In North America, this ant abounds in boreal and cold-temperate habitats where it nests in rotten logs and stumps and under stones in forests. In northern Maine and eastern Canada, it is collected commonly in agricultural fields. Like Lasius americanus, L. pallitarsis is a generalist omnivore: it eats plant debris and other small insects, and tends aphids and other scale insects for their honeydew. It is the host of the temporary social parasites Lasius minutus, Lasius umbratus and Lasius subumbratus (Ellison et al., 2012).
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
- 7 References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics
Ellison et al. (2012) - The large-eyed Lasius pallitarsis can be confused with any of the other three species in the niger group: Lasius neoniger, Lasius americanus or Lasius niger. The key distinguishing feature is that L. pallitarsis has a clearly defined offset, short, and upturned basal tooth on its mandible. This offset tooth is best seen in full-face view with the mandibles open, but if you can’t open the mandibles, count the teeth you can see. If you only see six (and the offset, seventh one is hidden under the clypeus), it is likely you have L. pallitarsis. (Ellison et al., 2012)
Keys including this Species
- Key to Lasius Nearctic workers with long maxillary palpi
- Key to Lasius males
- Key to Lasius queens
- Key to New England Lasius
- Key to North American Lasius Species
This species ranges from eastern Québec across Canada to southeastern Alaska, south to Massachusetts in the east, and south through the mountains of California and the west. A single record exists from the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. (Ellison et al., 2012)
Latitudinal Distribution Pattern
Latitudinal Range: 59.390556° to 26.439606°.
- Source: AntMaps
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
On Sable Island in Nova Scotia I have found Lasius pallitarsis associated with (Eriosomatini) Forda formicaria von Heyden, 1837. This introduced Palearctic aphid is an obligate myrmecophile which is found on the roots of grasses, and in this case was found on marram grass (Ammophila breviligulata). F. formicaria in Europe is most commonly associated with Lasius flavus but will also be found associated with Lasius niger if L. flavus is not present. (reported by Christopher Majka, 2020)
Wilson (1955) reported the following biological information under the synonymized name Lasius sitkaensis:
My own studies of sitkaensis in the field, combined with abundant field notes supplied me by A. C. Cole, Kenneth Kraft, G. C. Wheeler, and others, show that this species is primarily a forest dweller, nesting in rotting logs and stumps and under stones. It penetrates forest clearings secondarily and is abundant, at least locally, in the almost treeless plains of central and western North Dakota (P. B. Kannowski, Joe Davis, R. P. Uhlmann; material in G. C. Wheeler ColI. and UMMZ) and southern Idaho (A. C. Cole). In the latter situation it usually nests under stones but occasionally constructs irregular soil craters removed from any ground cover. At Moscow Mountain, Idaho, I found hundreds of nests in rotting wood and under stones within the forest margin, but only one associated with a crater in open soil. In Itasca State Park, Minn., Kraft found six colonies associated with craters, out of sixteen collected. Cole, in collecting Lasius from a wide diversity of habitats in New Mexico, took sitkaensis most consistently under stones in moist, shaded soil. At Cloudcroft, New Mexico, and the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona, I found the species most abundant well back in the shaded portions of the forest, nesting almost exclusively under stones. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, however, sitkaensis populations are densest nesting under stones in overgrown meadows on the lower slopes, and are less abundant under stones in the adjacent spruce-fir-larch forest.
Local populations of sitkaensis and its relatives Lasius neoniger, Lasius americanus, and Lasius crypticus are often spectacularly dense. It seems inevitable that some amount of interspecific competition must result, and it is therefore not surprising to find a tendency for these species to replace one another ecologically where they occur together. Near Bemidji, in central Minnesota, I found sitkaensis in a deciduous woodlot nesting in rotting logs and stumps, a niche usually occupied by americanus in localities farther east where sitkaensis is rare or absent. neoniqer prevailed in adjacent open areas. At Kiowa, Montana, sitkaensis again seemed to replace americanus in deciduous woods; crypticus was abundant in an adjacent subalpine meadow, while neoniger, its nearest ecological equivalent, was absent. At Moscow Mountain and Cloudcroft, sitkaensis occurred in exceedingly large numbers, apparently to the exclusion of other members of the subgenus.
The food habits of sitkaensis are evidently generalized. Kannowski (in litt.) has found workers on several occasions associated with aphids in galleries under rocks, while at Moscow Mountain I observed workers carrying dead and crippled insects back to their nests during the early part of the night. A colony maintained under observation at the Harvard Biological Laboratories for nearly two years has readily accepted both honey and dead and crippled insects.
