Lasius bicornis

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Lasius bicornis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Lasius
Section: flavus clade
Species group: umbratus
Species: L. bicornis
Binomial name
Lasius bicornis
(Foerster, 1850)

Lasius bicornis casent0280461 p 1 high.jpg

Lasius bicornis casent0280461 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


This species exhibits temporary social parasitism (although its host is currently unknown). Queens found new colonies by infiltrating an established nest of another Lasius species, killing the queen and using host workers to care for her initial brood.

At a Glance • Temporary parasite  


A rare Eurasian species somewhat similar in habitus to North American species Lasius minutus but showing profound differences in the petiolar outline and pilosity. (Wilson 1955)

Worker clear citron yellow. Funiculus segments not longer than broad; scape distinctly flattened. Outline of petiole characteristic: high, tapering dorsally with a deep emargination. Body hairs long, longest hairs nearly as long as maximum hind tibial width, sparse on dorsum of gaster where restricted to posterior borders of tergites; genal hairs sparse, scapes and tibiae bare. Length: 4.0-4.5 mm (Collingwood 1979).

Keys including this Species


Central and South Europe from Pyrenees and Caucasus but also recorded from Himalayas (Kashmir), South Italy to Netherlands; uncommon (Collingwood 1979).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 59.2113° to 34.616667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India.
Palaearctic Region: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany (type locality), Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.

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.


This species nests in rotten logs. Alatae have been taken in September (Poldi, 1962).

Flight Period

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


Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png 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 host for the ant Lasius fuliginosus (a temporary parasite) (de la Mora et al., 2021; Seifert, 2018).


Images from AntWeb

Lasius bicornis casent0903211 d 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0903211 p 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0903211 h 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0903211 l 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0903211 p 2 high.jpg
Holotype of Acanthomyops bicornis kashmirensisQueen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0903211. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMUK, London, UK.
Lasius bicornis casent0905680 p 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0905680 h 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0905680 d 1 high.jpgLasius bicornis casent0905680 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Lasius bicornis neapolitanaQueen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0905680. Photographer Z. Lieberman, 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.

  • bicornis. Formica bicornis Foerster, 1850a: 41 (q.) GERMANY. Forel, 1874: 47 (w.); Forel, 1915d: 56 (m.). Combination in Lasius: Mayr, 1861: 51; in Formicina: Emery, 1916b: 242; Menozzi, 1918: 87; in Acanthomyops: Ruzsky, 1925b: 45; in Lasius (Chthonolasius): Ruzsky, 1914a: 61; Emery, 1925b: 232; Wilson, 1955a: 183. Subspecies of umbratus: Forel, 1874: 47; Emery & Forel, 1879: 453; Mayr, 1886d: 430; Forel, 1886f: 208; Forel, 1904b: 387; Bondroit, 1910: 485. Status as species: André, 1882b: 196; Ruzsky, 1902d: 15; Bondroit, 1912: 352; Emery, 1916b: 242; Bondroit, 1918: 34; Emery, 1922b: 13; Karavaiev, 1927c: 279; Stärcke, 1937: 55; Stitz, 1939: 302; Wilson, 1955a: 183; Bernard, 1967: 365; Kutter, 1977c: 231; Collingwood, 1982: 293; Seifert, 1988: 161; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 251. Senior synonym of incisa: Smith, F. 1858b: 8; Emery, 1922b: 13; Seifert, 1988: 161; of microgyna: Vandel, 1926: 197; Wilson, 1955a: 183; of kashmirensis, neapolitana, oertzeni: Wilson, 1955a: 183.
  • incisa. Formica incisa Schenck, 1852: 63 (w.) GERMANY. Junior synonym of bicornis: Smith, F. 1858b: 8; Emery, 1922b: 13; Seifert, 1988: 161.
  • oertzeni. Lasius bicornis subsp. oertzeni Forel, 1910a: 26 (w.q.m.) GREECE. Combination in L. (Chthonolasius): Emery, 1925b: 233. Raised to species: Stärcke, 1937: 56. Junior synonym of bicornis: Wilson, 1955a: 183.
  • microgyna. Formicina microgyna Bondroit, 1918: 33, figs. 16, 17 (q.m.) FRANCE. Combination in Lasius (Chthonolasius): Emery, 1925b: 233. Subspecies of bicornis: Emery, 1925b: 233; Stärcke, 1937: 56. Junior synonym of bicornis: Vandel, 1926: 197; Wilson, 1955a: 183.
  • neapolitana. Lasius bicornis var. neapolitana Emery, 1922b: 13 (q.) ITALY. Junior synonym of bicornis: Wilson, 1955a: 183.
  • kashmirensis. Acanthomyops (Chthonolasius) bicornis subsp. kashmirensis Donisthorpe, 1930a: 225 (q.m.) INDIA. Junior synonym of bicornis: Wilson, 1955a: 183.

