This species can thrive in urban areas due to its propensity to use pavement stones as a nesting resource.
Seifert (2002) - A member of the Formica cinerea group. F. fuscocinerea is definitely no synonym of Formica cinerea or Formica fusca. As a diagnostic difference to F. cinerea, the three syntype workers of F. fuscocinerea from Zurich show a setae reduction on ventral head (nGU 6, 8, 4), have only few setae on dorsal margin of scale (nPE 4, 9, 0), none on lateral scale margin, and show the typical microsculpture on lateral mesonotum anterior of metathoracic spiracle. These specimens belong to the species that has been called Formica lefrancoisi from Kutter (1977) to Seifert (1996).
The heterogenous W. Palaearctic nest samples of F. cinerea could be convincingly separated from those of F. fuscocinerea by discriminant analysis.
Keys including this Species
Seifert (2002) - The known range of Formica fuscocinerea includes the Alps and their foothills from 8.30 E to 16.49 E and the N. Apennine.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Seifert (2002) - F. fuscocinerea seems to be rare or absent in the western Alps and no records from more than 150 km north or east of the Alps are known. In Switzerland, Germany and Austria the 55 known sites are situated in altitudes between 200 and 1050 m a.s.l. and concentrate to river valleys where sandy river banks are obviously its primary natural habitat. However, any kind of open anthropogenic habitat with a high percentage of bare soil surface may be inhabited, including artificial structures made with stones or concrete along rivers, streets or railway lines. F. fuscocinerea also occurs as a dominant pavement ant in the stone deserts of big city centres (e.g. Zurich, Innsbruck, Linz, Wien) where it feeds on dead insects at the margins of car roads.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- fuscocinerea. Formica fusca var. fuscocinerea Forel, 1874: 55 (w.q.m.) SWITZERLAND. Subspecies of cinerea: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 522; Dlussky, 1967a: 65; Dlussky & Pisarski, 1971: 161; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 234; Pisarski, 1975: 43. Raised to species and senior synonym of lefrancoisi: Seifert, 2002b: 256.
- lefrancoisi. Formica lefrancoisi Bondroit, 1918: 54 (w.m.) FRANCE. Combination in F. (Serviformica): Emery, 1925b: 246. Subspecies of cinerea: Emery, 1925b: 246. Revived status as species: Kutter, 1977c: 253. Junior synonym of cinerea: Seifert, 1994: 38; of fuscocinerea: Seifert, 2002b: 256.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Seifert (2002) - Size slightly below the F. cinerea group average, mean CS 1301. Head moderately elongated, CL/CW(1400) 1.129. Scape of average length, SL/CS(1400) 1.040. Clypeus with a median keel, finely microreticulate, its anteriormost portion finely longitudinally microcarinulate. Frontal triangle finely transversally microcarinulate and with 40- 50 short pubescence hairs. Eyes with few scattered microsetae of 4 - 7 mm length. Dorsal plane of scape and genae without setae. Setae numbers on remaining head, pronotum, mesonotum, and propodeum lower, those on gula and petiole much lower than in F. cinerea. Nest sample means of setae numbers: genae 0 - 0.7, occipital margin in dorsal aspect 6.3 - 45.8, gula 3.7 - 12.3; propodeum 0 - 6.5, extensor profile of both hind femora 0 - 0.3, flexor profile of both hind femora 4.0 - 21.7; extensor profile of hind tibiae 0 - 1.0. In anterior view, number of setae surpassing petiolar scale margin above spiracular level 0.7 - 10.7; within all these fringe setae, setae projecting dorsad clearly more numerous than those projecting laterad, the latter frequently entirely absent. Overall impression of mesosomal surface intermediate between the conditions in F. fusca and F. cinerea. Microsculpture of lateral mesonotum anterior of metathoracic spiracle in the form of a fine network of much elongated, ellipsoid or acutely rhomboid meshes. The inner surface of the meshes is flat and shining; the ripples of the net are not thicker than 2 mm thick while the average small diameter of a mesh is about 8 mm - i.e. the ratio of sculptured surface against shining surface is 1:4 or smaller. Transition between dorsal and caudal profiles of propodeum broadly convex or angulate convex. Petiole scale in upper third much wider than basally, its dorsal crest in frontal view convex or forming an angle of 140°; in lateral aspect rather thick, wedge-shaped, with convex anterior and rather straight posterior profile. Head, mesosoma, petiole, and gaster covered by an appressed silvery pubescence, PDG 6.8. Colour polymorphism. Morphs with a yellowish-red colour component on mesosoma and anterior head more frequent than in Central European population of F. cinerea; entirely dark, intermediate, or patchily coloured morphs can occur syntopically.
Seifert (2002) - Switzerland: Einsiedeln near Zurich and Zurich [types investigated]. One lectotype worker (with CW = 1143 mm, designated by B. Seifert 1999) and paralectotype worker together with a gyne on the same pin, labelled by Forel Formica cinerea Mayr var. fusco-cinerea Forel, queen type Zurich, worker type Einsiedeln; 1 paralectotype worker and 2 paralectotype gynes on another pin labelled by Forel cinerea queen, Zurich; F. fusco-cinerea Forel; all material stored in Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève.
- Baroni Urbani, C. 1971c. Catalogo delle specie di Formicidae d'Italia (Studi sulla mirmecofauna d'Italia X). Mem. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 50: 5-287 (page 234, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)
- Dlussky, G. M. 1967a. Ants of the genus Formica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, g. Formica). Moskva: Nauka Publishing House, 236 pp. (page 65, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)
- Dlussky, G. M.; Pisarski, B. 1971. Rewizja polskich gatunków mrówek (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) z rodzaju Formica L. Fragm. Faun. (Warsaw) 16: 145-224 (page 161, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)
- Forel, A. 1874. Les fourmis de la Suisse. Systématique, notices anatomiques et physiologiques, architecture, distribution géographique, nouvelles expériences et observations de moeurs. Neue Denkschr. Allg. Schweiz. Ges. Gesammten Naturwiss. 26: 1-452 (page 55, worker, queen, male described)
- Pisarski, B. 1975. Mrówki Formicoidea. Kat. Fauny Pol. 26: 3-85 (page 43, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)
- Seifert, B. 2002b. A taxonomic revision of the Formica cinerea group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Abh. Ber. Naturkundemus. Görlitz 74(2):245-272. PDF
- Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 522, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)