Proformica longiseta

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Proformica longiseta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Proformica
Species: P. longiseta
Binomial name
Proformica longiseta
Collingwood, 1978

Proformica longiseta casent0912280 p 1 high.jpg

Proformica longiseta casent0912280 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Sanllorente et al. (2015) - Proformica longiseta is an endemic polygynous ant found in southeastern Spain that inhabits high mountains. It is widespread within its altitude range but occurs as isolated populations within specific habitat patches. These patches are effectively isolated by the geological characteristics of the mountainous terrain. Population genetics and biogeographic analysis show their populations are strongly structured and exhibit isolation by distance, which together with the absence of intrapopulation variation in mitochondrial DNA suggest strong female philopatry and limited male dispersal. In spite of this no recent bottlenecks or inbreeding are detectable.

At a Glance • Ergatoid queen  



Iberian high mountains at an altitude range of 1800–2800 masl.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Isolated patches of mountain arid-steppe habitat characterized by strong seasonality (hot, dry summers and long, cold winters).


Sanllorente et al. (2015) - Found in isolated patches of arid steppe habitat in Iberian high mountains at an altitude range of 1800–2800 masl (Fernández-Escudero and Tinaut 1999). Nest densities are high (0.18 ± 0.01 SE nest/ m2), with P. longiseta being the most abundant species in its preferred habitat (Fernández-Escudero and Tinaut 1999). Abiotic conditions are characterized by strong seasonality (hot, dry summers in contrast to long, cold winters) which imposes a substantial diapause period (Fernández-Escudero and Tinaut 1998). Females are wingless. Queens can form new nests by budding, a process that can also involve more than a single queen (Fernández-Escudero et al. 2001). A 2006 study suggested some genetic structuring but without isolation by distance at one locality within one of the high mountains, Sierra Nevada (Seppä et al. 2006). This 2015 study examined 14 populations across a wide range using nuclear (microsatellites) and mitochondrial genetic data. Populations were strongly structured and exhibit isolation by distance. P. longiseta is likely strongly affected by female philopatry and dependent colony founding, i.e, queens mating near their natal nest and leaving on foot with a limited work force to start their new nest (Bourke and Franks 1995; Seppä et al. 2006). Estimates of gene flow by each sex also support this conclusion as males do not seem to be much more efficient than females at dispersal, despite being winged. Populations show no evidence of inbreeding or major reduction in nuclear genetic diversity.


Fernández-Escudero et al. (2001) described ergatoid queens in this species


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

  • longiseta. Proformica longiseta Collingwood, 1978: 74 (in list), 92 (in key) (w.) SPAIN.

Taxonomic Notes

As the original description lacks the designation of type-material, this name is unavailable and cannot be used for nomenclatorial purposes.



  • Collingwood, C. A. 1978. A provisional list of Iberian Formicidae with a key to the worker caste (Hym. Aculeata). EOS. Rev. Esp. Entomol. 52: 65-95 (page 92, (diagnosis in key) worker described)
  • Fernández, I., M. Ballesta & A. Tinaut. 1994. Worker polymorphism in Proformica longiseta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology. 24: 39-46
  • Fernández-Escudero, I., Tinaut, A. & F. Ruano. 1997. Ovarian maturation under cold winter conditions in a high-mountain ant (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Environmental Entomology. 26: 1373-1377
  • Fernández-Escudero, I., Seppä, P. & Pamilo, P. 2001. Dependent colony founding in the ant Proformica longiseta. Insectes Sociaux 48: 80-82.
  • Fernández-Escudero, I., Pamilo, P. & P. Seppä. 2002. Biased sperm use by polyandrous queens of the ant Proformica longiseta. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 51: 207-213.
  • Sanllorente, O., F. Ruano, and A. Tinaut. 2015. Large-scale population genetics of the mountain ant Proformica longiseta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Population Ecology. 57:637-648. doi:10.1007/s10144-015-0505-2
  • Seppä, P., Fernández-Escudero, I. Gyllenstrand, N. & P. Pamilo. 2006. Obligatory female philopatry affects genetic population structure in the ant Proformica longiseta. Insectes Sociaux, 53: 362-368