This ant nests under stones, and occurs in areas with sandy soils and interspersed stones. Foragers were collected on Yucca sp. stalks, tending aphids, on a sunny, east-facing slope.
Workers lacking erect hairs on the scape (except at apex) and with few erect hairs on the mid and hind tibiae, except for a double row of bristles, each with up to 10 hairs, which extend the entire length of the tibia. The tentorial pits are very deep and pit-like, making the middle part of the clypeus rise up as a rectangle. The species name suggests that the head is smooth, but it is predominantly rough and only slightly smoother than the average member of the rufa group. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)
Keys including this Species
Western Unites States.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Mackay and Mackay (2002) - Semiarid sites, grasslands, pinyon-juniper forests, up into mixed conifer habitats (Fagerlund, pers. comm.).
Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have 8 records from 7 localities; 4,200-7,100 ft. One was in the Coniferous Forest Biome and 1 in the Cool Desert. Only 1 nest was described: in an asymmetrical thatch mound 86 x 107 cm in diameter and 56 cm in height. Workers from a Battle Mt. nest were tending Zyxaphis lililolia Gill. & Palmer (Homoptera: Aphididae; det. D. Hille Ris Lambers) on Artemisia tridentata.
Nest site selected in areas of moderate to sparse cover. Nest begun under log or stone with many of the passages running into the soil. Moderate use made of thatching, often little of this visible on the outside of the nest. Large domes or heaps of thatching rarely produced (Creighton, 1940).
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- laeviceps. Formica rufa subsp. laeviceps Creighton, 1940a: 9, fig. 1 (w.q.) U.S.A. Raised to species: Creighton, 1950a: 491.
- Creighton, W. S. 1940a. A revision of the North American variants of the ant Formica rufa. Am. Mus. Novit. 1055: 1-10 PDF(page 9, worker, queen described)
- Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 491, raised to species)
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.