Formica microgyna

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Formica microgyna
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species group: microgyna
Species: F. microgyna
Binomial name
Formica microgyna
Wheeler, W.M., 1903

Formica microgyna casent0104885 profile 1.jpg

Formica microgyna casent0104885 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Nests are found under stones and logs, occasionally with thatching. Reproductives were found in nests in August. This species enslaves Formica argentea, Formica fusca, Formica lasioides and Formica neogagates. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

At a Glance • Temporary parasite  



Robust, large bodied workers, bicolored (head and mesosoma red, gaster black), with numerous blunt, erect hairs on various body parts, especially the pronotum. The tibiae have erect hairs on all surfaces, including a double row on the flexor surfaces. The gaster is dull, except for a band at the end of each tergum, the surface is dull and covered with dense, appressed pubescence. The erect hairs are white, silver or pale yellow in color, and are abundant, especially on the pronotum, mesonotum, propodeum and gaster. Those on the gaster vary in length. Most of the hairs on the mesosoma are blunt tipped, or even weakly spatulate. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

The queen is a tiny specimen, about two-thirds the size of the largest worker. The scape and tibiae have numerous suberect and erect hairs, as do all surfaces of the head, the dorsum of mesosoma, the petiole, and the dorsum of the gaster. The hairs are longer than those of the major worker, with sharper tips.

The numerous erect hairs on the tibiae would separate this species from most of the others, except for Formica impexa. It can be separated from the latter species, as the propodeum is higher and the erect hairs on the gaster are of several different lengths. It is possible that F. impexa will be shown to be a synonym when more material becomes available.


Canada, Alberta. United States. Wyoming south to New Mexico, west to Utah.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: Canada, United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Meadows and open forests, pine and aspen forests.


In Colorado, Gregg (1963) found this species in coniferous forests, mixed forests, and foothill meadows; nests were under stones or wood, in rotten wood or in thatch.

Hosts for Formica microgyna (Mackay & Mackay, 2002):

Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have 6 records from 5 localities. One was in Sarcobatus Subclimax in the Cool Desert and one was in the Alpine Biome. Both of these were nesting under half-buried stones.



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

  • microgyna. Formica microgyna Wheeler, W.M. 1903e: 645, fig. 3 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Senior synonym of recidiva: Creighton, 1950a: 504. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1903f: 656; Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 465; Letendre & Huot, 1972: 117.
  • recidiva. Formica microgyna var. recidiva Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 395 (in key) (w.) U.S.A. [Formica microgyna subsp. microgyna var. recidiva Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 467 (w.m.); unavailable name.] Subspecies of microgyna: Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 542. Junior synonym of microgyna: Creighton, 1950a: 504.



  • Cole, A. C., Jr. 1966b. Ants of the Nevada Test Site. Brigham Young Univ. Sci. Bull. Biol. Ser. 7(3): 1-27.
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 504, senior synonym of recidiva)
  • Gregg, R. E. 1963. The ants of Colorado, with reference to their ecology, taxonomy, and geographic distribution. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, xvi + 792 pp.
  • Letendre, M.; Huot, L. 1972. Considérations préliminaires en vue de la revision taxonomique des fourmis du groupe microgyna, genre Formica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Qué. 17: 117-132 (page 117, see also)
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1903. Extraordinary females in three species of Formica, with remarks on mutation in the Formicidae. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 19: 639-651 (page 645, fig. 3 worker, queen, male described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1903. Some new gynandromorphous ants, with a review of the previously recorded cases. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 19: 653-683 (page 656, see also)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1913. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 465, see also)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1917. The mountain ants of western North America. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 52: 457-569.