Myrmica gallienii

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Myrmica gallienii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species group: bergi
Species: M. gallienii
Binomial name
Myrmica gallienii
Bondroit, 1920

Myrmica gallienii casent0172712 profile 1.jpg

Myrmica gallienii casent0172712 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


A potentially locally abundant species, occurring in wet meadows and other open sites with abundant moisture, it is relatively rare across its range. Pashaei Rad et al. (2018) found this species in Iran on park or farm land in moist to low rainfall areas.


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - A member of the bergi complex of the scabrinodis species group. Its antennal scape is smoothly bent at the base in an almost ideal curve with no trace of a ridge or carina. It resembles sympatric Myrmica bergi, female castes differing from the latter by their distinctly longer propodeal spines, lower postpetiole and lighter body colour, while males well differ by their shorter scape. M. gallienii workers could also be confused with those of Myrmica rugulosa, but the scape of the latter is somewhat more angularly curved at the base, and the head dorsum has much more developed reticulation. Additionally, the second funicular segment of the males of M. gallienii is more than 1.5 times longer than the third one, while in M. rugulosa it is shorter, less than 1.5 longer than the third one.

Keys including this Species


Central and East Europe, southern Finland, Caucasus, West Siberia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (type locality), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Radchenko and Elmes (2010):

M. gallienii is widespread in Central Europe, where it is associated with wet meadows, lake and pond shores. In some habitats, particularly in Poland and probably Belarus, it can be the dominant species, but throughout most of its range colonies are not common or at best they are restricted to very small areas of habitat. Colonies of M. gallienii can easily be mistaken for those of Myrmica rubra in the field because in warm wet grassland both have quite populous, polygynous colonies and often construct quite large earth solaria. Furthermore, although these two ants are easily separated using a microscope, it is not so easy for inexperienced myrmecologists armed only with a hand lens in the field. One of the best "tips" is to observe the way in which workers walk: M. gallienii tend to walk slightly slower, hold their antenna more at right-angles to their head and have a distinctly darker and square head than M. rubra, which have more shiny heads and tend to hold their scape and antenna more forward. Unfortunately, ecological data for these two species were sometimes confounded in the excellent ecological studies by Joanna Petal and co-workers (e.g. Petal 1967). The distribution of M. gallienii in Poland and Germany was characterized by Czechowska and Czechowski (1998) and by Munch and Engels (1994), who described how colonies of this species live on floating reedbeds, this indicates that they might we well adapted to flooding in much the same way as the related Myrmica bergi.

Elmes and Petal (1990) gave colony population data for M. gallienii (under the synonymized name M. limanica jacobsoni) from the Strzeleckie Meadows (wet abandoned meadow) near Warsaw, Poland, sampled for 6 years. There were on average fewer workers (640) than in a typical M. rubra colony and queens varied from year to year, annual means ranging from> 5 to about 2 per colony, which is less than in a typical M. rubra nest (see ecological notes on that species). Most interestingly the data indicated that during the course of a year (the active season May-September) the number of queens in the total population fell by 60% being replaced by newly recruited queens. Seppa (1996) working on a different population showed that co-existing queens had very low relatedness to each other, which is consistent with high mortality and general recruitment within a population. However, over the 6 year period that the Strzeleckie Meadows were studied, recruitment never quite matched queen loss, so that the average number of queens per colony gradually declined. This was interpreted as indicating the gradual decreasing suitability of the meadow to support the population as it gradually scrubbed-over, becoming increasingly more suitable for M. rubra, which also lived on the site. There have been few laboratory studies of this species other than a brief report of its chemical secretions (Jackson et al. 1989).

Sexuals are produced in early summer and nuptial flights and subsequent queen recruitment takes place in August. It is interesting to note that in several Polish populations we observed that a considerable number of gynandromorphs were present in many nests before nuptial flights. Usually these were mosaics with half, three-quarters or more of the body being male. The only other species, where we have found such a high proportion of such intercastes, is M. sulcinodis.

This species is a host for the ant Myrmica karavajevi (a workerless inquiline).




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

  • gallienii. Myrmica gallienii Bondroit, 1920a: 150, fig. 1 (w.) FRANCE. [Also described as new by Bondroit, 1920b: 302.] Collingwood, 1979: 48 (q.m.). Junior synonym of sulcinodis: Bernard, 1967: 121. Revived from synonymy: Collingwood, 1978: 67. Senior synonym of jacobsoni, limanica: Collingwood, 1979: 48; Seifert, 1988b: 9; of obensis: Radchenko, 1994e: 76. See also: Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 91; Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 138.
  • limanica. Myrmica (Myrmica) rugulosa subsp. limanica Karavaiev, 1934: 75, fig. 20 (w.m.) UKRAINE. [Also described as new by Arnol'di, 1934: 162.] Raised to species and material of the unavailable names chersonensis, strandi referred here by Arnol'di, 1970b: 1840. Junior synonym of gallienii: Collingwood, 1979: 48; Seifert, 1988b: 9.
  • jacobsoni. Myrmica jacobsoni Kutter, 1963: 133, figs. 12-20 (w.q.m.) LATVIA, ESTONIA. Subspecies of limanica: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1840. Revived status as species: Kutter, 1977c: 65. Junior synonym of gallienii: Collingwood, 1979: 48; Seifert, 1988b: 9.
  • obensis. Myrmica limanica subsp. obensis Arnol'di, 1970b: 1840 (w.m.) RUSSIA. Junior synonym of gallienii: Radchenko, 1994e: 76.

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



Wei et al (2001) - Measurements and indices: TL 4.2-4.5, HL 1.29-1.32, HW 1.11-1.13, CI 86-87, SL 1.09-1.10, SI 97-98, FW 0.47-0.48, FLW 0.41-0.43, FI 90, PW 0.75-0.79, AL 1.80-1.82, ED 0.23, length of propodeal spines 0.53-0.55 (n =6).


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - almost certainly named for the controversial World War I French General Joseph Gallieni (1849-1916) who won an early victory over the Germans "that saved Paris". To some people, probably including Bondroit, who may have served under him, Gallieni was the "Hero of the Marne" (type locality of the species).