Myrmica lemasnei

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Myrmica lemasnei
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species: M. lemasnei
Binomial name
Myrmica lemasnei
Bernard, 1967

Workerless social parasite. In France this species was found in pine forest, at altitude 900 m, under a granite stone in a soil, in the nest of Myrmica sabuleti; in Spain found in oak forest, at altitude 800 m in a M. sabuleti nest (Espadaler 1981). In the region of the Pyrenees (both France and Spain) where M. lemasnei has been found, there also lives a different form of M. sabuleti, the so-called "West-Mediterranean form" of M. sabuleti (Seifert 1988). Possibly, the West-Mediterranean form of M. sabuleti is the host of M. lemasnei, rather than "typical" M. sabuleti.

At a Glance • Workerless Inquiline  


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - A member of the karavajevi group, but its nomenclature is somewhat uncertain. Bernard described M. lemasnei from a single dealate queen that he said he collected together with Le Masne in April 1939, from a nest of M. sabuleti living in forest on the Coll de l'Ouillat (900 m. a.s.l.) in the French Pyrenees near the Spanish border. Quite possibly the host species was Myrmica spinosior, a species closely related to M. sabuleti. Unfortunately, the unique holotype appears to be lost.

Key to Parasitic Myrmica of West Europe and North Africa Queens / Males

Keys including this Species


Pyrenees Mountains.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: France (type locality), Iberian Peninsula, Spain.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




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

  • lemasnei. Myrmica lemasnei Bernard, 1967: 123, fig. 127 (q.) FRANCE. Combination in Sifolinia: Kutter, 1973c: 253; in Symbiomyrma: Seifert, 1994: 16; in Myrmica: Bolton, 1988a: 4; Radchenko & Elmes, 2003a: 232. See also: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 183.

Radchenko and Elmes (2003) - This is clearly a good species, but its nomenclature is somewhat uncertain. The problem is that the holotype appears to be lost and the original description of Bernard (1968) does not fully conform to the later specimens and description given by Kutter (1973). Bernard's collection is stored in the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelles, Paris and specialists from that museum kindly checked his collection but could not locate the type specimen. It is possible that Le Masne had a collection but if he did, we have no idea where it might be.

Bernard described M. lemasnei from a sing1e dealate queen, collected by Le Masne in a nest of Myrmica sabuleti in the forest in French Pyrenees near the Spanish border (coil de l'Ouillat, 900 m, April 1939). In contrast, Kutter (1973: 258) stated that the holotype was collected in 1950 and "now seems to be lost", but gave no further reasons for his statements. However, Kutter made a very clear redescription of queens of S. lemasnei and gave a first description of males, based on 8 queens and 3 male "cotypes", collected by Le Masne in July 1956 from Col de l'Ouillet, the type locality for M. lemasnei (note: according to the Code of Zoological Nomenclature these males can not considered as types). Kutter (1973) transferred M. lemasnei to the genus Sifolinia based on his (later collected) specimens and characters in Bernard's original description, such as petiole and postpetiole having ventral lobes, a relatively small body size, a rounded head and socially parasitic lifestyle. We investigated 1 male "cotype" sensu Kutter and one of the queens from same series and found them to totally agree with Kutter's description, as did 2 queens collected by Espadaler, from northern Spain, and identified by him as S. lemasnei (Espadaler 1981).

While Kutter's specimens are a good species, now placed once more in Myrmica, the question remains whether it is the same species that Bernard described? It is quite possible that Le Masne by chance collected one species of social parasite in 1939 and a second in 1956. Alternatively we could simply dismiss Bernard's original description as being poor and inadequate and accept Kutter's later description, except for one significant statement. Bernard (1968:124) wrote: " . . . base du scape en angle presque droit, legerement reorde mais bien moins que celui de sabuleti . . . " (" . . .antennal scape curved at about right angle, with fine ridge, but it is much smaller than that in M. sabuleti . . . "). This would make it quite different from S. lemasnei sensu Kutter, which, like M. karavajevi and M. kabylica, has antennal scape that is gradually curved at the base and without any trace of a longitudinal ridge or lobe. Unfortunately, the photograph of the holotype (Bernard 1968) is of poor quality and does not help to resolve this. On the other hand, there are clear inconsistencies in Bernard's description which might support the contention that the description of the scape is simply a further error: for example, (i) in the text the size said to be 3 mm, but in the corresponding figure shows it to be 3.9 mm (the latter is more probable), (ii) the propodeal spines are described as blunt, but in Figs 120, 127 (ibid.) they are distinctly pointed and (iii) under "collected material" the specimen was noted as a worker although the description and photograph are clearly that of a queen.

For the time being, we suggest that the pragmatic solution to this problem is to accept Kutter's treatment of M. lemasnei. When it is certain that Bernard's original holotype is lost, a neotype from Kutter's later series could be designated. If someone should find the holotype and demonstrate that it is not "M. lemasnei" sensu Kutter, then Bernard's holotype of M. lemasnei should be redescribed and the Kutter's material would be an un-named species.

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



Radchenko and Elmes (2003) - (n=3): HL 0.88-0.90; HW 0.82-0.85; SL 0.77-0.79; AL 1.40-1.44 mm; FI 0.45-0.49; FLI 1.03-1.05; SI1 0.86-0.90; SI2 0.91-0.95; PPI 0.56-0.60; ESLI 0.31-0.332; male: HL 0.77; HW 0.74; SL 0.75; AL 1.32 mm; SI1 0.97; SI2 1.01; PPI 0.65; ESLI about 0.00 (propodeal practically unarmed).


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - this species is dedicated to the French myrmecologist Prof. Georges Le Masne.


  • Bernard, F. 1967a [1968]. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp. (page 123, fig. 127 queen described)
  • Bolton, B. 1988a. A new socially parasitic Myrmica, with a reassessment of the genus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 13: 1-11 (page 4, Combination in Myrmica)
  • Kutter, H. 1973d. Über die morphologischen Beziehungen der Gattung Myrmica zu ihren Satellitengenera Sifolinia Em., Symbiomyrma Arnoldi und Sommimyrma Menozzi (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 46: 253-268 (page 253, Combination in Sifolinia)
  • Radchenko, A. G.; Elmes, G. W. 2003a. A taxonomic revision of the socially parasitic Myrmica ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Palaearctic region. Ann. Zool. (Warsaw) 53: 217-243 (page 232, see also)
  • Radchenko, A.G. & Elmes, G.W. 2010. Myrmica ants of the Old World. Fauna Mundi 3: 1-789.
  • Seifert, B. 1994a [1993]. Die freilebenden Ameisenarten Deutschlands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) und Angaben zu deren Taxonomie und Verbreitung. Abh. Ber. Naturkundemus. Görlitz 67(3): 1-44 (page 16, Combination in Symbiomyrma)