Formica fuscocinerea

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Formica fuscocinerea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. fuscocinerea
Binomial name
Formica fuscocinerea
Forel, 1874

Formica fuscocinerea casent0911068 p 1 high.jpg

Formica fuscocinerea casent0911068 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


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.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 48.21666667° to 40.746329°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland (type locality), Ukraine.

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.


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.

Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
  • This species is a host for the ant Polyergus rufescens (a slave maker) (Seifert, 2018; de la Mora et al., 2021).
  • This species is a xenobiont for the ant Lasius flavus (a xenobiont) in Poland (Czechowski & Czechowska, 2000; Kanizsai et al., 2013) (Grassy mountain slope. Under stone).

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec




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

  • 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.

Taxonomic Notes

Two species listed in Bračko (2000), Formica balcanina and Formica cinerea imitans, were synonymized with Formica cinerea. Re-checking two samples of "F. imians" from Ptuj and Gornja Radgona, Slovenia, showed that they actually belong to F. fuscocinerea, a sibling species of F. cinerea (Bračko, 2007).

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.

Type Material

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.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • AntArea. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Antarea (Personal Communication - Rumsais Blatrix- 27 April 2018)
  • Antarea (at on June 11th 2017)
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