Formica adamsi

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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.

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





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

  • 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.



  • Cole, A. C., Jr. 1954. Studies of New Mexico ants. XI. The genus Formica with a description of a new species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Tenn. Acad. Sci. 29: 163-167.
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 509, Variety/subspecies of whymperi)
  • Gregg, R. E. 1963. The ants of Colorado, with reference to their ecology, taxonomy, and geographic distribution. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, xvi + 792 pp.
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1909e. A decade of North American Formicidae. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 17: 77-90 (page 84, worker described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1917a. The mountain ants of western North America. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 52: 457-569 (page 544, Variety/subspecies of whymperi)