Formica moki

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Formica moki
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. moki
Binomial name
Formica moki
Wheeler, W.M., 1906

Formica moki casent0005369 profile 1.jpg

Formica moki casent0005369 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Usually nests under stones in open woods; sometimes under sidewalks or along the sides of buildings. May become a pest by foraging in houses or by tending aphids on cultivated plants. Fierce and aggressive.


Keys including this Species


Northwestern comer of Arizona, southern Nevada, California north to Oregon, and south to Mexico.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - Our 8 records from 5 localities are all from the southern part of the state and all in the Pinyon-Juniper Biome. One nest was in the ends of a rotten log (8 cm in diameter) lying on the ground, 3 were under stones, and I was in the slightly decayed buried portion of a log 15 cm in diameter. We noted that the workers were fast and aggressive, that the bite was annoying and that a populous colony produced an invisible cloud of formic acid over a disturbed nest.

Associations with other Organisms

Other Ants

Nests of this species occasionally host Temnothorax andrei, although the nature of the relationship is unknown (Mann, 1911).

This species is a host for the ant Polyergus vinosus (a slave maker).




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

  • moki. Formica moki Wheeler, W.M. 1906d: 343 (w.) U.S.A. Cole, 1966: 25 (m.). Combination in F. (Neoformica): Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 558. Junior synonym of occidua: Francoeur, 1973: 254. [Note that moki has seniority over occidua and hence is the valid name; see Smith, D.R. 1979: 1453.] See also: Smith, M.R. 1939f: 582.
  • occidua. Formica rufibarbis var. occidua Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 517 (w.q.) U.S.A. [F. rufibarbis var. occidua Wheeler, W.M. 1912c: 90. Nomen nudum.] Subspecies of rufibarbis: Creighton, 1950a: 539. Raised to species and stated as senior synonym of moki: Francoeur, 1973: 254 [the latter has priority and hence is the valid name: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1453].

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


Francoeur 1973. Figures 459-465. F. occidua


  • Cole, A. C., Jr. 1966b. Ants of the Nevada Test Site. Brigham Young Univ. Sci. Bull. Biol. Ser. 7(3 3: 1-27 (page 25, male described)
  • Francoeur, A. 1973. Révision taxonomique des espèces néarctiques du groupe fusca, genre Formica (Formicidae, Hymenoptera). Mém. Soc. Entomol. Qué. 3: 1-316 (page 254, Junior synonym of occidua)
  • Smith, M. R. 1939f. Notes on Formica (Neoformica) moki Wheeler, with description of a new subspecies (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 32: 581-584 PDF
  • Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1906i. The ants of the Grand Cañon. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 22: 329-345 (page 343, worker described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 558, Combination in F. (Neoformica))