Lasius arizonicus

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Lasius arizonicus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Lasius
Species: L. arizonicus
Binomial name
Lasius arizonicus
Wheeler, W.M., 1917

Lasius arizonicus casent0102769 profile 1.jpg

Lasius arizonicus casent0102773 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Nests are found under stones, in areas with rocky loam.

At a Glance • Temporary parasite  



Similar in appearance to Lasius interjectus, but averaging and ranging smaller. Body pilosity very sparse and long; gula usually with no standing hairs, occasionally with 1 inconspicuous short hair, rarely with 2 or 3 standing hairs. Pubescence very dilute, especially on gaster; body surface highly glabrous. Worker Dorsum of propodeum convex, often strongly so. Crest of petiolar scale sharp to moderately sharp, weakly to strongly emarginate. Color, yellow to yellowish brown. Queen Crest of petiolar scale sharp to moderately sharp, weakly to strongly emarginate. Color reddish brown. Male Crest of petiolar scale sharp to very sharp; emarginate, straight or convex. Color, dark brown. (Wing 1968)

Keys including this Species


Southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Hardwood forests, especially in riparian areas, pinyon-juniper forests, pine oak transition. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)


Common in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.


Wing (1968) summarized the following natural history information and the alate dates given below. Almost no biological data have been published on Lasius arizonicus. Wheeler (1917) cited 3 localities in Cochise Co. from which the types were collected, giving an altitude of 5000 ft. for one collection. Data associated with the specimens at hand are meager. Four samples were taken under stones, 1 came from a "shaded canyon". Slightly over 20 samples had altitudinal data. With the one exception of a collection made at 2000 ft., they ranged from approximately 5000 to 8500 ft.

This species belonged to what was long considered a separate genus (Acanthomyops). Wing (1968) published a revision of that taxon, summarizing some of their biology: These ants are exclusively subterranean in their habits, except for short periods of time just before and during nuptials. Nests are built in the soil, usually under the cover of objects such as stones or logs, but sometimes, especially in the Plains States, loosely compacted earthen mounds of varying size are made. Some taxa nest partially in rotted wood; these colonies are typically found in association with stumps and logs. Most taxa in the eastern states show a preference for fairly moist conditions, selecting fields, pastures, and woodlands as nesting sites. In the western states many taxa exhibit a greater tolerance for drier conditions in the selection of their nesting sites. Most myrmecologists believe that all species of Acanthomyops are temporary social parasites of Lasius. We have, however, very little evidence on the mode or modes of colony foundation in the genus - most of it being largely circumstantial. Work done by Tanquary (1911) represents the most determined effort to date to elucidate the nature of colony foundation in the genus. Methods of colony foundation in Acanthomyops are in critical need of solid evidence from field and laboratory studies. Many species of Acanthomyops are known to regularly attend subterranean aphids and coccids, which represent a wide variety of taxa. Probably the species whose biologies are unknown likewise subsist principally on the honeydew of these homopterous insects. At the time of the nuptial flights, which are more or less characteristic as to season for a given species, the workers in mature colonies of Acanthomyops open up the nest entrance widely by excavation. Nests in this condition are found readily even before the actual flights begin to occur. Flights occurring in natural surroundings often involve the participation of an extremely large number of alate individuals. The queens and males congregate on the ground, and, when the conditions are right, fly up into the air in large numbers. Later, many descend from their flight, often giving rise to large aggregations of ants in restricted local areas; this frequently leads to concern on the part of persons residing in the area. Nuptial flights sometimes originate from the basements of homes and stores. Confronted with the evidence of flights of the latter type, which usually take place during the winter months, occupants often fear that their buildings are infested with termites.


Alate dates Eight dated samples contained alates. The extreme dates are June 13 and August 8. On June 13, queens alone were captured on 2 occasions. Dealate queens were taken on July 6 and 8. It is likely that flights begin by mid-June. The collection on August 8 contained workers and males; it is probably a nest collection. Thus flights may still occur as late as early August.




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

  • arizonicus. Lasius (Acanthomyops) interjectus subsp. arizonicus Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 532 (w.) U.S.A. Wing, 1968: 90 (q.m.). Combination in Acanthomyops: Creighton, 1950a: 431; in Lasius: Ward, 2005: 13. Raised to species: Buren, 1950: 184. See also: Wing, 1968: 90.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Wing 1968 Acanthomyops figs. 68-76

Type Material

Wing (1968) - Type locality: Huachuca Mts., Cochise Co., Arizona. Syntypes in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.


  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 431, Combination in Acanthomyops)
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Ward, P.S. 2005. A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936: 1-68 (page 13, revived combination in Lasius(Acanthomyops))
  • Wing, M. W. 1968a. Taxonomic revision of the Nearctic genus Acanthomyops (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mem. Cornell Univ. Agric. Exp. Stn. 405: 1-173 (page 90, queen, male described, see also)