Winged forms have been taken in the nests from July 4 (Neche, Pembina Co., N. Dak.; E. L. Krause leg.; G. C. Wheeler Coll.) and July 7 (Cloudcroft, N. Mex., W. M. Wheeler leg.; MCZ) to September 24 (Lodema, Pembina Co., N. Dak.; Krause leg.; G. C. Wheeler Coll.). The great majority of in nido records are from August. G. C. 'Wheeler took pairs flying in copula at Marblehead, Mass., on September 3, 1927, and N. A. Weber took a pair in copula at Towner, McHenry Co., N. Dak., on August 18, 1927 (both G. C. Wheeler Coll.). Eidmann (1933) observed nuptial flights of "americanus" (probably the sitkaensis already referred to) in the Matamek region of Quebec on September 4. Borys Malkin found stray dealate queens at Wrangell, Alaska, in the first week of August.
In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - The most common species in the state. Occurs in grasslands to tundra, pinyon-juniper, especially common in ponderosa pine, ponderosa pine-riparian, pine aspen, fir forests, and Douglas fir, up to 2700 meters elevation. Nests are located under stones or under logs, under cow manure, in sandy or rocky loam soils. One colony was inside and under the bark of a rotten log, another in a stump and under the bark. Brood was present in nests from May to September, reproductives were found in nests from late July to late August. Flights occurred at night on 12-vii-1986 (black light trap) and between 8:00 and 9:00 and again between 18:00 and 19:00 on 6-viii-1982 at a single site (12 mi. NE Jémez Springs). This species is the host of Lasius subumbratus, of Solenopsis validiuscula and of the syrphid fly genus Microdon. One colony was nesting together with Crematogaster punctulata, one each with Formica lasioides, and [[Formica argentea, another with Tapinoma sessile, two with Myrmica hamulata, and three colonies were with Myrmica fracticornis. It is a host of the cricket, Myrmecophila sp. This is also a house infesting species. It is a very common ant in New Mexico, especially abundant near Bonito Lake in southern New Mexico.
This taxon is a host for the fungi Aegeritella tuberculata and Laboulbenia formicarum (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).
Life History Traits
- Queen number: monogynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.
- pallitarsis. Formica pallitarsis Provancher, 1881b: 355 (w.m.) CANADA. [Also described as new by Provancher, 1883: 598.] Hung, 1969: 456 (k.). Combination in Lasius: André, 1887: 288. Junior synonym of alienus: André, 1887: 288; Wilson, 1955a: 77. Revived from synonymy and senior synonym of sitkaensis: Francoeur & Béique, 1966: 144. See also: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1437.
- sitkaensis. Lasius niger subsp. sitkaensis Pergande, 1900: 519 (w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 525 (q.m.). Junior synonym of neoniger: Creighton, 1950a: 420. Revived from synonymy and raised to species: Wilson, 1955a: 36. Junior synonym of pallitarsis: Francoeur & Béique, 1966: 144.
- 2n = 28 (USA) (Hung, 1969) (as Lasius pallitarsus).
- Corbet, P. S. and G. L. Ayre. 1968. Swarming and mating in the ant, Lasius sitkaensis Pergande. Canadian Field Naturalist. 82:230-231.
- Corbet, P. S. and G. L. Ayre. 1969. Swarming and mating in the ant, Lasius sitkaensis Pergande: further remarks. Canadian Field Naturalist. 83(3):285-286.
- Ellison, A.M., Gotelli, N.J., Farnsworht, E.J., Alpert, G.D. 2012. A Field Guide to the Ants of New England. Yale University Press, 256 pp.
- Espadaler, X., Santamaria, S. 2012. Ecto- and Endoparasitic Fungi on Ants from the Holarctic Region. Psyche Article ID 168478, 10 pages (doi:10.1155/2012/168478).
- Higgins, R. J. and B. S. Lindgren. 2015. Seral changes in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) assemblages in the sub-boreal forests of British Columbia. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 8:337-347. doi:10.1111/icad.12112
- Kannowski, P. B. 1956. The ants of Ramsey County, North Dakota. American Midland Naturalist. 56:168-185.
- Kannowski, P. B. 1969. Nuptial flights of the ant, Lasius pallitarsis. Canadian Field Naturalist. 83(3):283-285.
- Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
- Nonacs, P. 1990. Size and kinship affect success of co-founding Lasius pallitarsis queens. Psyche. 97:217-228.
- Nonacs, P. 1991. Exploratory behavior of Lasius pallitarsis ants encountering novel areas. Insectes Sociaux. 38:345-349.
- Nonacs, P. 1992. Queen condition and alate density affect pleometrosis in the ant Lasius pallitarsis. Insectes Sociaux. 39:3-13.
- Nonacs, P. and L. M. Dill. 1988. Foraging response of the ant Lasius pallitarsis to food sources with associated mortality risk. Insectes Sociaux. 35(3):293-303.
- Plowes, N.J.R., Johnson, R.A., Holldobler, B. 2013. Foraging behavior in the ant genus Messor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Myrmecological News 18, 33-49.
- Wilson, E. O. 1955a. A monographic revision of the ant genus Lasius. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 113:1-201.
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.
- Blacker, N.C. 1992. Some Ants from Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. J. Entomol. Soc. Bri. Columbia 89:3-12.
- Blacker, N.C. 1992. Some ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 89:3-12
- Blades, D.C.A. and S.A. Marshall. Terrestrial arthropods of Canadian Peatlands: Synopsis of pan trap collections at four southern Ontario peatlands. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 169:221-284
- Borchert, H.F. and N.L. Anderson. 1973. The Ants of the Bearpaw Mountains of Montana (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 46(2):200-224
- Carroll T. M. 2011. The ants of Indiana (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Master's Thesis Purdue university, 385 pages.
- Choate B., and F. A. Drummond. 2012. Ant Diversity and Distribution (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Throughout Maine Lowbush Blueberry Fields in Hancock and Washington Counties. Environ. Entomol. 41(2): 222-232.
- Choate B., and F. A. Drummond. 2013. The influence of insecticides and vegetation in structuring Formica Mound ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Maine lowbush blueberry. Environ. Entomol. 41(2): 222-232.
- Clark A. T., J. J. Rykken, and B. D. Farrell. 2011. The Effects of Biogeography on Ant Diversity and Activity on the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts, U.S.A. PloS One 6(11): 1-13.
- Cole A. C., Jr. 1937. An annotated list of the ants of Arizona (Hym.: Formicidae). [concl.]. Entomological News 48: 134-140.
- Cole A. C., Jr. 1942. The ants of Utah. American Midland Naturalist 28: 358-388.
- Cole, A.C. 1936. An annotated list of the ants of Idaho (Hymenoptera; Formicidae). Canadian Entomologist 68(2):34-39
- Collingwood C. A. 1962. Some ants (Hym. Formicidae) from north-east Asia. Entomologisk Tidskrift 83: 215-230.
- Coovert, G.A. 2005. The Ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Ohio Biological Survey Bulletin New Series Volume 15(2):1-196
- Cover S. P., and R. A. Johnson. 20011. Checklist of Arizona Ants. Downloaded on January 7th at http://www.asu.edu/clas/sirgtools/AZants-2011%20updatev2.pdf
- Del Toro, I. 2010. PERSONAL COMMUNICATION. MUSEUM RECORDS COLLATED BY ISRAEL DEL TORO
- Downing H., and J. Clark. 2018. Ant biodiversity in the Northern Black Hills, South Dakota (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 91(2): 119-132.
- Drummond F. A., A. M. llison, E. Groden, and G. D. Ouellette. 2012. The ants (Formicidae). In Biodiversity of the Schoodic Peninsula: Results of the Insect and Arachnid Bioblitzes at the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, Maine. Maine Agricultural and forest experiment station, The University of Maine, Technical Bulletin 206. 217 pages
- Ellison A. M., and E. J. Farnsworth. 2014. Targeted sampling increases knowledge and improves estimates of ant species richness in Rhode Island. Northeastern Naturalist 21(1): NENHC-13NENHC-24.
- Glasier J. R. N., S. E. Nielsen, J. Acorn, and J. Pinzon. 2019. Boreal sand hills are areas of high diversity for Boreal ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Diversity 11, 22; doi:10.3390/d11020022.
- Gregg, R.T. 1963. The Ants of Colorado.
- Hoey-Chamberlain R. V., L. D. Hansen, J. H. Klotz and C. McNeeley. 2010. A survey of the ants of Washington and Surrounding areas in Idaho and Oregon focusing on disturbed sites (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology. 56: 195-207
- Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at http://www.asu.edu/clas/sirgtools/resources.htm
- 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.
