Formica neoclara

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Formica neoclara
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. neoclara
Binomial name
Formica neoclara
Emery, 1893

Formica neoclara casent0005370 profile 1.jpg

Formica neoclara casent0005370 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


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


Western North America from Yukon Territory, Canada south to northern Mexico.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 61.05° to 31.92°.

Tropical South

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

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.


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

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  • 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

Formica neoclara casent0102157 head 1.jpgFormica neoclara casent0102157 profile 1.jpgFormica neoclara casent0102157 dorsal 1.jpgFormica neoclara casent0102157 label 1.jpg
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.


Francoeur 1973. Figures 114-129.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Allred D. M. 1982. Ants of Utah. The Great Basin Naturalist 42: 415-511.
  • Allred, D.M. 1982. The ants of Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 42:415-511.
  • Beck D. E., D. M. Allred, W. J. Despain. 1967. Predaceous-scavenger ants in Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 27: 67-78
  • Bestelmeyer B. T., and J. A. Wiens. 2001. Local and regional-scale responses of ant diversity to a semiarid biome transition. Ecography 24: 381-392.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Glasier J. R. N., S. Nielsen, J. H. Acorn, L. H. Borysenko, and T. Radtke. 2016. A checklist of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Saskatchewan. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 130(1): 40-48.
  • Glasier, J. Alberta Ants. AntWeb.
  • Gregg, R.T. 1963. The Ants of Colorado.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Kannowski P. B. 1956. The ants of Ramsey County, North Dakota. American Midland Naturalist 56(1): 168-185.
  • Knowlton G. F. 1970. Ants of Curlew Valley. Proceedings of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 47(1): 208-212.
  • La Rivers I. 1968. A first listing of the ants of Nevada. Biological Society of Nevada, Occasional Papers 17: 1-12.
  • Lavigne R., and T. J. Tepedino. 1976. Checklist of the insects in Wyoming. I. Hymenoptera. Agric. Exp. Sta., Univ. Wyoming Res. J. 106: 24-26.
  • Longino J. T., and D. B. Booher. 2019. Expect the unexpected: a new ant from a backyard in Utah. Western North American Naturalist 79(4): 496–499.
  • 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
  • O'Keefe S. T., J. L. Cook, T. Dudek, D. F. Wunneburger, M. D. Guzman, R. N. Coulson, and S. B. Vinson. 2000. The Distribution of Texas Ants. The Southwestern Entomologist 22: 1-92.
  • Sharplin, J. 1966. An annotated list of the Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Central and Southern Alberta. Quaetiones Entomoligcae 2:243-253
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Wheeler G. C., and E. W. Wheeler. 1944. Ants of North Dakota. North Dakota Historical Quarterly 11:231-271.
  • Wheeler G. C., and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp.
  • Wheeler G. C., and J. Wheeler. 1987. A Checklist of the Ants of South Dakota. Prairie Nat. 19(3): 199-208.
  • 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
  • Wheeler W. M. 1913. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 53: 379-565.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1917. The mountain ants of western North America. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 52: 457-569.
  • Wheeler, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1985. A checklist of Texas ants. Prairie Naturalist 17:49-64.
  • Wheeler, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1988. A checklist of the ants of Montana. Psyche 95:101-114
  • Wheeler, G.C. and J. Wheeler. 1988. A checklist of the ants of Wyoming. Insecta Mundi 2(3&4):230-239