This species nests in the soil, often under stones or logs. Colonies are small and these ants are timid.
|At a Glance||• Polygynous|
Formica neogagates usually has abundant erect hairs on the pronotum, as well as the remainder of the body. The antennae are without erect hairs (except at the apex). The surfaces are shiny, but more sculptured than most members of the neogagates species group. It can be separated from most of the other members by having more than 10 erect hairs on the pronotum (usually more than 20), and having rougher sculpture. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)
Keys including this Species
Coast to coast in southern Canada and the northern states, with an extension in the Appalachians to North Carolina; in the west spreading northward to southern Alaska and southward to Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and into northern Mexico.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Grasslands and highly disturbed urban environments through pinyon-juniper forests up to aspen forests. It is occasionally found in semiarid habitats.
For New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Formica densiventris, Formica wheeleri and Formica pergandei enslave it. It nests together with Lasius americanus and Myrmica lobifrons. Reproductives were found in a nest in June, dealate females were found in June and July. Nests have multiple, dealate females.
Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - The species has been reported widely distributed throughout the state except for the northeastern corner. We have 74 records from 59 localities; 3,900-10,000 ft., but mostly between 4,000 ft. and 8,000 ft. Twenty-nine of the localities were in the Cool Desert (8 in Sarcobatus Subclimax, 2 in cottonwood groves, 2 riparian, 1 in moist soil encrusted with salt, 1 in turf at the edge of a marsh, and 1 in a disturbed area), 10 were in the Pinyon-Juniper Biome, 2 in Coniferous Forest Biome, and 5 in the Alpine Biome. Of the nests described 11 were under stones; of the exposed nests 7 were surmounted by a crater 3-12 cm in diameter; 12 had irregular piles of excavated soil. Entrances were small (2-3 mm). We have usually found F. neogagates fast and timid, but populous colonies sometimes produce aggressive workers that bite promptly. Workers from a colony 2 mi. N McGill (White Pine Co., 6,000 ft.) were tending mealybugs, Chorizococcus sp. (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae; det. D.R. Miller), at the base of winter fat (Ceratoides lanata). Workers from a colony 5 mi. NE Gerlach (pershing Co.) 3,800 ft. were tending coccids, Orthezia sarcobati Morrison (Homoptera: Ortheziidae; det. D.R. Miller), on Sarcobatus vermiculatus.
This species is a host for the ectoparastic 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.
- neogagates. Formica fusca var. neogagates Viereck, 1903: 74 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. [First available use of Formica fusca subsp. subpolita var. neogagates Emery, 1893i: 661; unavailable name.] Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 158 (l.). Combination in F. (Proformica): Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 536. Subspecies of subpolita: Wheeler, W.M. 1908f: 625. Raised to species: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 536.
- Emery, C. 1893k. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 7: 633-682 (page 661, First available use of Formica fusca subsp. subpolita var. neogagates; unavailable name.)
- 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).
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Viereck, H. L. 1903. Hymenoptera of Beulah, New Mexico. [part]. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 29: 56-87 (page 74, worker, queen, male described)
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 46: 126-171 (page 158, larva described)
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
- Wheeler, W. M. 1908i. The ants of Casco Bay, Maine, with observations on two races of Formica sanguinea Latreille. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24: 619-645 (page 625, Variety of subpolita)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 536, Combination in F. (Proformica), Raised to species)