- Lesica P., and P. B. Kannowski. 1998. Ants Create Hummocks and Alter Structure and Vegetation of a Montana Fen. Am. Midl. Nat. 139: 5868
- Lidgren, B.S. and A.M. MacIsaac. 2002. A Preliminary Study of Ant Diversity and of Ant Dependence on Dead Wood in Central Interior British Columbia. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-181.
- Lindgren, B.S. and A.M. MacIsaac. 2002. Ant dependence on dead wood in Central Interior British Columbia. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep.PSW-GTR-181
- 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.
- Mackay, W.P. and E. Mackay. XXXX. The Ants of New Mexico
- Mallis A. 1941. A list of the ants of California with notes on their habits and distribution. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 40: 61-100.
- Merle W. W. 1939. An Annotated List of the Ants of Maine (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological News. 50: 161-165
- Nonacs, P. 1992. Queen condition and alate density affect pleometrosis in the ant Lasius pallitarsis. Insectes Sociaux 39:3-13
- Ouellette G. D. and A. Francoeur. 2012. Formicidae [Hymenoptera] diversity from the Lower Kennebec Valley Region of Maine. Journal of the Acadian Entomological Society 8: 48-51
- Ouellette G. D., F. A. Drummond, B. Choate and E. Groden. 2010. Ant diversity and distribution in Acadia National Park, Maine. Environmental Entomology 39: 1447-1556
- Parson G. L., G Cassis, A. R. Moldenke, J. D. Lattin, N. H. Anderson, J. C. Miller, P. Hammond, T. Schowalter. 1991. Invertebrates of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, western Cascade Range, Oregon. V: An annotated list of insects and other arthropods. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-290. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 168 p.
- Piers H. 1922. List of a small collection of ants (Formicidae) obtained in Queen's County, Nova Scotia, by the late Walter H. Prest. Proceedings and Transactions of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science, 15(4), 169-173.
- Powell, J.M. 1971. The arthropod fauna collected from the comandra blister rust, Cronartium comandrae, on lodgepole pine in Alberta. Canadian Entomologist 103:908-918
- Prest W. H., and H. Piers. 1922. List of a Small Collection of Ants (Formicidae) obtained in Queen's County, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotian Institute of Science 15(4): 169-173.
- Procter W. 1938. Biological survey of the Mount Desert Region. Part VI. The insect fauna. Philadelphia: Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, 496 pp.
- Ratchford, J.S., S.E. Wittman, E.S. Jules, A.M. Ellison, N.J. Gotelli and N.J. Sanders. 2005. The effects of fire, local environment and time on ant assemblages in fens and forests. Diversity and Distributions 11:487-497.
- Rees D. M., and A. W. Grundmann. 1940. A preliminary list of the ants of Utah. Bulletin of the University of Utah, 31(5): 1-12.
- Sharplin, J. 1966. An annotated list of the Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Central and Southern Alberta. Quaetiones Entomoligcae 2:243-253
- Shik, J., A. Francoeur and C. Buddle. 2005. The effect of human activity on ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) richness at the Mont St. Hilaire Biosphere Reserve, Quebec. Canadian Field-Naturalist 119(1): 38-42.
- Smith F. 1941. A list of the ants of Washington State. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 17(1): 23-28.
- Talbot M. 1976. A list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Edwin S. George Reserve, Livingston County, Michigan. Great Lakes Entomologist 8: 245-246.
- Varady-Szabo, H. 2004. Spiders and Ants Associated with Fallen Logs in Forillon National Park of Canada, Quebec. Masters Thesis, MgGill University, Montreal, Canada
- Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
- Wheeler G. C., J. N. Wheeler, and P. B. Kannowski. 1994. Checklist of the ants of Michigan (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The Great Lakes Entomologist 26(4): 297-310
- 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. 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. 1978. Mountain ants of Nevada. Great Basin Naturalist 35(4):379-396
- 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
- Wheeler, G.C., J. Wheeler and P.B. Kannowski. 1994. CHECKLIST OF THE ANTS OF MICHIGAN (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE). Great Lakes Entomologist 26:1:297-310
- Wheeler, G.C., J. Wheeler, T.D. Galloway and G.L. Ayre. 1989. A list of the ants of Manitoba. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Manitoba 45:34-49
- Wilson E. O. 1955. A monographic revision of the ant genus Lasius. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 113: 1-201
- Wing M. W. 1939. An annotated list of the ants of Maine (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomological News 50:161-165.