Formica occulta

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Formica occulta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. occulta
Binomial name
Formica occulta
Francoeur, 1973

Formica occulta casent0102798 profile 1.jpg

Formica occulta casent0102798 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Nests are usually found under stones, but may be located under logs, or simply in the soil, in fine sand, loam soils, to rocky loam. All nests had only a single gyne. They are very fast, and rescue brood when the nest is disturbed. Workers from larger nests are moderately aggressive. Black or nearly black, with abundant appressed pilosity. The pilose lobes on the metasternum are always developed and surrounded with abundant, erect hairs. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

At a Glance • Polygynous  


Black or nearly black, with abundant appressed pilosity. The pilose lobes on the metasternum are always developed and surrounded with abundant, erect hairs. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Keys including this Species


United States: Oregan, Wyoming, Utah, Colorada, Arizona and New Mexico. Mexico, Chihuahua.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 45.25° to 31.488986°.

Tropical South

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

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.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Pinyon-juniper, sagebrush communities, oak forests, ponderosa pine-riparian; aspen, fir, spruce, and residential areas.


For New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay, 2002) - Brood was found in nests from June to August, sexuals in late June to July. Dealate females were collected in late June and early July. A mating flight occurred the night of 12-vii-1986, sexuals were attracted to a blacklight trap. Dealate females were found in August, two new females were found nesting together (two separate times, one with brood present). One colony was nesting together with Lasius sitiens, a second nest was together with Myrmica hamulata, another with Formica lasioides, a fourth with Solenopsis salina. One nest also contained Lasius latipes, Lasius sitiens and Myrmica hamulata. It is a host of the cricket Myrmecophila sp.

Association with Other Organisms

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This species is a host for the slave-making ants Formica puberula, Polyergus breviceps and Polyergus mexicanus (as Formica cf. occulta).

Life History Traits

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



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

  • occulta. Formica occulta Francoeur, 1973: 94, figs. 132-147 (w.q.m.) U.S.A.

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


Francoeur 1973. Figures 132-147.


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.
  • 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.
  • Francoeur. A. 1973. Revision taxonomique des especes nearctiques du group fusca, genre Formica. Memoires de la Societe Entomologique du Quebec 3: 1-316.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • 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.
  • Nielsen, M.G. 1986. Respiratory rates of ants from different climatic areas. Journal of Insect Physiology 32(2): 125-131
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • 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.