formica parcipappa Cole, 1947: 616 (w.) U.S.A. Combination in F. (Serviformica): Buren, 1968a: 32. Junior synonym of curiosa: Snelling, R.R. 1969b: 194.
- Creighton, W. S. 1935. Two new species of Formica from western United States. Am. Mus. Novit. 773: 1-8 PDF (page 5, fig. 2 worker, queen described)
- Espadaler, X., Santamaria, S. 2012. Ecto- and Endoparasitic Fungi on Ants from the Holarctic Region. Psyche Article ID 168478, 10 pages (doi:10.1155/2012/168478).
- Snelling, R. R. 1969c. Notes on the systematics and dulosis of some western species of Formica, subgenus Raptiformica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 71: 194-197 (page 194, Senior synonym of parcipappa)
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.