Formica curiosa

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Formica curiosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. curiosa
Binomial name
Formica curiosa
Creighton, 1935

Formica curiosa casent0104770 profile 1.jpg

Formica curiosa casent0104770 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This species is a member of a group of Formica species that were formerly placed in the subgenus Raptiformica. All species are facultative slavemakers, i.e., species which usually or often have slaves but can get along without them. The colony-founding female forces her way into a small colony of another species of Formica, somehow gets rid of its queen and workers and appropriates its nest and brood. The workers emerging from this brood accept the intruding queen as their own. The enslaved species belong to the Formica neogagates, fusca, and pallidefulva species groups. When the workers of the slave-making species have become numerous enough, they start raiding for more slaves.



Montana to Washington and Oregon, south to northern Nevada, north into British Columbia.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 48.3° to 43.5408°.

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.


Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have 2 records from 2 localities near the northern border of the state, based on concolorous strays. Both were in the Sarcobatus Subclimax of the Cool Desert.

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia formicarum (a parasite) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission within nest).
  • This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia formicarum (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).


Formica curiosa, Pettit Lake, Idaho, Marek Borowiec.jpg


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

  • curiosa. Formica curiosa Creighton, 1935: 5, fig. 2 (w.q.) U.S.A. Senior synonym of parcipappa: Snelling, R.R. 1969b: 194.
  • parcipappa. Formica parcipappa Cole, 1947: 616 (w.) U.S.A. Combination in F. (Serviformica): Buren, 1968a: 32. Junior synonym of curiosa: Snelling, R.R. 1969b: 194.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Buren W. F. 1968. Some fundamental taxonomic problems in Formica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Georgia Entomol. Soc. 3: 25-40
  • Longino, J.T. 2010. Personal Communication. Longino Collection Database
  • Snelling R. R. 1969. Notes on the systematics and dulosis of some western species of Formica, subgenus Raptiformica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 71: 194-197.
  • Wheeler G. C., and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp.
  • Wheeler, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1988. A checklist of the ants of Montana. Psyche 95:101-114
  • Wilson E. O., and W. L. Brown, Jr. 1955. Revisionary notes on the sanguinea and neogagates groups of the ant genus Formica. Psyche (Cambridge) 62: 108-129.