Formica subpolita

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Formica subpolita
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. subpolita
Binomial name
Formica subpolita
Mayr, 1886

Formica subpolita casent0005377 profile 1.jpg

Formica subpolita casent0005377 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels



Keys including this Species


Western North America, south to Mexico.

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


Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986):

This species is found in abundance throughout the state from 4,300 ft. to 10,800 ft. (43% of the records 6,000-7,000 ft., 65% 6,000-8,000 ft., 93% 5,000-9,000 ft.). We have 204 records from 108 localities. Of these 64 were in the Cool Desert (2 in the cottonwood riparian), 51 in the Pinyon-Juniper Biome, 19 in the Coniferous Forest Biome, 8 from the ecotone above, and 5 in the Alpine Biome.

We have descriptions of 122 nests: 61 were under stones and 9 were under other objects lying on the ground; of the exposed nests 44 were surmounted by craters (4-10 cm in diameter with entrances 4-8 mm in diameter) and 8 by messy mounds of excavated soil. Colonies may be locally very numerous. Workers were timid and fast.

We have collected mealybugs from 3 nests (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae; det. D.R. Miller): Cryptoripersia tubulata McKenzie from Lamoille Canyon (9-32N-58) 7,000 ft. (Elko Co.) and from Mt. Jefferson 8,700 ft. (Nye Co.); Phenacoccus eschscholziae McKenzie from Carroll Summit (9-16N-38) 7,500 ft. (Lander Co.).

This species is a host for the ant Formica densiventris (a slave maker).

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


This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia formicarum (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).



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

  • subpolita. Formica fusca var. subpolita Mayr, 1886d: 426 (w.q.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 534 (m.). Combination in F. (Serviformica): Emery, 1925b: 251. Subspecies of gagates: Dalla Torre, 1893: 199; of fusca: Emery, 1893i: 661. Raised to species: Wheeler, W.M. 1908g: 625; Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 532. Senior synonym of flammiventris: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 532; Creighton, 1950a: 541; of camponoticeps, ficticia: Francoeur, 1973: 107.
  • rufiventris. Formica rufiventris Emery, 1893i: 665, pl. 22, fig. 11 (m.) U.S.A. [Junior primary homonym of rufiventris Fabricius, 1804: 409, above.] Replacement name: flammiventris Wheeler, W.M. 1912c: 90.
  • flammiventris. Formica flammiventris Wheeler, W.M. 1912c: 90. Replacement name for rufiventris Emery, 1893i: 665. [Junior primary homonym of rufiventris Fabricius, 1804: 409.] Junior synonym of subpolita: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 532.
  • camponoticeps. Formica subpolita var. camponoticeps Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 535 (w.) U.S.A. Subspecies of subpolita: Creighton, 1950a: 542. Junior synonym of subpolita: Francoeur, 1973: 107.
  • ficticia. Formica subpolita var. ficticia Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 561 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Subspecies of subpolita: Creighton, 1950a: 542. Junior synonym of subpolita: Francoeur, 1973: 107.

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


Francoeur 1973. Figures 166-181.