An ant of dry regions that nests in wet places such as salt marshes, bogs, and along the banks of watercourses.
Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - A member of the bergi complex of the scabrinodis species group that is most similar to Myrmica gallienii, differing from the latter by the shorter propodeal spines, lower petiole, darker colour, etc.; males differ by relatively longer scape.
Keys including this Species
- Key to Myrmica of East Europe, West Siberia, northern Kazakhstan, Caucasus, Asia Minor, Turkmenistan and Iran
- Key to Myrmica of Romania
- Key to Myrmica of the Middle Asian Mountains
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Although M. bergi is distributed in semi-arid and even arid regions, within these it dwells exclusively in intrazonal, damp and almost always salted habitats, where it can be very abundant locally. Arnoldi (1934: 161) states that it is "Characteristic for salty bogs". The populations of M. bergi from the steppe zone of southern Ukraine have been most studied (Bondar et al. 1998; Bondar 1999; Bondar, Rusina 2003; Stukalyuk, Radchenko 2008, and personal observations). Here it nests in the reed, sedge and grass associations that border the sea shore (salt marshes and lagoon shores) and surround the numerous salted lakes of differing sizes. Around salted lakes workers can be seen foraging over the caustic encrusted, white, salty deposits even in full sunshine. Nests are built shallowly in the soil but almost always have a large mound of soil above them in which the majority of ants live. Usually the mound is constructed around plant stalks, especially sedges, and in times of flooding the entire colony migrates up the stems where it can construct temporary nest high above the water level, covered with soil and pieces of vegetation (Bondar et ai. 1998), and the foraging workers actively swim, sometimes for several tens of meters. The other studies cited above have shown that colonies can be large and polygynous, containing several thousand workers, and in optimal conditions they can be polycalic comprising several tens of nests. Possibly this may be a local adaptation to high relatedness, it being probably that populations living around isolated lakes are quite inbred. We have seen small colonies nesting more typically in the soil (for scabrinodis-group.species), living in competition with other ant species in short moist, grazed grassland on the raised banks of the river Dnepr where flooding is less likely.
Tarbinsky (1976) studied M. bergi living in Kirgizia; he wrote (lac. cit., p. 46) that it "Lives up to altitude 1600 m, along river and stream banks, near Salix and Hippophae shrubs, or near Phragmites, in semi-shaded places. It nests in sandy soil, sometimes with small mounds, but usually without them. In the morning and evening ants forage on open sand but during the day, in shade under shrubs or Phragmites". In this respect it is quite similar to the Ukrainian populations. However, Tarbinsky (lac. cit.) also said that colonies are "quite large compared to other Myrmica species" (which agrees with our observations) "and monogynous" which is atypical for south Ukrainian populations. Ruzsky (1905) recorded that var. 'barchanica nested in sandy soils with rich vegetation, mainly Populus and Salix.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- bergi. Myrmica bergi Ruzsky, 1902b: 473 (w.) KAZAKHSTAN. [Also described as new by Ruzsky, 1902c: 12.] Ruzsky, 1905b: 676 (q.m.); Emery, 1908a: 172 (q.m.). Senior synonym of barchanica: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1839; of kamyschiensis, kirgisica: Seifert, 1988b: 11; of persiana: Radchenko, 1994e: 76. See also: Tarbinsky, 1976: 45; Radchenko, Elmes & Woyciechowski, 2002: 413; Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 101.
- kirgisica. Myrmica rugosa var. kirgisica Ruzsky, 1903b: 314 (w.) RUSSIA. Subspecies of bergi: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1839. Junior synonym of bergi: Seifert, 1988b: 11.
- barchanica. Myrmica bergi var. barchanica Ruzsky, 1905b: 678 (w.) RUSSIA. Junior synonym of bergi: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1839.
- fortior. Myrmica bergi var. fortior Crawley, 1920a: 163 (w.) IRAN. [Junior primary homonym of fortior Forel, above.] Replacement name: persiana Weber, 1947: 474.
- kamyschiensis. Myrmica kamyschiensis Arnol'di, 1934: 159, figs. 2, 3 (w.) UKRAINE. Karavaiev, 1936: 273 (q.). Subspecies of bergi: Karavaiev, 1936: 272. Junior synonym of bergi: Seifert, 1988b: 11.
- persiana. Myrmica bergi subsp. persiana Weber, 1947: 474. Replacement name for fortior Crawley, 1920a: 163. [Junior primary homonym of fortior Forel, 1904c: 22.] Junior synonym of bergi: Radchenko, 1994e: 76.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - this species was named for its collector, Prof. Lev Semenovich Berg, who was a distinguished Russian natural scientist, most famous for his work on marine biology and the theory of nomogenesis (the initials H. L. Berg in Ruzsky 1902b probably means "Herr L. Berg").
- Arnol'di, K. V. 1970b. Review of the ant genus Myrmica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the European part of the USSR. Zool. Zh. 4 49: 1829-1844 (page 1839, Senior synonym of barchanica)
- Czekes, Z.; Radchenko, A. G.; Csősz, S.; Szász-Len, A.; Tăuşan, I.; Benedek, K.; Markó, B. 2013. The genus Myrmica Latreille, 1804 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Romania: distribution of species and key for their identification. Entomologica Romanica 17:29-50. PDF
- Ebsen, J.R., Boomsma, J.J. & Nash, D.R. 2019. Phylogeography and cryptic speciation in the Myrmica scabrinodis Nylander, 1846 species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and their conservation implications. Insect Conservation and Diversity (DOI 10.1111/icad.12366).
- Emery, C. 1908a. Beiträge zur Monographie der Formiciden des paläarktischen Faunengebietes. Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1908: 165-205 (page 172, queen, male described)
- Radchenko, A. G. 1994f. Survey of the species of the scabrinodis group of the genus Myrmica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from central and eastern Palearctic. Zool. Zh. 73(9 9: 75-82 (page 76, Senior synonym of divergens and ersiana)
- Radchenko, A. G.; Elmes, G. W.; Woyciechowksi, M. 2002. An appraisal of Myrmica bergi Ruzsky, 1902 and related species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Zool. (Warsaw) 52: 409-421 (page 414, Lectotype designated; senior synonym of fortior, barchanica, kamyschiensis, kirgisica)
- Radchenko, A.G. & Elmes, G.W. 2010. Myrmica ants of the Old World. Fauna Mundi 3: 1-789.
- Ruzsky, M. 1902b. Neue Ameisen aus Russland. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 17: 469-484 (page 473, worker described)
- Ruzsky, M. 1902c. The ants of the vicinity of the Aral Sea. Izv. Turkest. Otd. Imp. Rus. Geogr. Obshch. 3(1 1: 1-24 (page 12, also described as new)
- Ruzsky, M. 1905b. The ants of Russia. (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Systematics, geography and data on the biology of Russian ants. Part I. Tr. Obshch. Estestvoispyt. Imp. Kazan. Univ. 38(4-6 6: 1-800 (page 676, queen, male described)
- Seifert, B. 1988b. A taxonomic revision of the Myrmica species of Europe, Asia Minor, and Caucasia (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Abh. Ber. Naturkundemus. Görlitz 62(3): 1-75 (page 11, Senior synonym of kamyschiensis and kirgisica)
- Tarbinsky, Y. S. 1976. The ants of Kirghizia. Frunze: Ilim, 217 pp. (page 45, see also)