Formica gagatoides

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Formica gagatoides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. gagatoides
Binomial name
Formica gagatoides
Ruzsky, 1904

Formica gagatoides casent0906304 p 1 high.jpg

Formica gagatoides casent0906304 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Black, mandibles and appendages brown. Head and alitrunk dull, gaster shining with sparse adpressed pubescent hairs - length less than half interspace width. Propodeum angled in profile. Petiole scale broadly heart-scaped with more or less emarginate dorsal border. Erect hairs on gaster restricted to posterior border of tergites; mid femora normally without outstanding hairs. Length: 4.2-6.0 mm (Collingwood 1979).


Exclusively arctic from Norway to Northeast Siberia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India.
Palaearctic Region: Belgium, China, Finland, Japan, Montenegro, Norway, Russian Federation (type locality), Sweden, Switzerland.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


This is one of the few Fennoscandian species that does not occur in the Alps or other mountains of Central Europe. In behaviour and general appearance it resembles Formica fusca, which it replaces in the north, but can be immediately distinguished by the shining gaster from F. fusca and from Formica transkaucasica by the duller head and alitrunk. It lives in small colonies of a few hundred workers with one or a few queens. Alatae fly in July and August.

This species is a host for the ant Formica sanguinea (a slave maker).



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

  • gagatoides. Formica fusca var. gagatoides Ruzsky, 1904a: 289 (w.q.) RUSSIA. Ruzsky, 1915a: 423 (m.); Stärcke, 1935: 267 (footnote) (m.). Combination in F. (Serviformica): Emery, 1925b: 249. Subspecies of picea Nylander: Emery, 1925b: 249; Stitz, 1939: 368. Raised to species: Holgersen, 1942: 15; Holgersen, 1943a: 9. Junior synonym of picea Nylander: Bernard, 1967: 299. Revived from synonymy and status as species: Kutter, 1977c: 255; Collingwood, 1979: 121; Kupyanskaya, 1990: 188.



  • Bernard, F. 1967a [1968]. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp. (page 299, junior synonym of picea Nylander)
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1979. The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol. Scand. 8: 1-174 (page 121, revived from synonymy and status as species)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 249, combination in F. (Serviformica))
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 249, variety of picea Nylander)
  • Holgersen, H. 1942b. Ants of northern Norway (Hym., Form.). Tromso Mus. Årsh. 63(2 2: 1-34 (page 15, raised to species)
  • Holgersen, H. 1943a. Formica gagatoides Ruzs. in Norway. Tromso Mus. Årsh. 64: 3-17 (page 9, raised to species)
  • Kupyanskaya, A. N. 1990a. Ants of the Far Eastern USSR. Vladivostok: Akademiya Nauk SSSR, 258 pp. (page 188, revived from synonymy and status as species)
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 255, revived from synonymy and status as species)
  • Ruzsky, M. 1904a. On ants from Archangel province. Zap. Imp. Rus. Geogr. Obshch. Obshch. Geogr. 41: 287-294 (page 289, worker, queen described)
  • Ruzsky, M. 1915a. On the ants of Tibet and the southern Gobi. On material collected on the expedition of Colonel P. K. Kozlov. Ezheg. Zool. Muz. 20: 418-444 (page 423, male described)
  • Stärcke, A. 1935a. Zoologie. Formicidae. Wiss. Ergeb. Niederl. Exped. Karakorum 1: 260-269 (page 267, (footnote) male described)
  • Stitz, H. 1939. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands und der angrenzenden Meersteile nach ihren Merkmalen und nach ihrer Lebensweise. 37. Theil. Hautflüger oder Hymenoptera. I: Ameisen oder Formicidae. Jena: G. Fischer, 428 pp. (page 368, variety of picea Nylander)