Formica lemani

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Formica lemani
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. lemani
Binomial name
Formica lemani
Bondroit, 1917

Formica lemani casent0179598 p 1 high.jpg

Formica lemani casent0179598 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Collingwood (1979) - This is an abundant upland species in Europe not distinguished from Formica fusca until Bondroit (1917) and first clearly described by Yarrow (1954). It has similar habits to F. fusca but sometimes occurs in large multi-queened colonies in favourable sites such as stony banks. Colony founding is either by single queens or by nest fission. Alatae fly in July and August.


Greyish to brownish black, legs paler. Short stout hairs present on promesonotum normally numerous but occasionally abraded or few. Underside of mid and hind femora normally with one or more hairs at mid length. Frons coarsely sculptured to that punctures readily seen under ordinary magnification. Length: 4.5-7.0 mm (Collingwood 1979).


Mountains of Spain to Japan including Himalayas, Appenines to arctic Fennoscandia (Collingwood 1979).

The records of F. lemani from Korea are considered to be misidentications of Formica fusca by the following characteristics: 1. No more than 6 erect hairs (Radchenko, 2005) on the pronotum of worker. 2. Workers with less than 3 hairs in mid femur. However, according to Dlussky and Pisarski (1971), there are some variable individuals without any setae on the pronotum, which requires close examination (Dong & Kim, 2019).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Finland, France (type locality), Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Kvifte and Soule (2017) - Lasius flavus and Formica lemani were found in a plesiobiotic association in a heathland in western Norway. The colonies were found in chambers under rocks, with both larvae and pupae of both species present.

This is the first confirmed case of F. lemani in a plesiobiontic relationship with another ant species, providing further evidence for Collingwood’s (1979) claim that the habits of F. lemani are similar to Formica fusca – the most frequently recorded plesiobiont in the Palearctic region (Kaniszai et al., 2013). Workers of Formica lemani and Lasius flavus differ markedly in size and foraging behaviour. Whereas F. lemani is a free-living and active predacious, aphidicolous and nectarivorous species, L. flavus is mostly subterranean and feeds on smaller arthropods and honeydew from root feeding aphids (Collingwood, 1979; Douwes et al., 2012). The resources exploited by each species thus show little overlap, permitting coexistence without competition. This follows the general pattern outlined for plesiobiontic relationships by Kanizsai et al. (2013). Colony sizes of the two species are listed in the literature as a few hundred to a few thousand for F. lemani and up to 100 000 workers for L. flavus (Douwes et al., 2012).

This species is a host for the temporary parasites Formica exsecta, Formica pressilabris and Formica suecica.

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

Flight Period

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





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

  • lemani. Formica lemani Bondroit, 1917b: 186 (w.q.) FRANCE. Bondroit, 1920a: 145 (m.). Combination in F. (Serviformica): Emery, 1925b: 247. Subspecies of fusca: Müller, 1923: 139; Santschi, 1925g: 352; Novak & Sadil, 1941: 107. Revived status as species: Yarrow, 1954a: 231. Senior synonym of borealis: Dlussky, 1965a: 35. See also: Bernard, 1967: 295; Dlussky, 1967a: 60; Dlussky & Pisarski, 1971: 150; Kutter, 1977c: 251; Kupyanskaya, 1990: 184; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 261; Seppä, et al. 2011: 31.
  • borealis. Formica fusca subsp. borealis Vashkevich, 1924b: 147 (w.) RUSSIA. Junior synonym of lemani: Dlussky, 1965a: 35.



  • 2n = 54 (Switzerland) (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1976).


  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 261, see also)
  • 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 295, see also)
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 197, catalogue)
  • Bondroit, J. 1917b. Diagnoses de trois nouveaux Formica d'Europe (Hym.). Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 1917: 186-187 PDF (page 186, worker, queen described)
  • Bondroit, J. 1920a [1919]. Notes diverses sur des fourmis d'Europe. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 59: 143-158 (page 145, male described)
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1979. The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol. Scand. 8:1-174.
  • Dlussky, G. M. 1965a. Ants of the genus Formica L. of Mongolia and northeast Tibet (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Ann. Zool. (Warsaw) 23: 15-43 (page 35, senior synonym of borealis)
  • Dlussky, G. M. 1967a. Ants of the genus Formica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, g. Formica). Moskva: Nauka Publishing House, 236 pp. (page 60, see also)
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Pisarski, B. 1971. Rewizja polskich gatunków mrówek (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) z rodzaju Formica L. Fragm. Faun. (Warsaw) 16: 145-224 (page 150, see also)
  • Dong, M.-S., Kim, S.-K. 2019. Morphological comparison of the male genitalia of Formica fusca group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Korea (doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.20086.34887).
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 247, combination in F. (Serviformica))
  • Kupyanskaya, A. N. 1990a. Ants of the Far Eastern USSR. Vladivostok: Akademiya Nauk SSSR, 258 pp. (page 184, see also)
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 251, see also)
  • Kvifte, G. M., T. A. Legoy, and J. Soule. 2017. The Plesiobiontic Association of Formica lemani Bondroit with Lasius flavus (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Norway. Sociobiology. 64:366-368. doi:10.13102/sociobiology.v64i3.1030
  • Müller, G. 1923b. Le formiche della Venezia Guilia e della Dalmazia. Boll. Soc. Adriat. Sci. Nat. Trieste 28: 11-180 (page 139, Variety/subspecies of fusca)
  • Novák, V.; Sadil, J. 1941. Klíc k urcování mravencu strední Evropy se zvlástním zretelem k mravencí zvírene Cech a Moravy. Entomol. Listy 4: 65-115 (page 107, Variety/subspecies of fusca)
  • Santschi, F. 1925g. Fourmis d'Espagne et autres espèces paléarctiques (Hymenopt.). EOS. Rev. Esp. Entomol. 1: 339-360 (page 352, Variety/subspecies of fusca)
  • Yarrow, I. H. H. 1954a. The British ants allied to Formica fusca L. (Hym., Formicidae). Trans. Soc. Br. Entomol. 11: 229-244 (page 231, revived status as species)