Formica obscuriventris

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Formica obscuriventris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species group: rufa
Species: F. obscuriventris
Binomial name
Formica obscuriventris
Mayr, 1870



Specimen Label


This species nests under logs or stones, usually partially covered with thatch. It is a host for the slave-makers Formica pergandei and Formica rubicunda.

Photo Gallery

  • Foraging worker. Photo by Tom Murray.
  • Colony under a stone. Photo by Gary D. Alpert.
  • Workers tending Chaitophorus aphids on a poplar sapling, Door Co. Wisconsin. Photo by James Trager.


Keys including this Species


Southern Canada and New England southward to Virginia and thence westward to the Pacific.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 54.39972222° to 34.156971°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: Canada, United States (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.


Syrphidae in the genus Microdon are predators on ant brood within the nest.

Microdon pupal case - Photo by Gary D. Alpert

Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - Our 48 records are widely scattered in that part of the state north of the Hot Desert boundary (with 1 exception); they represent 39 localities; 5,600-10,000 ft. Nine of these records were from the Cool Desert, 8 from the Pinyon-Juniper Biome, 6 from the Coniferous Forest, and 1 from the Alpine Biome. Our remarks about the nest of Formica obscuripes apply to F. obscuriventris but the latter seemed to produce more variants. The same applied to behavior, except that F. obscuriventris was more prone to send out foraging columns. Formica obscuriventris was found tending the aphid, Aphis filifoliae (Homoptera: Aphididae; det. L.M. Russell), on Pinus monophylla at Lehman Caves Nat. Mon., White Pine Co., 6,800 ft.

Nest site selected in areas of moderate to sparse cover. Nest begun under log or stone with many of the passages running into the soil. Moderate use made of thatching, often little of this visible on the outside of the nest. Large domes or heaps of thatching rarely produced (Creighton, 1940).

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the cricket Myrmecophilus pergandei (a myrmecophile) in United States.
  • This species is a host for the braconid wasp Elasmosoma michaeli (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • This species is a host for the braconid wasp Elasmosoma sp. (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • 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 piperi (a predator) (Quevillon, 2018).

Flight Period

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


Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



Images from AntWeb

Formica obscuriventris casent0104769 head 1.jpgFormica obscuriventris casent0104769 profile 1.jpgFormica obscuriventris casent0104769 dorsal 1.jpgFormica obscuriventris casent0104769 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0104769. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by UCDC, Davis, CA, USA.


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

  • obscuriventris. Formica truncicola var. obscuriventris Mayr, 1870b: 951 (w.) U.S.A.
    • Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 446 (q.m.).
    • Subspecies of rufa: Mayr, 1886d: 426; Emery, 1893i: 649; Wheeler, W.M. 1906b: 16; Wheeler, W.M. 1908f: 623; Wheeler, W.M. 1908g: 408; Creighton, 1940a: 1, 8 (in key); Smith, M.R. 1951a: 870.
    • Subspecies of truncicola: Dalla Torre, 1893: 214; Wheeler, W.M. 1913c: 116; Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 445 (redescription); Wheeler, W.M. 1916m: 597; Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 540; Wheeler, W.M. 1917i: 464.
    • Status as species: Creighton, 1950a: 493; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1460; Allred, 1982: 472; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1986g: 84; Bolton, 1995b: 200; Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 358; Coovert, 2005: 150; Ellison, et al. 2012: 166.
    • Senior synonym of dryas: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 446.
    • Senior synonym of gymnomma: Creighton, 1950a: 493.
    • Senior synonym of clivia: Shattuck & Cover, 2016: 16.
  • clivia. Formica rufa subsp. clivia Creighton, 1940a: 8, 8 (in key), fig. 1 (w.q.m.) U.S.A.
    • Subspecies of rufa: Cole, 1942: 380; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 868.
    • Subspecies of obscuriventris: Creighton, 1950a: 494; Cole, 1954c: 165; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1460; Bolton, 1995b: 193; Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 358.
    • Junior synonym of obscuriventris: Shattuck & Cover, 2016: 16.
  • dryas. Formica dryas Wheeler, W.M. 1905c: 268 (w.q.) U.S.A.
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1906b: 17.
    • Junior synonym of obscuriventris: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 446.
  • gymnomma. Formica dryas var. gymnomma Wheeler, W.M. 1905c: 269 (w.) U.S.A.
    • Subspecies of dryas: Wheeler, W.M. 1906b: 17.
    • Subspecies of rufa: Creighton, 1940a: 3, 8 (in key); Smith, M.R. 1951a: 868.
    • Junior synonym of obscuriventris: Creighton, 1950a: 493; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1461.

Type Material



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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