This species nests in the soil, usually with a mound. Sometimes nests are located at the base of a plant or under stones or logs, or in stumps, often in sandy soils. Nests can be large, with a circumference over 9 meters in diameter, with over 125 entrances. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)
Usually a light yellowish brown with a gaster that is only slightly darker. Occasionally workers are red with a black gaster, or even nearly black, with yellowish-brown areas. The pilose lobes on the metasternum are not always well developed, but there are always at least a few golden erect hairs on the posterior edge. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)
Keys including this Species
- Key to Nearctic Formica fusca group males
- Key to Nearctic Formica fusca group queens
- Key to Nearctic Formica fusca group workers
Western North America from Yukon Territory, Canada south to northern Mexico.
Latitudinal Distribution Pattern
Latitudinal Range: 61.05° to 31.92°.
- Source: AntMaps
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
|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.|
In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Residential areas, grasslands (including arid grasslands) and open deciduous woods, oak forests, pinyon juniper into pine and fir forests.
Populous colonies common in grasslands, open woods, and especially in disturbed areas. The nest is usually exposed and surmounted by a low messy mass of excavated soil, which often covers a considerable area, e.g., 90-120 cm x 60-90 cm and always with many entrances. These ants have often been reported tending aphids. Abundant in some nests has been Uhleriola floralis (Uhler) (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae), a bug that resembles the ants (Wheeler and Wheeler, 1963:271).
For New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Brood was collected in June to August. Reproductives were found in nests in July and August, dealate females were collected in late June and July. This species may be polygynous, 3 dealate females were found in a single nest. Foragers are often found on cholla (Opuntia imbricata var. arborescens). Workers may be aggressive when a nest is disturbed, although they usually escape. This species is enslaved by Polyergus breviceps and nests with Camponotus modoc.
Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - Our 17 records are from 12 localities which are widely scattered throughout the state; 3,900-9,800 ft. Three records are from the Cool Desert (1 from a disturbed riparian habitat and 2 from a cottonwood grove in an irrigated farmyard) and 4 were from the Coniferous Forest Biome. One exposed nest was surmounted by a 75-mm crater, 1 by piles of excavated earth along exposed cottonwood roots; 1 was in soil at base of a cottonwood stump; 2 were under stones; 1 was in and under a rotten log; 1 was under buried wood. We noted fast moving processions of workers up and down cottonwood trunks.
This species is a host for the slave-making ants Formica puberula (Mackay & Mackay, 2002), Formica rubicunda, Polyergus breviceps (Trager, 2013; de la Mora et al., 2021) and Polyergus mexicanus (Trager, 2013; de la Mora et al., 2021).
Association with Other Organisms
- Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
- This species is a mutualist for the aphid Rhopalosiphum nymphaeae (a trophobiont) (Jones, 1927; Saddiqui et al., 2019).
- This species is a prey for the Microdon fly Microdon albicomatus (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).
- This species is a prey for the Microdon fly Microdon cothurnatus (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).
- This species is a prey for the Microdon fly Microdon manitobensis (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).
- This species is a prey for the Microdon fly Microdon piperi (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).
Images from AntWeb
|Worker. Specimen code casent0102157. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences.||Owned by MSNG, Genoa, Italy.|
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.
- neoclara. Formica fusca var. neoclara Emery, 1893i: 661 (w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 509 (q.m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 165 (l.). Combination in F. (Serviformica): Emery, 1925b: 248. Subspecies of fusca: Buren, 1944a: 301. Raised to species and material of the unavailable name lutescens referred here: Creighton, 1950a: 535. Senior synonym of pruinosa: Francoeur, 1973: 84.
- pruinosa. Formica fusca subsp. pruinosa Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 548 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Raised to species: Creighton, 1950a: 538. Junior synonym of neoclara: Francoeur, 1973: 84.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
- Booher, D.B. 2021. The ant genus Strumigenys Smith, 1860 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in western North America north of Mexico. Zootaxa 5061, 201–248 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.5061.2.1).
- Borowiec, M.L., Cover, S.P., Rabeling, C. 2021. The evolution of social parasitism in Formica ants revealed by a global phylogeny. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, e2026029118 (doi:10.1073/pnas.2026029118).
- Buren, W. F. 1944a. A list of Iowa ants. Iowa State Coll. J. Sci. 18: 277-312 (page 301, Subspecies of fusca)
- Carroll, T.M. 2011. The ants of Indiana (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). M.S. thesis, Purdue University.
- Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 104: 1-585 (page 535, Raised to species, and material of the Unavailable name lutescens referred here)
- de la Mora, A., Sankovitz, M., Purcell, J. 2020. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) as host and intruder: recent advances and future directions in the study of exploitative strategies. Myrmecological News 30: 53-71 (doi:10.25849/MYRMECOL.NEWS_030:053).
- Emery, C. 1893k. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 7: 633-682 (page 661, worker described)
- Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 248, Combination in F. (Serviformica))
- Francoeur, A. 1973. Révision taxonomique des espèces néarctiques du groupe fusca, genre Formica (Formicidae, Hymenoptera). Mém. Soc. Entomol. Qué. 3: 1-316 (page 84, Senior synonym of pruinosa)
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Siddiqui, J. A., Li, J., Zou, X., Bodlah, I., Huang, X. 2019. Meta-analysis of the global diversity and spatial patterns of aphid-ant mutualistic relationships. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 17: 5471-5524 (doi:10.15666/aeer/1703_54715524).
- West, M., Purcell, J. 2020. Task partitioning in ants lacking discrete morphological worker subcastes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 74 (doi:10.1007/S00265-020-02845-W).
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 46: 126-171 (page 165, larva described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 53: 379-565 (page 509, queen, male described)
References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics
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- Allred, D.M. 1982. The ants of Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 42:415-511.
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- Buckell E. R. 1928. An annotated list of the ants of British Columbia. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 24: 30-34.
- Cover S. P., and R. A. Johnson. 20011. Checklist of Arizona Ants. Downloaded on January 7th at http://www.asu.edu/clas/sirgtools/AZants-2011%20updatev2.pdf
- Francoeur A., and R. R. Snelling. 1979. Notes for a revision of the ant genus Formica. 2. Reidentifications for some specimens from the T. W. Cook collection and new distribution data (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Contr. Sci. (Los Angel.) 309: 1-7.
- Francoeur, A. 1997. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Yukon. Pages 901 910 in H.V. Danks and J.A. Downes (Eds.), Insects of the Yukon. Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), Ottawa.
- Francoeur. A. 1973. Revision taxonomique des especes nearctiques du group fusca, genre Formica. Memoires de la Societe Entomologique du Quebec 3: 1-316.
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- Glasier, J. Alberta Ants. AntWeb.
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- Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at http://www.asu.edu/clas/sirgtools/resources.htm
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- Longino, J.T. 2010. Personal Communication. Longino Collection Database
- Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.
- Mackay, W., D. Lowrie, A. Fisher, E. Mackay, F. Barnes and D. Lowrie. 1988. The ants of Los Alamos County, New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). pages 79-131 in J.C. Trager, editor, Advances in Myrmecololgy.
- Michigan State University, The Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection. Accessed on January 7th 2014 at http://www.arc.ent.msu.edu:8080/collection/index.jsp
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- Wheeler J. N., G. C. Wheeler, R. J. Lavigne, T. A. Christiansen, and D. E. Wheeler. 2014. The ants of Yellowstone National Park. Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. 112 pages.
- Wheeler W. M. 1906. Fauna of New England. 7. List of the Formicidae. Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 7: 1-24
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