Formica adamsi

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Formica adamsi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species group: microgyna
Species: F. adamsi
Binomial name
Formica adamsi
Wheeler, W.M., 1909

Formica adamsi casent0104767 profile 1.jpg

Formica adamsi casent0104767 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This species occurs in forests, including pinyon pine, oak, alligator bark juniper and at higher elevations, above 2200 meters, in mixed forests, meadows, spruce-fir forests and upwards into dry tundra. Nests are found under stones and logs (as well as in logs), usually banked with thatching, or simply in thatched nests, generally in rocky areas. Reproductives have been collected in nests from July to September. This species is a temporary parasite and enslaves Formica neorufibarbis.

At a Glance • Temporary parasite  


Workers of this species have at least a few blunt tipped or spatulate hairs on the dorsum of the pronotum. The scapes, underside of the head, and petiole lack erect hairs. The gaster has only a few erect hairs, and the surfaces are sparsely covered with silver, appressed pubescence.

The numbers of hairs on the promesonotum ranges from none (subspecies californicus) to fewer than 12 (subspecies whymperi, alpina type series and adamsi type series) to over 12 (alpina type series). Also color varies considerably in this species. Thus these subspecies do not vary consistently by color or by numbers of hairs on the pronotum, and all are considered synonyms.


Formica adamsi was recently discovered in Maine, the first record for New England.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 66.53303333° to 31.51611111°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: Canada, United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.




Formica adamsi hef.jpgFormica adamsi hal.jpgFormica adamsi had.jpgFile:Form
. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • adamsi. Formica adamsi Wheeler, W.M. 1909e: 84 (w.) U.S.A.
    • [Formica adamsi Wheeler, W.M. 1908g: 408. Nomen nudum.]
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 473 (redescription); Bolton, 1995b: 191; Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 331.
    • Subspecies of whymperi: Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 544; Creighton, 1950a: 509; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1463.
    • [Note: Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 544, Creighton, 1950a: 509, and Smith, D.R. 1979: 1463, all give whymperi as senior name, but adamsi has priority (Bolton, 1995b: 191).]
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus alpina, whymperi.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Glasier J. R. N., S. E. Nielsen, J. Acorn, and J. Pinzon. 2019. Boreal sand hills are areas of high diversity for Boreal ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Diversity 11, 22; doi:10.3390/d11020022.
  • Glasier J. R. N., S. Nielsen, J. H. Acorn, L. H. Borysenko, and T. Radtke. 2016. A checklist of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Saskatchewan. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 130(1): 40-48.
  • Lubertazi, D. Personal Communication. Specimen Data from Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.