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



Wilson (1955) – Based on a single oertzeni syntype and an unlabeled worker in the Mayr Collection.

(1) PW of oertzeni syntype 0.68 mm., Mayr specimen 0.79 mm., well within range of Lasius umbratus size variation.

(2) Body hair longer than in umbratus-rabaudi but shorter and finer than in minutus. In both available specimens the dorsal gastric hairs average about 0.09 mm, and do not exceed 0.14 mm,; the maximum width of the hind tibia at its midlength commonly used in the present study as a reference measurement, is 0.16 mm, The cephalic and gastric hairs of these specimens are sparser than in minutus. The number of hairs extending beyond the profile of the first gastric segment anterior to the extreme posterior strip and seen in perfect side view is 17 in the oertzeni syntype and only 6 in the Mayr specimen; 30 or more is usual for minutus, umbratus-rabaudi, and subumbratus.

(3) Petiolar outline in the oertzeni syntype similar to that described for the queen (Pl. 2, Fig. 3); emargination somewhat more shallow in the Mayr specimen.

(4) Scape flattened to the extent seen in extreme rabaudi workers. oertzeni syntype: maximum width at scape midlength 0.11 mm., minimum width 0.06 mm. Mayr specimen; maximum width 0.12 mm., minimum width 0.07 mm.


Wilson (1955) - (1) Smaller than umbratus but considerably larger than minutus. HW of oertzeni lectotype 1.34 mm.; microgyna lectotype 1.25 mm., syntopotypes 1.24 and 1.26 mm., Saint Sever "syntypes" 1.22 and 1.29 mm. ; a queen from the Taurus Mountains, Turkey (Berlin Museum), 1.34 mm. (measured by H. Bischoff).

(2) Long standing hairs abundant over the alitrunk, approaching the minutus condition, but sparser on the head and gastric tergites. In full face, the number of hairs projecting beyond the occipital contour is 4 in the oertzeni lectotype, 6 in the microgyna lectotype, 5 and 7 in the microgyna syntopotypes, and 6 and 7 in the Saint Sever specimens; the number in minutus is commonly 30 or more. In perfect side view, the first gastric tergite of the oertzeni lectotype shows only 15 standing hairs projecting beyond its profile, the microgyna lectotype 12, and microgyna syntopotypes 10 and 14, the St. Sever specimens 13 and 15, and a specimen from Hanau (Berlin Museum) 7; the typical number for minutus is 25 or more. In bicornis the pilosity of the first gastric tergite is limited mostly to the anterior slope and extreme posterior strip; in minutus it is evenly distributed over all of the tergital surface except for the anteriormost part of the anterior slope. The body hairs are proportionately shorter than in minutus. The longest hairs of the first and second gastric segments shorter than the maximum width of the hind tibia at its midlength (in the oertzeni lectotype, for instance, maximum hair length is 0.17 mm., tibia width is 0.21 mm.). At the same time, bicornis resembles minutus in having the scapes and legs completely bare of hairs except for a few scattered along the flexor margins of the femora.

(3) The petiole in frontal view slender, tapering dorsally; deeply emarginate, so that the depth of the emargination measured from the level of the bicornuate dorsal crest to the bottom of the emargination is distinctly greater than the width of the emargination taken across the midpoint of the depth measurement (Pl. 2, Fig. 2).

(4) Scapes flattened as in rabaudi; in the oertzeni lectotype, the maximum width at the midpoint is 0.14 mm., the minimum width only 0.07 mm. .At the same time, the funicular segments are not elongated as in rabaudi; third funicular segment length in oertzeni lectotype 0.11 mm., width 0.10 mm.

(5) As in minutus, the mandibles more massive relative to the remainder of the head and set farther apart from the midline when compared with umbratus.

Type Material

Wilson (1955) - HOLOTYPE. Dr. Bischoff has informed me that the unique type of bicornis is not with the Foerster Collection in the Berlin Museum, and it has not been found among the Foerster material in the Mayr Collection. Fortunately, the original description adequately covers the essential diagnostic features in petiole shape and pilosity of this distinctive species, and there can be little doubt that the name has been correctly applied in the present study.


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