Formica mesasiatica

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Formica mesasiatica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Subgenus: Coptoformica
Species: F. mesasiatica
Binomial name
Formica mesasiatica
Dlussky, 1964

Formica mesasiatica casent0903275 p 1 high.jpg

Formica mesasiatica casent0903275 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species is found in steppe-like or semidry grasslands and woodland clearings. The highest densities were found in grasslands with shrub. Monodomous isolated nests as well as polydomous colonies were observed. Nuptial flights are delayed with growing elevation and were observed in Middle Asia between 29 June and 8 August. (Tyanshan and N Pamir; Seifert & Schultz, 2021).

At a Glance • Temporary parasite  


Seifert (2000) - F. mesasiatica shows highly significant (p < 0.0001) differences to Formica exsecta in sqrtPDG, sqrtPDH, and nCOXA of queens and workers and in SL/CL of queens. However, it cannot be completely separated from exsecta by discriminant functions even on the basis of nest sample means. Because of the very peculiar zoogeographic situation - the only Coptoformica species known from Middle Asia (Tyanshan and N Pamir) and the population is apparently fully isolated from the Palaearctic range of exsecta - mesasiatica is treated here as species.


Seifert (2000) - Limited to the mountain areas of the Tyanshan and N Pamir.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: China, Russian Federation (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.


Found on steppe-like or semidry grasslands and woodland clearings between 1300-2700 m (Dlussky 1967; Tarbinsky 1976; Schultz pers. comm.). The highest densities were observed in grasslands with bushes.


As a member of the subgenus Coptoformica this species is likely to be a temporary parasite of another species of Formica, but its host is unknown.

Flight Period

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

Source: Seifert & Schultz, 2021.

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the trematode Dicrocoelium dendriticum (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; indirect transmission; transmission outside nest).



Images from AntWeb

Formica mesasiatica casent0907591 h 1 high.jpgFormica mesasiatica casent0907591 p 1 high.jpgFormica mesasiatica casent0907591 d 1 high.jpgFormica mesasiatica casent0907591 l 1 high.jpgFormica mesasiatica casent0907591 p 2 high.jpgFormica mesasiatica casent0907591 p 3 high.jpg
Paratype of Formica mesasiaticaQueen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0907591. Photographer Z. Lieberman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MZL, Lausanne, Switzerland.


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

  • mesasiatica. Formica (Coptoformica) mesasiatica Dlussky, 1964: 1030, figs. (w.q.m.) RUSSIA. Junior synonym of fukaii: Sonobe & Dlussky, 1977: 23. Revived status as species: Seifert, 2000a: 532. See also: Tarbinsky, 1976: 179.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Seifert (2000) - Very large (CL 1468 ± 61, 1359-1582; CW 1414 ± 61, 1321-1535). Head shape as in Formica exsecta (CL/CW 1.038 ± 0.014, 1.002-1.061). Scape long (SL/CL 1.027 ± 0.019, 0.989-1.059). Clypeus also in median and posterior portions with standing setae (ClySet 4.22 ± 0.43,4-5). Lateral semierect setae in the ocellar triangle always present (OceSet 100%). Eye hairs always strongly developed, often hook-shaped (EyeHL 35.7 ± 4.6, 30-47). Pubescence in the occellar triangle always very dense (sqrtPDF 3.99 ± 0.22, 3.58-4.41). Occipital corners in contrast to the exsecta standard with almost appressed pubescence. Craniad profile of forecoxae with few semierect setae (nCOXA 4.58 ± 0.90, 3.0-5.5). Dorsal pronotum and propodeum occasionally, lateral metapleuron and ventrolateral propodeum always with few standing setae (nMET 3.61 ± 1.26, 1.5-6.0). Outer edge of hind tibial flexor side conspicuously hairy (nHTFL 9.50 ± 0.99, 8.0-11.0), with two size classes of setae, and subdecumbent pubescence. Semierect setae on gaster tergites beginning on the first tergite (TERG 1.00 ± 0.0). Pubescence distance on first gaster tergite very low (sqrtPDG 4.43 ± 0.65, 3.72-6.14).


Seifert (2000) - As large as exsecta (CL 1642 ± 33, 1585-1687; CW 1721 ± 22, 1697-1765; ML 2949 ± 79, 2831-3040). Head broad (CL/CW 0.955 ± 0.023, 0.926-0.985), scape significantly longer than in exsecta (SL/CL 0.994 ± 0.023, 0.957-1.024). Clypeus also in posterior portions with standing setae. Lateral semierect setae in the ocellar triangle usually present. Eye hairs always long and numerous, often hook-shaped (EyeHL 49.2 ± 6.2, 40-55). Pubescence in the occellar triangle always very dense (sqrtPDF 3.56 ± 0.20, 3.33-3.85). Occipital corners of head with decumbent or subdecumbent hairs (OccHD 38.5 ± 9.3, 31-59); queens with appressed hairs are reported to occur (Dlussky 1967). Brilliance of dorsal head surface low, weakly sculptured surfaces dominate (GLANZ 1.41 ± 0.38, 1.0-2.0). Craniad profile of forecoxae with semierect setae (nCOXA 8.06 ± 1.52, 6.0-11.0). Promesonotum always with standing setae that clearly differ from semierect pubescence (MnHL 195.3 ± 29.2, 152-233). Outer edge of the hind tibial flexor side conspicuously hairy (nHTFL 9.43 ± 2.87, 6.0-15.0), with two size classes of setae and subdecumbent pubescence. Semierect setae on gaster tergites always beginning on the first tergite (TERG 1.00 ± 0.00). Pubescence distance on first gaster tergite constantly very low (sqrtPDG 3.56 ± 0.20, 3.33-3.85).

Type Material

Talasskiy Alatau and Zailiyskiy Alatau, Tyanshan. Paratype (Musée de Zoologie, Lausanne).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Guénard B., and R. R. Dunn. 2012. A checklist of the ants of China. Zootaxa 3558: 1-77.
  • Marikovsky P. I. 1979. Ants of the Semireche Desert. [In Russian.]. Alma Ata: Nauka, 263 pp.
  • Ran H., and S. Y. Zhou. 2012. Checklist of chinese ants: formicomorph subfamilies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) II. Journal of Guangxi Normal University: Natural Science Edition 30(4): 81-91.
  • Schultz R., and B. Seifert. 2007. The distribution of the subgenus Coptoformica Müller, 1923 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Palaearctic Region. Myrmecological News 10: 11-18.
  • Seifert B. 2000. A taxonomic revision of the ant subgenus Coptoformica Mueller, 1923 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zoosystema 22: 517-568.
  • Wu wei, Li Xiao Mei, Guo Hong. 2004. A primary study on the fauna of Formicidae in Urumqi and its vicinities. Arid Zone Research 21(2): 179-182